Fitness

Work Your Arms With Preacher Curls

The arms are constantly working when you are riding. The biceps especially tend to carry the horse’s imbalances, which is why it’s so important that a rider’s biceps are strong enough to endure the corrections they make to maintain the connection between the horse and rider. For instance, when a horse is trotting and starts to fall downhill, a rider will engage the biceps and try to “carry” the horse….

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…

Strengthen Your Thighs and Glutes with Plié Squats

One of the easiest and best squats for equestrians to do on a regular basis, as it recruits the thighs and glutes, is the Plié Squat. These are the same muscles riders activates when they’re using their “seat.” Plus, the angles at which the feet, knees, and hips are rotated releases tension in the hip flexors. The Plié Squat versus a regular squat is sometimes easier for equestrians,…

Prayer Crunch—Strengthen the Connection Between Your Shoulders and Hips

By Bridget Braden Riders need their core to develop a solid neutral position between the shoulders and the hips. The prayer crunch is a great exercise to teach just that. The same muscle recruitment you use to do this exercise will stabilize you in the saddle. The prayer crunch is one of the oldest exercises used to get abdominal muscles in shape. It is mostly used in the gym…

Strengthen The Upper Body: The Renegade Row

Rowing is a basic mechanic causing the arm to move backward. Elbows can and will move behind the stomach at the fullest range of motion in the pulling/rowing mechanic. To a horse, rowing or pulling is intended to bend and flex the body. A row should be done independently from the core and seat to ensure elasticity in the bend of the horse. You should be strong enough in…

Improve Rider Symmetry: The Turkish Get Up

People and horses are usually stronger on one side of their body than the other, that’s why most of us are right or left handed. It’s OK, unevenness is natural and no one is perfect. But it’s important for all athletes, especially riders to be aware of which muscles are weaker or aren’t firing correctly, because every ounce of the body is felt by the horse. Work on strengthening weaker…

Hand it to the Hamstrings

This article is part two of our spotlight on strengthening the hamstrings. Once you’ve conquered donkey kicks (see last month’s article), try a bridge on the stability ball. After one minute, you’ll wonder how you have the strength to keep your hamstrings engaged during your whole ride! The bridge is one of the best exercises for the core because it fires up the glutes and teaches the lower core…

Get A Better Leg with Donkey Kicks

Riding naturally overworks a rider’s quadricep and causes the hip flexors to tighten. This can make it hard to keep your leg lengthened in the tack and even result in your knees creeping up. To combat these imbalances all equestrians should focus on strengthening their hamstrings off the horse to bring their knees back under their hip. Hamstrings supply cushion and balance to the pelvis and help to support a rider’s…

Training The Latissimus Dorsi

The Lat Pull Down Exercise: Lat Pull Down, Wide Grip Primary Muscle Group: Latissimus Dorsi Secondary Muscle Groups: Tricep & Pectoral muscles The amount of strength and stabilization needed in the latissimus dorsi is highly underestimated by equestrian athletes. The lats connect the back of the shoulder, under the armpit and attach down into the pelvis and lower back making them the largest muscle group in the upper body. If weak…