Have you ever paid attention to how your dog sits? If you’re like me, I used to only focus on the end position. I never really cared how my dog got into the sit, just that the sit ended up symmetrical left to right and looked like a perfect right triangle from the side. While that end sit position works many parts of the body and is extremely important, how the dog gets into the position is just as important.
After working with thousands of dogs, I have come across three ways the dog moves into the sit and luckily they have been given names:
The Tuck Sit – front legs remain stationary and the rear legs move forward into the sit
The Rock Back Sit – rear paws remain stationary as the rear legs flex into position and the front legs step backwards
The Combo Sit – a combination of both of the above sits; front legs move backwards and rear legs move forward to get into the sit position
Let’s break down each of the movements.
The Tuck Sit is mostly a core exercise, especially as the rear legs move together into the sit position. It also engages the muscles that help attach the shoulder blades to the body. You get some pelvic limb involvement but the load on those muscles is very low.
The Rock Back Sit engages the muscles of the rear legs, similar to the muscle activation during the down portion of a squat. The quads are working eccentrically, while the hamstrings and gluteal muscles activate. There is also front leg activation of the supraspinatus, biceps, and triceps muscles. The front limb muscle activation is not more than walking backwards, so it is typically not the focus of this exercise.
The Combo Sit – works a combination of the above muscles, but less than the each individually. This is why I typically avoid this type of sit in fitness exercises.
Is one type of sit better than the other? NO!!!
They both are important because they work different muscles and are progress very differently. The Rock Back Sit becomes a squat. The Tuck Sit becomes a Hop. If your dog does any sport or job that includes jumping, both of these exercises are of utmost importance.
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