Tracy’s Transformations: How one simple hip flexor release helped a Team GB athlete get back in the saddle

Katie came to see me suffering from problems in her right knee and lower back. Representing Great Britain as a horseback archer, these issues had left her unstable in the saddle and unable to fulfil her potential in the sport she loved.

“I couldn’t cope with the pain when riding. Eventually I lost all muscle in my back and shoulders and could not pull my 35lb bow without it hurting. I am a member of Team GB and this was a massive blow that led to me give up places at national and international competitions.


As there had been no recent trauma, it was more likely Katie’s problems could be postural or from compensations brought on by a knee injury she experienced a few years ago.

Back to basics

The first step to Katie’s recovery was to assess her body as a whole to map out the specific areas that needed attention.

Image of Katie's first body assessment scan
Katie’s first body scan revealed heavy restrictions in the spine and hips – not ideal for an archer where rotation is fundamental

This information was key to Katie’s recovery and allowed us to put together a training schedule that would get her back in the saddle and improve her performance while fitting in with her busy lifestyle.

Recovery release

The next step in Katie’s recovery plan was to release her tight hip flexors. This was key to improving her posture and stability and fundamental for a horseback archer.

The release involved a very simple anti-spasm exercise, rather than a traditional stretch, which Katie worked on three to four times a day. One week later we rescanned Katie’s body to see how the release had affected her body map.

Before and after image of Katie's body assessment scans
What a difference! After just one release in the body, the symmetry in Katie’s hip flexors had improved which led to a change in alignment in the rest of her body

Strong and stable

Now that Katie’s stability had improved, the next phase of recovery was improving rotation and stabilising the pelvis to mimic the actions of an archer on a moving horse.

This exercise involved sitting on a Swiss Ball and isolating the lower body while rotating with a resistance band, enabling Katie to build up her strength to be able to pull the 35lb bow once again.

Katie was able to work on her stability and rotation in the comfort of her own home with some basic equipment

Horseback hero

Katie is now back in the saddle and pulling her 35lb bow with no pain or discomfort. Her confidence has soared so much she even went skiing earlier this year.

Tracy really helped bring a bit of hope back into my life. After the first session I already had movement back in my spine that I didn’t realise I was lacking. Throughout the sessions we focused on different techniques that would help free me up when I stiffen, enabling me to continue my journey with Team GB.”


Katie is still doing the exercises we put together as part of her recovery plan and is adding more strength conditioning to her workouts to help keep her injury free.

As you can see, Katie is up to her old tricks and looking mighty pleased about it!

Tracy says: “As an intrinsic biomechanics coach I do not treat pain – however, if there has been no trauma, there’s a fair chance improved posture, movement, muscle function and symmetry will help. One simple release made a huge difference in this case. Good luck Katie and thanks for allowing me to share your journey.”

To find out more about how One Body Coach can help you to improve your sporting performance, reduce your risk of injury or move better, click here to arrange a chat.

About One Body Coach

Tracy Swindell is a former GB international marathon runner who has trained and competed in a number of sports from a young age. She is passionate about helping people reach their potential and is a strong believer in empowering her clients to understand and care for their own bodies.

Always updating her skills to get the best possible results for her clients, Tracy’s extensive studying covers coaching and movement-based qualifications including intrinsic biomechanics, anatomy in motion, pilates and yoga.

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