Get those riding muscles ready!
Well officially it’s spring but I guess we still have some time to go before the weather realizes it. If you haven’t been able to ride much this winter and you’re worried about being out of shape, there are ways to start getting ready for more frequent riding.
One of those exercise balls is a pretty inexpensive piece of equipment to get you started. Place the ball between your lower back and a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Slide down the wall as if you’re going to sit in a chair, make sure your feet are far enough away from the wall so that your knees don’t extend past your feet. Straighten your legs as you stand back up, rolling the ball back up along the wall. This will get those quads ready for posting!
Work on your balance and abs by straddling the ball as if you’re in the saddle and tighten your abs and try to maintain a centered seat. While straddling the ball, squeeze with your thighs and hold for a couple of seconds and release. You know those inner thighs are going to be working hard soon.
Sit on the edge of the ball with your feet on the ground, knees at a 90 degree angle and lay back over the ball. Lace your hands lightly behind your head, don’t pull on your head, use your abs to curl your upper body up and slowly back down.
Find a step somewhere and stand on the edge of the step, lower yourself, stretching your calves and Achilles tendon, then push up onto your toes and hold for a few seconds and slowly lower yourself back down to strengthen your calves.
And don’t neglect your upper body. You can use hand weights to tone up your arms and shoulders. Work your biceps by holding the weights at your sides and curling your hands up towards your shoulders and back down, remember to go slowly in both directions. You can multi-task around the barn by lifting water buckets up and down in the same manner as you carry them to the stalls. Hold the weights on top of your shoulders and push straight up to strengthen your shoulders. For your shoulders and upper arms you can also hold your arms at
your sides and raise them straight out to the side. Let your horse benefit from this as well, give him a nice long curry combing and work your arm at the same time.
In between strength exercises, make sure you find time for some cardio. Anyone that rides knows it’s a workout for rider as well as the horse, the more in shape you are, the more you can focus on good form and good communication with your horse and on enjoying the ride!
And whatever you do, start training early and don’t forget to stretch-before and after!Tags: exercise, saddle, Training