Sep 07, 2021

Four In-Office Exercises for Desk Jockeys

Tony Sandoval in the saddle and at the gym/ Samantha Clark photo.

The vast majority of riders who compete at the lower levels of eventing are amateurs and most of them have “proper” jobs. After all, horses and eventing need paying for! Often, this means these riders work at a desk and are what strength and conditioning coach Tony Sandoval refers to as “desk jockeys.”

“Sitting in a chair for a long time means that certain postural adaptions occur so that you can sit there and work, but those are not good for your riding,” says Tony. “What can you do to make yourself aware of the way that you are sitting, so that you can start to do some stretches to keep things mobile and functional? Then you will be able to do good work when you are riding your horse.”

Tony recommends an easy set of four exercises that you can fit into your working day and your workspace. Do them and you will undoubtedly see the difference!

Check out this handy video which outlines the exercises Tony suggests, as well as the descriptions and benefits of each below.

1. Seated Chest Butterflies

    One of the main contributors to rounding of the shoulders is tightness in the pectoral area. This is caused by long hours working in front of a desk or on your phone. Until you stretch out your chest muscles, it will be difficult to use your posterior back muscles correctly.

    2. Neck Floss (forward to back)

    If your shoulders round forward, it is likely that your head will lean forward as well. It is a cascade of muscular compensations that the body creates to make sitting as economical as possible; the problem is that it’s not so good for anything else. It also weakens the anterior muscles of the neck, which help position your neck in an optimal position and aid in lowering the risk of head injury. Performing this neck flossing exercise will alleviate some stiffness in the neck caused by prolonged hours of sitting, help reduce low back pain, and aid in proper posture.

    3. Chair T-Spine Extension

    Another important region to address when stretching is your thoracic spine. Having the proper amount of extension through this area will help improve movements like rotation, increase stability in the mid back area and aid in proper posture. This exercise assists in helping the mid-back area to create healthy extension, which will also alleviate any type of lower back stiffness

    4. Half Kneeling Glute Squeeze

    Many people complain about tight hip flexors and how sitting for long hours feeds that dysfunction. The first thing that comes to mind for people is to stretch their hip flexors using various types of exercises. If you sit for a long time the last thing you want to do is try to stretch your hip flexor. Instead, you should focus on strengthening your glutes to help make those hip flexors looser. The glutes are the muscles that lose their tension and strength because of lengthy hours of being dormant. So if you want to get more movement through your hip flexors, strengthen your glutes through extension. You’ll start noticing that your hip flexor will loosen up and have you back to riding optimally in no time.

    This routine should not take you too long - it should be around 10-15 minutes, depending on how many sets you perform. Try incorporating this into your daily routine for maximum results both in and out of the saddle!

    Nov 28, 2022 Instructors

    The Importance of a Secure and Balanced Position in all Three Eventing Phases

    “The highest priority must be given by instructors to developing in their riders a correct, balanced, supple, effective, and independent seat for dressage and for jumping.” - “Teaching Principles” in the new ECP Eventing Handbook by the Levels

    Nov 27, 2022 Convention

    Exciting Lineup of Speakers Scheduled for 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention in Savannah, GA

    If you are on the fence about attending the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention this December 7-11 in Savannah, GA, the schedule of thought-provoking and insightful educational sessions planned for the event is sure to convince you to register today! To learn more about the various sessions and their hosts, click here.

    Nov 26, 2022

    The EA21 Recap: West Coast Edition

    This summer, five USEA Emerging Athlete 21 (EA21) Clinics took place across the country giving young riders the opportunity to hone in on their horsemanship skills, improve their consistency in the saddle and show ring, and create a pipeline for potential team riders by identifying and developing young talent. We caught up with many of the riders from the two West Coast sessions to hear their takes on the USEA’s newest program.

    Nov 25, 2022 Education

    Tips for the Long Haul: Advice from Shippers on Traveling for the Winter Season

    It’s about that time of year again when eventers across the country are packing their trunks and making arrangements to new locations for the winter months. While some owners might feel more comfortable transporting their own horses, time and resources make it more expedient for others to load their horses onto someone else’s rig for the potentially long journey to their winter quarters. For the safety and peace of mind of everyone involved – especially the equine passengers – two trusted shippers based on the east coast shared their tips for best practices when preparing horses for long trailer rides.

    Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

    Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

    Official Feed of the USEA

    Official Saddle of the USEA

    Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

    Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

    Official Forage of the USEA

    Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

    Official Outerwear of the USEA

    Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA