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How to get back into shape?

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  • How to get back into shape?

    Hello everyone. I just joined this forum and look forward to learning all I can from you. I need some help getting back into shape, but here is my story so that you can understand my limitations:

    I rode for ten straight years with no major breaks. At the least I rode in one lesson a week, and at the most in four lessons a week, but the average was 2-3 lessons per week. Many weeks I would ride every single day outside of lessons. My lessons were very strenuous and averaged two hours long with TONS of trot work. I hurt my leg, and while compensating for it I hurt the other leg, and rode on the injuries for a long time. It got to the point where I was in constant pain on and off the horse. Just sitting with my feet in the stirrups was excruciating! I went to a kinesiologist/chiropractor for over two years, but I did not make much progress when I was still in intense riding. At the time I was riding some very advanced horses who did not tolerate imperfection, and I was in so much pain that I just could not communicate subtly with my horses anymore, my aides were very coarse and I was compensating for my bad legs with my hands, which infuriated many of the soft-mouthed jumpers that I was riding at the time. Long story short, I ended up taking a very bad fall during a jump course when my horse decided that she was going to buck me off because I was bumping her in the face (I don't blame her - I had it coming for months!). Anyway, I had only come off once before that in my ten years of riding (due to tack a malfunction - lol), so this really shook my confidence and I started having severe anxiety when my horse went faster than a slow trot. It was horrible! I was leasing a very talented, very sensitive warmblood at the time because I wanted to get into serious showing, however she would not only get mad at me for getting tense but would also take advantage of me. I got so afraid of this horse that one day during a lesson, after she had a small bucking fit because I was on her mouth, I walked out of the middle of the lesson and did not come back for SIX MONTHS. And I had leased this horse for a YEAR and had completely restarted her from the ground up!!! I have sat hundreds of bucks, rears, bolts, etc., and they never phased me in the past, so I was really devastated.

    So it is now six months later. I apologized to my instructor, made up with the horse, and am starting lessons again. We are taking it very slow. I am only riding in walk/trot lessons, and legging up my instructor's horses for her other lesson kids. It is very difficult for me to watch the younger riders who used to idolize me now starting to pass me in ability, but I suppose it only makes me a better person to learn how to swallow my pride and get back on the horse. I wasn't supposed to get back to cantering or jumping for awhile, however my instructor had me jumping yesterday. Mostly we are working on refining my aides, trying to get them soft and subtle again. I have discovered that I am VERY MUCH OUT OF SHAPE. What suggestions do you have for me? Like I said before, my lessons used to be VERY demanding. We did TONS of trotting, and I used to be able to trot FOREVER. Now I trot for less than ten minutes and I am gasping for breath! My core muscles are gone and I really struggle to relax my shoulders and lift my chest so that I can sink into my seat bones and soften my lower back. GRRRRR!!! And I used to be very graceful mounting and dismounting, and now I flail around. VERY embarassing! My leg is still very "quite" when I ride (meaning it doesn't move around). My injury, however, is still a bit weak but I do not have the debilitating pain that I once had and I am confident that it will stregnthen and almost completely recover with time.

    I apologize for the long read, but I wanted to give you as many details as possible so that maybe you can help me better! Thank you so much!

  • #2
    Go to the gym.

    Comment


    • #3
      But what should I do AT the gym? I have always run a mile every day, but now I have gotten lazy and only run the mile 3-5 days a week. My physical therapist had me doing an exercise similair to crunches for my core, and I love to run up flights of stairs and hike.

      Comment


      • #4
        Why not ask someone at the gym who specializes in that? I don't mean to be rude, but it's Chronicle of the Horse, not Chronicle of 24 Hour Fitness. Ask a specialist.

        Comment


        • #5
          What do you feel comfortable doing? Perhaps you should take spin classes or pilates/yoga/yogalites with crunchy granola classes. Find your groove and stick with it. Try something like Zumba if you like to get jiggy with it. You can always try those group dance classes. I would try some good muscle building workouts and activities but nothing that is gonna get you ripped and lots of cardio too.
          Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Coreene View Post
            Why not ask someone at the gym who specializes in that? I don't mean to be rude, but it's Chronicle of the Horse, not Chronicle of 24 Hour Fitness. Ask a specialist.
            LOL I just thought maybe someone here had been in my situation once. Lots of riders get injured and need to rehab after an extensive hiatus.

            Also, thanks LexinVA for the helpful response!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RideForever View Post
              LOL I just thought maybe someone here had been in my situation once. Lots of riders get injured and need to rehab after an extensive hiatus.
              I was in your situation. Well, actually that was more than , but you know what I mean. When I got the green light from my doctor and a specific list of what I could and could not do, I got advice from a professional. Took a long time. And, to be fair, I still have time when I can't ride because of vertigo, but that's my own dumbass fault for getting on my horse without a helmet the one time I took an unplanned gymnastic dismount.

              No matter how frustrating it is right now, you know the reward is just the best thing of all!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Coreene View Post
                Why not ask someone at the gym who specializes in that? I don't mean to be rude, but it's Chronicle of the Horse, not Chronicle of 24 Hour Fitness. Ask a specialist.
                We can have threads about Katie Prices tits but a person can't ask for fellow horsemans advice on fitting up to ride? C'mon!

                Lex, you don't Zumba do you? Doesn't jive with my based on very little image of you! I took one look at Zumba and recognized this whiter than white girls inability to dance unless inebriated and ran the other way!

                OP, I think if you like hiking and have an existing injury you can't go wrong with that. Don't stroll though, push yourself. Find some sand and some hills and kick your own ass.

                Good luck!
                "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Excuse me, but come on yourself. This is about how to get in shape. This is not focused on riding and how strength improves specific skills during your training.

                  OP - there are many, several recent threads about this subject. Yoga for riding is one I started and is specifically geared towards riding.

                  Go to the gym. If you folks have a specific workout geared towards riding and why it improves how you need your body to respond for your eventing or dressage or hunter discipline, fine. But "get in shape" is general enough to belong on a gym board.

                  In my opinon.
                  Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Do look for a yoga on horseback place around you. I live near AnotherRound and we have a couple in state and they really do a great job on rider fitness, core strength, confidence and balance. I've been thinking of trying a class where AR goes for fun...I have no issues with core strength but figured it would be a hoot. Also I'm balanced but not coordinated if that makes any sense...so at least the spectators could get a giggle out of me hanging upside down off the lesson horse.

                    Also for core strength and riding...Roman Sit Ups. Can't stress those enough. Crunches compared to Roman Sit Ups are like comparing a Cesna to a 747.
                    Roman Sit Ups strengthen and lengthen your upper and lower abs, your obliques and your lower back all at the same time. After a few weeks of doing romans you'll feel like someone inserted an iron column into your center of balance.
                    You can do these easily at home without special equipment. You need a chair or bench and a low bottomed bureau and a pair of thick slippers. That's it. Put the bench (or chair facing sideways) about one foot in fron the dresser.(or any heavy furniture with a low bottom) Put the thick slippers on, they cushion the tops of your feet. Place feet under edge of furniture, making sure your knees stay at or very near a 90 degree angle.
                    Cross arms over chest or place hands at hips or wrap arms around your middle, whichever is most comfy. Keeping your back, neck and shoulders straight and squared...use ONLY your center muscles to slowly lower your upper body backwards flexing at the hips. Do this until your back is parallel to the floor, Hold for a slow count of 3 and raise slowly back to upright.
                    Repeat 99 more times. You can also twist at the wait (keep hips squared)to one side or the other and do them sorta sideways to work your obliques more.
                    Also working out of even sitting to watch TV on an exercise ball. The biggest one, so you can sit on it and raise your feet off the floor as long as possible over and over to see how long you can balance that ball upright without rolling off. That works all of your core to keep you balanced.
                    Stores now have these half-exercise ball things that are flat plastic on the bottom with an inflated dome on top. You stand on those and practice balance doing things like marching in place or trying to bend down and tough your feet and stay on it without falling off. Major work out for core and balance. Those aren't cheap, but worth the $90 or so they cost.
                    You jump in the saddle,
                    Hold onto the bridle!
                    Jump in the line!
                    ...Belefonte

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I second the person who mentioned Spinning (if you have access to a gym or a Spinning studio). It will both make you strong and improve your cardio capacity in short order. I would like to try and fit it in my schedule again myself. In addition to that, can you extend your 1-mile runs? Actually, if you do intervals, rather than 1-mile of straight running, you will improve your fitness level faster. Try to run for 1, or 2 mins at a pace faster than your usual pace. Walk quickly to recover for a minute or two and then repeat. Start by doing this for 1.5 miles at a time and then try to increase your distance in 1/4 or 1/5 mile increments every week or two. If you could do the running 3x and Spinning 2x a week, you'd be in pretty good shape pretty quickly, I think.

                      When I started riding again back in September, I was both running and Spinning at the time and had no trouble trotting for long periods, even though I hadn't been on a horse in over 20 years.
                      -Debbie / NH

                      My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our gym has a theraphy room with the proper equipment and personel.
                        I know, I go there for a pinched nerve and the associated 80% loss of use of one leg due to that, which made some precise riding, like steadiness at the canter, without the horse changing leads on me and precise flying changes iffy.
                        We are gaining by leaps and bounds, so why not go ask your Dr and then find a gym that does both, regular fitness and theraphy work, so you can get to riding right quicker?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you want to strengthen your core, you might try TRX (google it). I've been working out at a fitness center for several years (to help improve my riding). They recently added TRX equipment. It looked interesting, so I signed up for a few lessons. I'm still sore from the first one. The beauty of TRX is you can buy the equipment (its not expensive) and do it in your own home. I love it!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just googled the TRX...have to agree that resistance training works very well. Especially suspended resistance for core and balance.
                            Not a bad deal either...$209.99 for the full home TRX set with with booklets and DVD training.
                            I'd probably kill myself on it...but then coordination has never been my thing. I'd end up looking like Spiderman attacked me...boinging upside down suspended in a knot.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!
                            ...Belefonte

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AnotherRound View Post
                              But "get in shape" is general enough to belong on a gym board.
                              Sorry, I thought my request was more obvious. I want to get back into shape for RIDING.

                              Thanks everyone for the very helpful responses!!! I used to do yoga, kick boxing, those step box things, and pilates. Don't have the time for that right now, though. Will look into the other things...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Well, a mile isn't enough time for conditioning. You have to go about half an hour about three times a week, and your heart rate has to hit a certain level and stay there. The level is the number of beats per minute multiplied by some percentage, which is determined by your age group. The charts are available online, or at any good gym.
                                Supposedly the average time to run a mile is 10 minutes (honestly I don't see how this could be so, in ten minutes my obese relative would be dead at the end of my driveway, much less a mile). If you are average you just aren't getting the time in.

                                I don't know what body part you injured, but at my age I don't take that stuff lightly. I'd rather get in a formal program at a gym/PT designed to bring me back up to fitness while supporting the correct healing of my [insert body part here]. Especially since you are saying you had bilateral pain as a result of compensation. That's hard to un-do. You've got to unlearn some serious positional habits at that point.
                                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                Incredible Invisible

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Weight training, concentrating on core and legs.

                                  Lunges, squats, deadlifts, back extensions, and 7 min ab program

                                  http://www.scribd.com/doc/6466200/Legendary-Abs

                                  HIIT- High Intensity interval training for conditioning.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                                    Weight training, concentrating on core and legs.

                                    Lunges, squats, deadlifts, back extensions, and 7 min ab program

                                    http://www.scribd.com/doc/6466200/Legendary-Abs

                                    HIIT- High Intensity interval training for conditioning.
                                    That is EXACTLY what my PT/kinesiologist/chiropractor lady gave me to do! Small world.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Swimming!
                                      --o0o--

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I do cardio and weights. DT had an interesting article last month about the Shannon Peters' workout which was Pilates. I'd like to try that or Yoga. I have to change my mindset that it's not really a workout unless I am sweating and in pain afterwards.

                                        Comment

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