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Rider Fitness

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  • Rider Fitness

    Hey,

    I have come to the realization that there is not enough information available regarding fitness for the rider...

    I have a degree in Human Exercise Physiology and have my CPT. The things that I have learned as a personal trainer when training athletes are SOOO applicable to riding, yet the information available for the sport is lacking. I wish I knew the things I know now earlier on in my riding career!!!

    I am passionate about horses and passionate about fitness.

    If anyone has any specific areas they want advice on, please post some questions so I can find common links and start to develop information around it...

    I am soo excited to help out!

    Andrea

  • #2
    When I ride the outside of my ankles cramp up. Seems like I can't find a good way to stretch them, other than riding. The only thing that kind of works (and not really), is to stretch hamstrings (with an elastic thingy up in the air) and then turn your toe inwards (kind of pigeon toed). Any good ideas on how to stretch? Standing on stairs and going up and down on toes doesn't do it, plus I have a sore metatarsal joint in my big toe so that hurts too much anyway.
    Thanks for offering your advice!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have some similar problems, my hamstrings are often very tight and I had a fellow rider at the barn who would put her feet/ankles on a saddle rack and stretch to her toes. I tried it and it seemed to work good for me to loosen them up.

      I have a tough time keeping up my leg fitness which we all know is critical to riding and Ive done a machine thing that is supposed to work the calves but I didn't find it helped my riding very much.

      I know that Practical Horseman(I think) usually features a rider fitness but sometimes I find the exercises are supposed to be done at the barn and they seem a little silly for me, plus I don't want to hang around the barn doing stretches around a tack box haha

      On another note, I'd be interested to know what George Morris suggests for rider fitness

      Comment


      • #4
        My DBF is a Master Trainer (multiple certs, thousands of hours logged) and a Ultra marathon runner and what he suggested to me when I complained about pain in hard to stretch places is Myofascial release and it has always helped me

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_release
        If only horses would use their athletic powers for good instead of evil. ~ MHM

        Comment


        • #5
          After a really bad back spasm last year in my lower back, I went to a physical therapist/CPT who also does sports specific work.

          She discovered that my hamstrings and my hip flexors were really tight, and that I was hypermobile around my pelvis/spine. She actually came out and watched me ride, and a few times she worked on my before I rode.

          Then she got together with my trainer and figured out the weak and/or overcompensating muscles that are behind my bad habits. I may live to regret it!

          When she worked on me before I rode, the riding was MUCH better! I was shocked - sitting trot was much easier. Then again, I hurt much worse afterword.

          I don't know if any of this is helpful to you, but I think riding uses a lot more core muscles than we realize. Also, I think a stretch sequence for before and after riding would be a good thing.

          One thing she has me do after riding is to tuck my tailbone under and forward for a minute - us riders like to hang out in hyperextension of our spine when we ride, and that helps "put it back" so to speak.

          I'm sure there is much more, but those are my thoughts for now
          "Look, I'm trying not to test the durability of the arena with my face!" (Because only GM can do that.)

          Comment


          • #6
            Not very specific but I'd like to know about calorie burn. Walk, trot, canter. Puh-leeze tell me that we burn something while we ride....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Void View Post
              My DBF is a Master Trainer (multiple certs, thousands of hours logged) and a Ultra marathon runner and what he suggested to me when I complained about pain in hard to stretch places is Myofascial release and it has always helped me

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_release
              Thanks for all the advice (speedy too!).

              Is this myofascial release a "do it yourself" kind of thing, or do you have to find someone trained in doing it?

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, what a great topic! If you don't mind me asking, if you had to choose, what are a couple of the best (or just your favorite) exercises to increase core fitness for the dressage rider? Hope that's not a dumb question, and many thanks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was on my university's NCAA equestrian team while I was in college. I still have the team workouts on my computer if anybody wants a copy. Feel free to PM.

                  ETA the weight coach that designed the work outs was in the 2004 Olympics for Track and Field. So, the workout is pretty legit.
                  "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                  -George Morris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    IME, the more cross training you can do, the better.

                    This works because many more aspects of each muscle are used to develop not only strength, but flexibility and stability.

                    The more cross-training you do, the more ways your core is worked - uber important for riding, though not unimportant for overall health.

                    Yoga - great for equalizing lopsided people

                    There just isn't any single sport/exercise that is The One for riders, or any athlete, really.

                    Weight lifting and running are great ways to increase strength in legs. But yoga increases flexibility as well (and strength too), and you cannot properly have one with out the other. Kickboxing works all sorts of body parts, both strengthening and stretching.

                    There just isn't any one sport/workout that does IT.
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it would be fun to do a book or something on common equitation problems and what their fitness/rider conformation/tightness (er? not sure how to describe) basis may be. So, say a rider has trouble keeping shoulders back? Then go through various stretches/exercises (both on and off horse) that may help with it and also suggest when they should self-refer to CPT.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would love information on strengthening the back to help with poor posture. I can make myself use proper posture, but I get weak overtime and feel like I need additional strength to hold the position that just riding isn't helping. Thanks in advance.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rockfordbuckeye View Post
                          I think it would be fun to do a book or something on common equitation problems and what their fitness/rider conformation/tightness (er? not sure how to describe) basis may be. So, say a rider has trouble keeping shoulders back? Then go through various stretches/exercises (both on and off horse) that may help with it and also suggest when they should self-refer to CPT.
                          http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Fitness.../dp/1580175422

                          http://www.equisearch.com/horses_rid...t_seat_081110/

                          http://knightbooks.com/Fitness.html

                          http://www.6weekstoriderfitness.com/

                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sandsarita View Post
                            I would love information on strengthening the back to help with poor posture. I can make myself use proper posture, but I get weak overtime and feel like I need additional strength to hold the position that just riding isn't helping. Thanks in advance.
                            This involves more than just "strengthen the back". It involves the upper back, lower back, shoulders, entire core, even a stronger chest, even the strength and flexibility of the hamstrings.

                            Are you finding yourself collapsing at the waist? That's largely a whole-core issue. Shoulders slouching? Core and shoulders and back.

                            What type of exercise do you like to do?
                            ______________________________
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JB View Post
                              This involves more than just "strengthen the back". It involves the upper back, lower back, shoulders, entire core, even a stronger chest, even the strength and flexibility of the hamstrings.

                              Are you finding yourself collapsing at the waist? That's largely a whole-core issue. Shoulders slouching? Core and shoulders and back.

                              What type of exercise do you like to do?
                              How do the hamstrings come into play here?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                If hamdstrings are tight, pelvic range of motion can be limited, which can mean a transfer of motion to the lower lumbar region, which leads to a tight/sore lower back.
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JB View Post
                                  This involves more than just "strengthen the back". It involves the upper back, lower back, shoulders, entire core, even a stronger chest, even the strength and flexibility of the hamstrings.

                                  Are you finding yourself collapsing at the waist? That's largely a whole-core issue. Shoulders slouching? Core and shoulders and back.

                                  What type of exercise do you like to do?
                                  It's more of the shoulders slouching and rolling forward. I can keep myself drawn up in the center (need reminders, but can do this). It seems to be more upper for me than lower.

                                  For exercise, I am a former ballet dancer, and love pilates as an overall strength builder, but don't have the time to go through my old hour long routine we used during college. I have done minimal weight training in the past, and haven't found any that I really loved.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    It's going to take 30-60 minutes of work, at least 3 days a week, to make big enough changes It's just something you have to do.

                                    You might consider looking into some video series so you have something easy to follow (even if the work is hard LOL). Go to www.beachbody.com and see what you might like
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I bought this book a month ago. http://www.amazon.com/Riders-Fitness...5278088&sr=8-1
                                      I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and do yoga 2-3 times a week. I don't spend a whole lot of time at the gym, because I would rather spend most of my time at the barn but 30 min work outs from this book really work on the muscles needed for riding and yoga help with flexibility and posture.

                                      I think there is a real difference between a hobby rider and an equestrian. Equestrians are atheletes. They have to maintain both their horse's nutrition and fitness, as well as, their own nutrition and fitness.

                                      I don't really understand why some equestrians call themselves atheletes but don't really push themselves like real atheltes do. That means not focusing on only your horses physcial being but also your own physical wellbeing and it also means working on fitness outside of the saddle. Real atheletes spend a good time doing work outs that are not directly associated with their sport.

                                      The book has really been benefitial to me... and I really like my yoga time. It is the same reason why we lunge, double lunge, hack, gallop, and free jump our horses... to make well rounded horses and healthy horses

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lizrd View Post
                                        Not very specific but I'd like to know about calorie burn. Walk, trot, canter. Puh-leeze tell me that we burn something while we ride....
                                        FWIW, I wear a heart rate monitor while riding sometimes. Between grooming and riding two horses for approx 40 mins each, I burn over 800 cals usually. That's flatting, dressage type work usually. When I'm jumping, my heart rate skyrockets to over 170, so it is generally higher. For comparison, when running 5k, which I do regularly, I have a hard time getting my heart rate over 130, might get to 140 going up a hill, about the same rate as I get cantering. So, yes, riding is a great work out, assuming you aren't just lollygagging along on a trail ride of course

                                        Comment

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