There has been a recent wave of Professional Riders shouting about their weight lifting routines. I think this is great that finally Equestrians are recognising they are as much the athlete as the horse is.
I think it has been a long held opinion that the only way to improve your riding is to do more riding. Whilst of course more riding will help, sometimes with so much else going on as you ride (that half a ton underneath spooking at crisp packets…)it can be difficult to really focus on you. Secondly the issue you are struggling with may not be “riding” specific it’s just that you notice it when riding as it prevents you from doing something or at least makes things more difficult.
The reason being physically fit and strong improves your riding is because your body will in general perform better as a unit. This is one reason why big compound movements like Squats and Deadlifts are popular along with full body movements like Clean and Press etc. These movements teach you to remain stable whilst moving limbs, which is what we actually do on a horse just much smaller.
Also, if you are strong and very stable in your own body a horse that is perhaps not as balanced for example a young horse, will be unable to move you around as much and you will in turn be able to help balance the horse yourself. A strong rider will find it easier to correct things like falling in or out on turns and lateral work.
So, if you need a little nudge to get to the gym there is your reason-get strong to improve your riding!
Now if you are reading this and the idea of going to the gym and lifting heavy weights horrifies you, don’t panic. It has become my mission to help riders like you improve without spending hours in the gym alongside your work, family and horse commitments. It is still possible to make a huge difference to your riding strength by being just a bit clever with what exercises you do and what muscles you focus on.
As mentioned we want a full functioning body that works as a unit from top to bottom. We need it be strong and flexible as well as having good co-ordination and proprioception(awareness of your body in the space around you). To help you I have designed a little Sports Yoga Routine that will help you with all of that. Sports Yoga is unlike “regular yoga” (which is also great) as it incorporates the stability we find in Pilates and then has areas to incorporate further strength work when required.
So here is my short routine to get you started. I love to hear how you get on and if you enjoyed it!