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How to get stronger in the saddle if you can't workout?

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  • How to get stronger in the saddle if you can't workout?

    Just what the title says- due to my travel and horse having injuries in the last 12 months, I am VERY out of riding shape.

    I've never been in this situation before!!

    I am not allowed to run, lift weights, or do yoga/pilates (please, I don't need a lecture, or a 'you should still try!'-- muliple specialists later, these are the rules, and so far they've worked).

    So what do I do? I try to ride without stirrups when I can, but it irritates my horse, so it's always in short 'bursts'...


  • #2
    I find it particularly odd that you cannot do such a long list of things, but riding is fine?

    In any case, perhaps try giving one of the aforementioned specialists a call to see what you CAN do.


    • #3
      I'm with GoForAGallop. If you can't do those things, you really shouldn't be riding... Riding uses all those muscles you are not allowed to use. Perhaps, just sit back, relax, and read some horse books? That was what I did when I got herniated discs. Didn't take long for me to go back to riding shape "after" I was all cleared though.


      • Original Poster

        Docs are stumped as well, no pain when riding, no numbness either. They are nervous to tell me what I can do, since they can't figure out why I can ride with ZERO issues, yet sometimes just standing for 5 minutes will make my left hand go numb
        Most of this isn't pain related- more 'my back is so messed up, I have nerve damage/random loss of feeling in my extremities'.

        Weight-lifting + numbness = catasophe waiting to happen.
        Running= makes he problem worse, I can go maybe 1/2 way down the block before I fall over.
        Yoga/Pilates= very, very painful. Thank you, fibromyalgia.

        This has been going on for 8+ years, so 'sitting back and reading' won't work, as this is something I will have to deal with (as it gets worse) for the rest of my life.


        • #5
          Yes, I would ask your specialists what they recommend. With such a list as what is prohibited, getting recommendations from strangers on the internet does not seem the most conducive to your good health.
          Surely, your doctors can prescribe an exercise regiment for you, taking into consideration your limitations?
          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


          • #6
            Ok well, stationary bike then. Nothing bad will happen to you on a stat bike if you lose feeling in the extremities. Rowing machine, ditto. Also weights using cable machines, or those tension belts, so you're not actually lifting something that can fall on you - at worst it'll make noise and people will frown your way.
            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


            • #7
              Stationary bike, or perhaps try swimming?


              • #8
                Have you tried a stationary bicycle? Or maybe something like an elliptical or rowing machine? It seems that using exercise equipment would be safer, especially in the case of the stationary bicycle as you are not actually moving anywhere in case you do fall off.

                ETA: looks like a few of us posted the same things at the same time!


                • #9
                  Yep – talk to your Dr and sounds like you might need the assistance of physical therapy – we can’t advise you, as it sounds like you have a complex medical condition.

                  A physical therapist may have you use those large rubber bands, or something else for strengthening exercises. For riding you need first, a strong core, then legs and arms.

                  You do need to get strong before starting to ride – you need strength to balance, and to avoid coming off! I am sure a fall would not help your symptoms.

                  Sounds like you want to work on aerobic fitness as well? What about swimming? I know many people (my mother included) with fibro benefit from swimming as it is low impact.

                  Are you treating your fibro other ways? Massage therapy etc?
                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                  • #10
                    When I was building strength I did a lot of two point. Up hills, down hills. To get my legs stronger so I could be more stable without stirrups I did altered posting rhythms- up three beats, sit three beats. I also posted at the canter. That was summer I was the strongest I've been. (I did also get a ton from this book- but I don't know if you can do any of the exercises in it http://www.amazon.com/The-Riders-Fit...=rider+fitness)


                    • #11
                      Safe up and get an Equicizer! It is on the top of my list to try to buy before winter comes. You will get the benefit of the movement of riding and can do no stirrups work without irritating your horse.


                      • #12
                        what happens if you just SIT on a pilates ball? that simulates the riding posture very well, so hopefully it won't cause pain, and just sitting on one while you watch TV will strengthen your core- then maybe you could progress to gentle rocking and bouncing?

                        or maybe find out a way to ride more often.


                        • #13
                          Umm I didn't realize this was an ongoing issue. I'm just throwing a wild guess here. The gentle circular motion of riding might be why you have no issues with riding. It seems to me that repetitive motion (weight lifting and a great part of Yoga and Pilates fall into this category) isn't good for you. With that in mind, have you tried the flow yoga where one yoga pose flows slowly but fluidly to the next, or something similar? Swimming and Pilate balls sound good option to try too.


                          • #14
                            OP... I'm at work but I will send you a PM later tonight. I am in the EXACT same situation and people just do not get it!

                            Mostly I think it's just my brain going "I LOVE THIS. SO FUN." when I ride, so it over rides all the bad things.
                            Fit Dog Blog
                            Twitter: https://twitter.com/FitDogBlog
                            Blogger: http://fitdogblog.blogspot.ca/
                            Blog Post: How I Became a Werehorse and a Bit About Bites


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Preposterous Ponies! View Post
                              Mostly I think it's just my brain going "I LOVE THIS. SO FUN." when I ride, so it over rides all the bad things.
                              Yes - loving something can have a huge placebo effect on us humans. Ride!?
                              Can you add more riding (and find free rides if cost is a factor)? Focus on different exercises for yourself - arms, core, legs etc. You can get quite fit when you focus on your fitness via riding -- and getting more mounts to ride will give the horses a break. Also, different horses often require a different set of muscles and riding technique.

                              Good luck.


                              • #16
                                I know I've posted this before, but I love my Wii Fit game. The balance exercises were great for me when I was recovering from an injury and couldn't manage to do much of anything in the way of "real" exercise. And, some of the aerobic exercises are low impact enough to try, as well.

                                And I think one of those Equicizers would look fantastic in my living room.
                                "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                that's even remotely true."

                                Homer Simpson


                                • #17
                                  OP, I feel for you. I herniated a disc in November 2012, and I was given a lot of the same exercise prohibitions. Definitely consult your doctor and a physical therapist, but ultimately what worked for me was an elliptical machine. Very low shock, very low loading weight, it mostly works the lower body which is what counts the most for riding, and it can give you a good core workout if you use it well/correctly.

                                  If you can't do an elliptical, it doesn't get much more gentle than AquaJogging, which might be a good option if you travel a lot. Most hotels have pools and/or you can find pools using something like swimmersguide.com. And depending on how deep the water is, you are basically working out weightless. Here's some sample numbers for a 150-pound aqua runner:
                                  Deep End – Complete Off Loading of Joints- 0 pounds
                                  Waist Deep Water – 50% off loading – 75 pounds loaded
                                  Chest Deep Water – 75% off loading – 37 pounds loaded
                                  Neck Deep Water – 90% off loading – 15 pounds loaded

                                  Finally--and I add this hesitantly because every back injury is different and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another person--but until I consulted a chiropractor and thereby got the nerve and bulging disc un-pinched, none of this mattered or worked.
                                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                                  • #18
                                    What kind of riding are we talking about here?

                                    Have you tried posting at the walk?
                                    A helmet saved my life.

                                    2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


                                    • #19
                                      Can you swim? That's been critical to my fibromyalgia management.


                                      • #20
                                        Another vote for swimming. Such a gentle form of exercise but also very intense if you do serious lap swimming.