Develop Your Upper Back with the Cobra
Develop your upper back with this great posterior engagement exercise. You can do the cobra by lying on the ground or on a BOSU ball. Start with your hands by your hips, thumbs up, palms out. Focus on contracting your glutes, flex the muscles in your back, and squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 30-60 seconds.
There are a ton of variations of this type of exercise, but the cobra is my favorite because as riders we often focus a lot on the front of our bodies both in the gym and on our horses, which makes us hunch over our hands. This makes the cobra great for strengthening and opening up your back and shoulders, plus it can help stretch the hip flexors, which for riders are almost always tight.
Start slowly, the more you practice this exercise the more endurance you’ll gain in these muscles and won’t feel pressure on your lower back.
Tip: Keep your core tight in the cobra, you should feel your whole body working so don’t think this is the time to relax your stomach into the ground.
For an extra challenge, lift your legs off the ground and squeeze the glutes at the same time that you stretch up in the cobra. Remember both heels and feet must look the same.