Riding is a huge passion of mine, but when I started riding again at the age of 40, I quickly realized that I needed to improve my fitness. Riding exercises were just as important then as they were 8 years later.
To be honest all of my workouts fit into exercises for horseback riding because that was my reason to lose weight over 8 years ago. I firmly believe that we have a WHY for everything we do, especially when it requires self-motivation.
Balance, strength and endurance are key components of horseback riding, and equestrian fitness is a little different than general fitness. Horseback riding exercises target the muscles to improve the core and cardiovascular system for an overall good exercise program.
Why being fit to ride is a good idea
As with any sport, the more prepared you are, the better the outcome. Horseback riding is no different than any other sport. Focusing on increasing strength in both your upper and lower body will benefit your riding position.
How to get fit for horseback riding
Finding a comprehensive, total-body workout program to increase physical strength is an important first step to getting in shape.
Step two would be not giving up, staying consistent. Training and strengthening muscles takes time and an idea of what you are working towards.
Step three is diet. Make sure you're following a healthy macro-balanced eating plan that will provide your muscles with the nutrients they need.
How does riding change your body?
Horseback riding is a great exercise and goes a long way towards being physically fit.
Ride horsespossibly induces various physiological (muscle strength, balance, oxidative ability, flexibility and metabolic control)changeswithinBodyand is therefore highly recommended as a combined movement for women, children and seniors as a therapeutic and recreational sport activity.Those:NCBISee AlsoDressage Rider Leg Strength - 6 video exercises to help you improveHow do I get stronger legs for riding? - Mississippi farms5 Exercises to Improve Lower Leg Position When Riding - Adamson Equestrian
Can you get abs from horseback riding?
Horseback riding is very beneficial for core muscles, including abdominal muscles. The abdominals are a key muscle group for horseback riding exercises because the core muscles are largely responsible for maintaining two-point balance, or balancing the weight on the balls of your feet.
Can you lose weight while horseback riding?
Undoubtedly, many calories can and are burned while driving. However, like any other form of exercise, proper nutrition must be practiced, such as:tracking macros.
How to build leg strength for horseback riding
Leg strength when horseback riding is important to the rider's fitness for obvious reasons, as a large part of horseback riding is leg pressure and balance.
There are many ways to increase leg strength.
- walking exercises- Adding a 30-45 minute walk daily with eithertreadmill workoutorhave a hiking plancan increase endurance, burn extra calories, and increase cardiovascular fitness.
- leg challenges– Regular leg training tightens and strengthens the leg muscles. enter30 Day Leg Challengeor make sure your exercise program includes a variety of leg exercises.
- To go biking– Biking or spinning is a great way to strengthen leg muscles and improve cardio.
Exercises for the rider's leg strength
Hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves are used in horseback riding, so targeted exercises for each leg muscle are important. Some of my favorites are:
- Standing calf raises- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, push up to the balls of your feet and back down. Calf raises for beginners can be performed while holding onto a chair for balance. Advanced calf raises can be performed while holding weights. Variations can be toes forward, toes out, and toes in.
- squats– All varieties with and without weights can be helpful.
- Sumo Squat Weightlifting– With your legs apart and your knees bent, lift your heels while keeping the rest of your body still. Beginners while holding on to something stable for balance. Intermediates would hold weights.
Does riding make your butt bigger?
Horseback riding makes your butt bigger in terms of muscle mass because the glutes are more defined and toned. If you eat well, which means watching or tracking your macros and calories, you'll burn fat while increasing muscle tone to actually look thinner and leaner.
Between workouts you will forgo the horse and muscle use while riding, if you are a woman over 40 you can do soget rid of the mother butt!
Does horseback riding make your thighs fatter?
Legs, especially thighs, work hard when riding. Every time the muscles are exhausted and exercised, it causes micro-tears that heal and cause the muscle to become stronger and bigger. So, yes, horseback riding will make your thighs bigger.
Eating a healthy diet may make your thighs look slimmer and thinner as they have less fat.
Good exercises for riders (exercises without a horse)
There are specific exercises you can do to improve fitness for horseback riding. It's a combination of exercises that are done regularly and make a difference. One important thing to realize is that any workout you choose to do requires a long-term commitment. It takes time and persistence to change body composition and then maintain fitness.
Lifting Weights to Get Equestrian Fit
Weight training is a good idea for anyone looking to get fit, but especially for horse riders. Horses are strong, and while our strength can never compare to theirs, it takes an underlying strength to lead them.
My current favorite workout is the Beachbody Lift4 workout. I've been doing Beachbody workouts for so long that I'm actually a Beachbody Coach, helping others get strong and fit. (Find out how to join my Beachbody team.)
Lift4 offers 4 days of strength training to improve upper and lower body strength. Many women shy away from lifting weights because they fear they will look too bulky. I totally understand and once had the same misunderstanding.
Circuit training for full-body engagement
Lift4 also regularly incorporates circuit training, which increases reaction time, balance and agility - all things important when riding.
crunchescan be a great way to strengthen and tone your core, but there are many different core strengthening exercises. Again, Lift4 combines a core segment with each workout, making it a great option for core fitness.
Additional core exercises:
- boards– Using a variety of plank exercises can tone and strengthen your core. The30-Take-Plank-Challengewould help a lot.
- Flattering– Lie on your back with your legs straight, lift both of you off the floor a few inches and flap or kick in small movements for 30 seconds – 60 seconds. Rest, repeat a few times.
- Heel touches, side by side– Lie on the floor in a seated position, stretch your arms out to your sides, lift your shoulders off the floor while touching the side of each foot.
The best riding exercises for beginners
While non-riding exercise should be part of your fitness, exercise while riding is just as beneficial, if not more. Nothing fits horseback riding like horseback riding and it's important to practice proper posture from the start.
Riding exercises to improve the position at the walk
If this is your first time riding an English saddle, you're likely to feel unbalanced just walking without something to hold on to, like a western horn. Over time, these horseback riding exercises in this article will help your core, back, and legs support your body.
Riding exercises to improve the position at the walk
On the lunge line or on a trusting horse, drop the reins and stretch your arms straight out to your sides or put your hands on your hips.
Keep your back straight and shoulders back. Drop your heels down and gently hug the horse with your legs.
Riding exercises to improve position at the trot
These exercises also improve position when riding and can be done at a walk as a beginner, as you will feel more balanced and stronger, do the exercises at a trot.
- post in trot– Strengthens legs (thighs and calves), core and back
- Keep two points in trot– strengthens legs and core
Exercising while the horse is trotting is a great way to practice your form while increasing endurance and strength.
Practical Horseman offers some great detailed exercises to improve horsemanship, strengthen and correct common leg, hand and seat problems that often stem from weak muscles.
To test your body control and work on improving it while strengthening your leg position, try the following two posting exercises: At the trot, change your posting sequence so that you change diagonals with each step. Do it first by sitting for two beats and standing up for one, over and over again. This will teach your body not to anticipate your horse's movement. Then practice staying out of the saddle for two strokes and sitting for one. This will teach your body not to lag behind in the movement.Practical rider
Start improving your horseback riding strength
There's no better time to start working on your strength and balance than now with these exercises for riders.
It will be a combination of healthy eating, home training and horsemanship practices that will help you succeed in the ring. Consistent practice and implementation is key.
Good riders use core, leg and back strength with good posture and balance.
So tell me what kind of riding do you do or are you interested in?
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