It is no secret that riders often neglect their own needs in order to ensure their horses’ are met. But horse sports are a partnership, and if we want our horses to be at their best, then we have to be at ours, and that means paying careful attention to our own athletic bodies. Certified personal trainer Laura Crump Anderson has written a book, Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders, that specifically targets the ever-present dilemma of how to fit targeted, effective fitness routines into a rider’s busy lifestyle. Here we look at a couple of Full Body exercises:
Time Required: 20-30 minutes
Equipment Required: Yoga mat; stopwatch or phone timer
Intensity Level: 7 RPE
Routine Benefits: Improved coordination and strength in legs, core, and upper body. This routine gets your heart rate up quickly. You are working muscles in your legs that you didn’t know existed. This is a great exercise routine to start with because it is challenging but not overwhelming. By the end you should feel exhausted…but like you have a little bit still left in the tank.
1. Stand with your feet together and your arms down by your sides.
2. In one jump raise your hands out to the sides and then overhead, and spread your legs out just wider than your shoulders.
3. Jump back to the starting position.
4. Repeat for two minutes or as long as you can.
1. Stand tall at the front of your mat with your arms hanging at your sides and your feet hip-distance apart.
2. Step way back with your left leg so you can only keep your left toes on the ground. At the same time, bring your hands to the ground with your elbows locked on either side of your right leg.
3. Maintain a straight line from your left heel to your left shoulder.
4. Press the ball of your right foot to the floor and contract your left thigh muscles, pressing “up” with them to maintain your left leg in a straight position.
5. Hold for five seconds.
6. Slowly return to standing position.
7. Repeat on the other side, bringing your right leg back as you come down into a lunge position.
8. Complete 30 repetitions on each side.
1. Start on all fours in a tabletop position, with your arms straight, your hands under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips .
2. Simultaneously extend your right arm straight forward and your left leg straight back in opposite directions. Keep your gaze and your chin down and your back flat. If you feel an arch, chances are you’re lifting your leg or arm too high.
3. Flex your left foot so that your toes are pointing toward the ground.
4. Keep your core muscles tight and hold for five seconds.
5. Return to tabletop position.
6. Then extend your left arm straight forward and your right leg straight back and hold for five seconds.
7. Repeat this exercise for two minutes, alternating between right and left.
Side Lying Adduction
1. Lie down on your right side with your legs stretched out long and pressed together, your head supported by your right hand, and your left arm resting flat on your left side.
2. Bend your left leg and cross it over your right leg. Place your left foot on the ground just above your right knee.
3. Bend your left arm and place your left hand on your left hip. With control, lift your right leg off the ground with your toes pointing forward.
4. Slowly lower the right leg to the ground.
5. Repeat for 90 seconds lying on your right side then switch to the left.
1. Lie on your back with your arms stretched straight over your head and your legs stretched long.
2. Slowly and with control, use your strength rather than momentum to lift your legs and your upper body off the floor at the same time. Bring your arms over your head and reach them forward. Your legs should come to a 45-degree angle with the floor so that your torso and your legs create a “V” (Photo 2).
3. Slowly and with control, keeping your core engaged, reach your arms back over your head and lower them and your legs back down to the floor and into your starting position.
4. Complete 30 repetitions.
For more excellent exercises tailored to riders, order your copy of Ultimate Exercise Routines for Riders by Laura Crump Anderson from Trafalgar Square Books here.