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Rider Fitness

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  • Rider Fitness

    Could really fit riders share their favorite exercises (on or off the horse) for improving balance/strength/control? How about other resources, such as books? (Thanks, btw, to Knitgirl.) Does anyone know of a book or dvd set that targets specific areas (hands, posture, balance) with sets of exercises?

    [Mod note: this thread is a spinoff from: http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...php?p=3781455]
    Last edited by Moderator 1; Jan. 6, 2009, 08:59 AM.
    Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

  • #2
    Originally posted by mortebella View Post
    Could really fit riders share their favorite exercises (on or off the horse) for improving balance/strength/control? How about other resources, such as books? (Thanks, btw, to Knitgirl.) Does anyone know of a book or dvd set that targets specific areas (hands, posture, balance) with sets of exercises?
    centered rider I believe has good stuff, but it is about centered... not fittness I believe.

    I believe there is a yoga for equestrians somewhere.

    Anysort of classical dance is going to help you... ballet, spanish style, bellydance, ball room... hip hop... probably not so much but you never know

    anything that helps you strengthen the core, improve posture and encourage centerdness and balance... pilates and yoga are great for that too.

    I'm going to look for the riders fitness thing.. I work out but finally decieded on top of board and rent and dance class I was going pay for a gym to start lifting (plus free access to a dance studio with full mirrors thank god) That sounds interesting, although all my 'rider' needs as far as fitness have been met w/ bellydance with a touch of yoga for warm ups. That and some banging cardio! =)

    Comment


    • #3
      I have "Fit for Riding: Exercises for riders and vaulters" by Eckart Meyners and "Yoga for Equestrians" by Linda Benedik, and like/use both of them. They break down the exercises into different target areas. I find the most helpful forms of exercise specifically for horseback riding are vaulting (gymnastics on horseback), partner dancing (especially Blues, but any that involves moving a lot with a partner can be good - learning to lead as well as follow can be particularly helpful), yoga, and some forms of martial arts (tai chi, kung fu, and aikido were all great, judo was marginally helpful, taekwondo/karate wasn't applicable at all, though it's good for general fitness). I've heard that pilates is good, too, but haven't found classes that work for me, and am concerned about trying it without a teacher until I get the hang of it. Work on a balance board is useful for balance, stability, and independence of body parts, but not particularly for core strength. I had a clinic with Daniel Stewart (who is the biomechanics specialist for the USEF team), and he's wonderful. He has a book out with balance board exercises, specifically targeted to equestrians, but I haven't read it, so can't specifically comment on it. I believe one of the COTH regular posters wrote a book called "Fitness for Riders" or some such, that I've heard good feedback on, but I can't remember her real or posting name. Probably someone else here knows it, though.

      There are also some good more general fitness sites that have lots of targeted exercises online, for free. I've seen some posted before, but don't have the links handy. In general, I find that cardio work and weights are good for general fitness, but aren't as directly applicable to riding as ones that target core muscles, balance, coordination, separation/independence of different body parts, flexibility (especially in the hip flexor area) and following or leading movement generated by someone else (ie. partner dancing, paired katas in martial arts).

      Lynne S from the UDBB has a list of riding exercises I found really helpful. I'll try to find the link and pass it on to you. You don't need to be longed, as long as your horse is reasonably quiet, just have the horse walk on a loose rein during warmup, cool-down, and walk breaks. Once you and the horse are comfortable with them, some can also be done at the trot and canter.

      I'm probably not the fittest rider out there, but I'm in pretty good shape: http://www.flickr.com/photos/82782698@N00/2176253364/
      Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dance is an excellent exercise for riders. In order to dance you need balance, coordination and core strength. (well, and rhythm but the lack of that never stopped me, LOL) Unfortunately actual dance lessons are tough to use as exercise for riders..due to time constraints with work, household and barn/horse time it's tough to take more than one lesson a week. But you can take that one lesson a week to get the basic correct movements down and then practice all week at home. Or even just crank up your stereo or put your iPod on and jack the volume up at home and pretend you're at a club and dance like you've had a few drinks. Dancing for 30 minutes is great cardio and good for your core strength and balance too. Plus it requires no equipment, you can do it anywhere and it's a lot more fun than plain old aerobics.
        Work out balls are also good for home exercise...get the ones at stores like a WalMart and they come with a DVD on different exercises to do on them. The neat trick with those huge balls is that each exercise works that specific area but also all the exercises will work your core strength and balance since you'r exercising on an unstable surface. If you work in an office at a desk, see if you can use one of those as your chair too. While working lift your feet for as long as you can and stay balanced...your stomach/entire core will strengthen a LOT. Or put one in front of your computer at home...that way you can chat horses on here while getting a good equestrian work out at the same time.
        If you have my coordination wear your riding helmet...I've rolled off those things. It hurts.
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

        Comment


        • #5
          Can we spin this off? It's been a subject that has had its own thread a few times and not had a whole lot of input, and I think the information will get lost on page 20 of a thread that is mostly about other things. I think it's information a lot of people would find interesting.

          Just a thought

          There is a guy here who has a video and electronic format book on riding exercises, but I'd have to look to remember his name- Mike something?

          Comment


          • #6
            I think you mean Medical Mike (maybe with a hyphen or underscore?). He has lots of information on exercise/etc., but I didn't know he had a book out.
            Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Whisper View Post
              I think you mean Medical Mike (maybe with a hyphen or underscore?). He has lots of information on exercise/etc., but I didn't know he had a book out.
              He does, and videos! On his website! They are not free, but they are very reasonable.

              Oh Medical Mike, where are you?

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is my normal workout schedule during the week;

                M-W-F an hour and a half of cardio and weights
                T-Th-Sat Pilates class for an hour
                Riding M-W-F- Sun 1 or 2 horses depending

                Daily activities:
                Muck 3 stalls,
                Walk the dogs am and pm
                Yard work
                Move hay, grain, Dry stall etc
                Yoga half hour every night

                I watch my calories like a hawk. Goal is 1800 a day, but I frequently (maybe twice a week) go over, which is fine if I am conscious of it.

                I signed up for my exercises classes at the local community college. They have a great work out gym, it is very cheap (about $60 a semester for everything) and they only grade on attendance.

                I recently decided my nightly glass (or 2) of wine were calories I don't need, so now I only drink if I am dining out (rare).

                It takes real dedication to be fit the older you get
                See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hmmm, that word "dedication" has been missing from this thread don't ya think? Dedicated to yourself, your family and also to the "beast of burden" that hauls your butt around!! OK.. I'm bad.. had a glass of wine tonight but not tomorrow!!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks folks! I'm familiar with Sally Swift's Centered Riding, agree it doesn't say so much about fitness. Interesting from its mental/visualization aspect though.

                    And nhwr, what an excellant idea about community college classes! It is SO difficult to afford a gym on top of horse expenses; that's brilliant!
                    Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by blackhorse6 View Post
                      Hmmm, that word "dedication" has been missing from this thread don't ya think? Dedicated to yourself, your family and also to the "beast of burden" that hauls your butt around!! OK.. I'm bad.. had a glass of wine tonight but not tomorrow!!
                      Hey BH6! A glass of wine is good for the digestion! No bad!
                      My WO sched. is pretty basic, I use free weights for strength and walk up hills for aerobic, though want to build a different aerobic activity this year. I've done variations on this routine for years, but added sets or reps of ab and inner thigh exercises when I started riding again. I won't list it all here but for riding, IMO a multitude of different kinds of ab exercises balanced with lat, trap shoulder exercise plus inner thigh (leg lifts) plus soas (sp?) strengthening are helpful. I don't use heavy weights anymore, just 3#'s or 5#s with lots of reps and attention to form. BTW To get back to the weight part of this OP, I can gain weight looking at pictures of food, I work hard and daily just to keep under 140-I'm 5-6.5. I ride with someone who weighs 160-she is 6 ft tall. We traded horses one day-my horse (15.2) pinned his ears, shook his head wouldn't move till she got off. We didn't know if he was mad at her weight (she thought) or mad at me for riding another horse (I thought.) My two cents. I voted to delete this thread, but am kinda glad it lasted as the tone has definitely mellowed!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks for your two cents, IslandRider! I don't what the mods will ultimately do with the thread; it's not up to me. But I think the tone has improved and I'm definitely grateful to see that!
                        Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          exercise balls

                          Someone recommended one to me once, and I told her I thought it would just be too tempting to yell "Giddyup!" while bouncing up and down the hall on it, and that might just be the final straw with the neighbors, just watching my head bob up and down at window level, yelling, "Whoopie!"
                          Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mortebella...not only do they make hoppy balls adult sized...you can get them like this:
                            http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.c...034_2682699714

                            (now who doesn't want that???)
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!
                            ...Belefonte

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wait, can you get the horsie hoppy balls in adult size? Because I'd totally put that on my wish list.

                              Mortebella, interestingly when the balls don't have handles, it's actually work to hop around on them. That's the point If you can actually hop in some balanced fashion all the way across your house shouting "yee haw!" you'll actually get quite a nice abdominal workout!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I completely believe those balls are work! I completely believe it could throw me to the ground too! And probably hop up and down on top of me a couple of times too!

                                And way, way off track, did you guys see those "ponies" they were selling this Xmas? Kinda creepy. http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-76471-F...1211043&sr=1-1
                                Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Morning, all.

                                  I gained ten kgs (in pounds, that's what? 22 pounds) over two years after surgeries recently. I don't blame the surgeries, I blame the decrease in exercise and the increase in calories.

                                  Anyway, I'm now trying to limit my calories, and have gone back to gym, in an effort to tone down. I've also realised that, at 38, I'm not going to slim down as quickly as I did in my teens, but I'm going to work at it.

                                  My exercise includes:

                                  Pilates and core muscle classes;
                                  Swimming - good for cardio and less strain on my joints than step classes;
                                  Bootcamp classes - an excellent all-body workout including light weights and great abdominal / lower back exercises;
                                  more schooling my horse - when I put on weight, I could feel the difference in my ability to school, so would skip it and just hack him out. That has affected my riding muscles, and the only way to train those is to school again. I've also started doing some work with no stirrups / in light seat to get my balance back.

                                  Weight affects us all in one way or another because we live in a world which promotes poor health - we're offered great-tasting but nutritionally poor foods, which are often easier to prepare, and stressful jobs mean that very often we don't have time to exercise. Those might be excuses for not taking care of ourselves, but they're not valid reasons.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Kaeleer View Post
                                    Morning, all.

                                    I gained ten kgs (in pounds, that's what? 22 pounds) over two years after surgeries recently. I don't blame the surgeries, I blame the decrease in exercise and the increase in calories.

                                    Anyway, I'm now trying to limit my calories, and have gone back to gym, in an effort to tone down. I've also realised that, at 38, I'm not going to slim down as quickly as I did in my teens, but I'm going to work at it.

                                    My exercise includes:

                                    Pilates and core muscle classes;
                                    Swimming - good for cardio and less strain on my joints than step classes;
                                    Bootcamp classes - an excellent all-body workout including light weights and great abdominal / lower back exercises;
                                    more schooling my horse - when I put on weight, I could feel the difference in my ability to school, so would skip it and just hack him out. That has affected my riding muscles, and the only way to train those is to school again. I've also started doing some work with no stirrups / in light seat to get my balance back.

                                    Weight affects us all in one way or another because we live in a world which promotes poor health - we're offered great-tasting but nutritionally poor foods, which are often easier to prepare, and stressful jobs mean that very often we don't have time to exercise. Those might be excuses for not taking care of ourselves, but they're not valid reasons.

                                    you touch on a really good subject which is rider nutrition and also vitamin/bodycleansing type strategies- all of which are essential to lasting weight loss and increased fitness.
                                    This would be a super thread to have - on the dressage forum- if possible- although it really should focus on what foods to eat and what vits/supplements/cleansing meds a rider should take and thus improve fitness and ability to maintain fitness...just wondering if the mods would allow the thread- if it's in fact meant for dressage riders and our 'type' of riding?
                                    PS: and I wouldn't vote to delete that thread for sure...!
                                    "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Kaeleer View Post
                                      Swimming - good for cardio and less strain on my joints than step classes;
                                      I love swimming. Unfortunately, for me it did not prove to be a good weight loss activity. After two months of devoted lap swimming, I lost not a single pound. I did some research online to see if that was typical, and it turns out that being in the pool lowers your body temperature, thereby decreasing your metabolism. As my body temperature already runs a little more than a degree below 'normal' anyway, swimming was an ineffective weight loss strategy for me. It might work better for other people, but I figured I'd share my experience.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I would love to see a thread where people could share what they do for riding fitness.

                                        Maresnest I've found that swimming doesn't do it for me either. Running is the be all, end all weight loss exercise for me. I don't know if my joints are happy about it though. After a run, I am decrepit. I'm hoping it will get better. The next off topic day I will ask about outdoors running and joint supplements.

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