Exercizes to Improve Riding

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Exercizes to Improve Riding

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    08-09-2008, 09:53 AM
Exercizes to Improve Riding

I'd like to build up my leg muscles so I can eventually (not expecting overnight) be able to mount a horse with ease, without needing a leg up or a mounting block/fence/hay bale.

Are there any exercizes that you guys would recommend for this? I'm already doing sits ups/crunches, as well as lunges whenever I can remember. I'm also walking stairs whenever I get the chance to. But I don't think that these will help really build up muscle and stuff on my legs. Any suggestions?

Also, I don't like running. What are other options for aerobic exercize? Mainly to build up endurance.

Should I do weights to build up arm strength? I have free weights at home...

Are there any other exercizes (for any part of the body) that you guys would recommend to help with riding? I'm not riding now, but sort of "preparing" for it. So at the moment, dropping stirrups and doing two-point and stuff aren't an option...
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    08-10-2008, 12:11 PM
    08-10-2008, 12:27 PM
Green Broke
I have the BEST book for that!

It's called The Rider's Fitness Program by Dianna Robin Dennis.

I'm on my way to work, but I'll post some good leg exercises specific to riding when I get home tonight!
    08-10-2008, 12:37 PM
Thanks a ton! I wish I had a book like that... I'll ask my Grandma if she can bring some when she comes in December...
    08-10-2008, 09:14 PM
Palates worked for my mom..i tried it a couple times and I actually felt stronger after I did it!
    08-10-2008, 09:46 PM
Green Broke
Here are a few to get you started. Remember, start out slow!

Squat at Horse Width

1. Stand up straight with your feet at a width that is your leg position in the saddle. Fold your arms across your chest, elbows close to the sides of your body.
2. In one smooth motion lower yourself towards the floor in a squat, as if to grasp and object at your feet. Allow your upper body to bend naturally as you lower yourself. Keep your weight centered over your insteps NOT your hells or the balls of your feet.
3. Align your knees with the inside of your feet, without pressing them to the outside. Lower yourself slowly and as far as comfort allows but not too far!
4. With your legs push hard into the ground and return to standing position.
5. Repeat 7-10 times OR as comfortably as you can

Step Up
Need a step or stool 4-12 inches high
1. Place the step directly in front of you. Place one foot on the middle of the step.
2. Shift your weight forward so you can feel it align with your instep. Allow your upper body to lean slightly forward.
3. Forcefully push down into the step with the supporting leg and move your body up and over the step.
4. Come to a standing position with both feet on the step.
5. Leaving the supporting foot on the step, lower your body in a controlled manner back to the starting position.
6. Repeat 7-10 times each leg, comfortably!

If you have access to a gym, leg extensions and leg curls will help. If you don't, stairs are a good alternative for leg exercising. Walk the stairs though, don't run. You have more control and can concentrate on flexing your thigh and calf muscles.

I recommend getting the book, it's amazing and each exercise shows you how it helps with your riding.
    08-10-2008, 09:56 PM
Pilates and/or yoga are good for building riding muscles. Makes you nice and flexible and long and lean muscles.

Other things I like to do it steps. I park my car a 10 minute walk from work and the walk includes walking over a train line so lots of steps twice a day! I walk up the stairs on my toes to stretch my calf muscles so I can get my heels down for riding, it also builds up my ankle muscles so when I am jumping I have nice strong ankles to support my weight.

Also just being more conscious of how you stand, walk and sit. Stand tall and open your shoulders up, hold your head nice and even and slightly tuck your butt in. The more you make the effort to stand and walk tall the easier it becomes a habit and you will always look great even off the horse!

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