Staying strong the whole ride

This week I’ve been having a little fun with some of my 121 Clients holding a 2 point seat on some balance pods whilst trying to keep a steady contact on bands held as reins. With optimum time of the Cross Country at the Olympics being 7mins 45 that’s been the aim. To stay fairly still on an unstable surface, when if you try and use your hands for the balance the elasticity of the band will throw you off is harder than you think.

Although of course this doesn’t directly replicate a cross country round effort it does train stability and endurance of the muscles. I’m considering ideas of how I could add jumps in……

Whether you do Eventing, Dressage or just general hacking or schooling, riding well throughout requires stability and endurance of your muscles. This is slightly different (although not exclusively trained different) to endurance of your lungs.

If your stabilisers and your bigger muscles get tired mid ride it’s going to be hard to stay effective, and indeed safe right to the end of your ride. Tired muscles don’t perform as well, so they won’t be giving clear aids, or sitting as lightly or correctly. Secondly, tired muscles may not react as quickly to a spook, trip etc meaning you’re more likely to fall off!

As I mentioned training endurance of your lungs is different that doesn’t mean training you would traditionally do for that such as running, cycling or swimming etc isn’t effective for endurance of muscles; it totally is! So, if you like adding that into your training that’s great.

Regular resistance training is also great for improving muscular endurance.

However I like to occasionally add in some static muscle poses to test the endurance of muscles alone. Although riding can often feel like a decent workout (or it should if you’re doing it right!) you don’t actually move your muscles that much-although they are working quite hard.

You don’t have to be quite as silly as me and my clients with the balance pods and the bands etc, you can make it much simpler by doing things such as wall squats, a low free standing squat, plank, side plank or holding a split squat for increased lengths of time.

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