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Equestrian events require strength, power, endurance, core stability, and flexibility. When it comes to equestrian fitness for riding well, riders need more than just a cardiovascular workout. A tailored workout program can help you improve your performance and assist you in attaining your riding goals.
The right exercises can help maintain or even improve rider conditioning, thus improving overall performance. Lower-intensity workouts can be performed while still allowing you to spend time on horseback, making them an ideal supplement to your regular practice sessions.
For riders looking to improve their performance on the track, here is a list of exercises that they can benefit from:
Lunging is an exercise that strengthens the core muscles, including the glutes and quadriceps. Lunges also work on balance, keeping you prepared for any new terrain. It involves using one leg to generate power while the other leg rests at a 90-degree angle with your knee bent. It can be done with or without a dumbbell.
Pilates is an exercise that focuses on flexibility and core stabilization through various movement drills. It can be used as a warm-up at the beginning of your workout session to increase mobility, which is important for riding any flatwork pattern or jumping course. It can also be done with or without a resistance band.
3. Lifting Exercises
You can do lifting exercises such as dumbbell bench presses and shoulder flys to improve arm strength. These muscles are called into action while riding to hold the reins or jumping to grip your legs.
4. Rowing Workouts
In addition to traditional weightlifting techniques, one of the most effective ways for riders to increase fitness is with rowing exercises. Rowing requires the rider to push and pull against a load, such as an oar in a boat or a handle on a rowing machine.
This movement puts all of the major muscle groups into action while still allowing you to sit comfortably in the saddle and ride for hours at a time, making it an excellent option for equestrian fitness at any level.
5. Jumping Exercises
Jumping exercises, such as pop-ups and explosive jumps, can strengthen the muscles used most while jumping over natural obstacles during a ride, including the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominals.
They also help improve coordination by strengthening the muscles used to land after a jump, precisely where it counts most—right underneath the seat.
6. Strength Training for Your Legs
Leg strength is essential to riding well, but it doesn’t come naturally. It is important for riders to include leg exercises like the squat in their fitness routine to improve overall performance. The leg muscles are used constantly when you’re on horseback, whether posting trot or cantering over a jump course.
Strong legs allow you to maintain all the different leg positions required for proper riding technique and control, so this must be a significant focus of your workout routine. All of these exercises can be performed at home or in a gym. They do not require special equipment, and most of them don’t even need a partner. Perform each for one minute, repeating the series three times with 30 seconds rest between sets for best results.