Getting in shape to improve my riding
I'm on the dressage team at college and have come back to riding this year after having not ridden for about 6 years. I'm sort of in shape - I'm a good weight and go to my college's gym. At one of our team meetings, our president mentioned that going to the gym could improve our riding. I was wondering, what exercises do people find are helpful for riding? Any cardio or weight lifting machine you can imagine, I have access to, as well as free weights and mats for doing crunches. But I prefer the machines to do my weights. I already try to get on the elliptical 3 times a week. What else would help? Thanks!
Walking will do a lot to improve your leg strength! Stand on stairs and drop your heels to stretch your tendons to enable your heels to stay in place!
You will get more out of using free weights then machines since it takes more stability to keep the weights in proper position.
I have found squats, lunges, and running to have strengthen my legs. To maximize your time in the gym you can try combo exercises. Example- Grab two weights (one in each hand same weight) that feels a bit easy to lift but not too light. Stand in a lunge position (one leg forward then the other), holding the weights at about your hips and drawing in your stomach, lunge down, come back up, curl the weights and in the same movement raise the weights up into a standing press, bring the weights back down into reverse movements and repeat. Try 10 on each leg.
If you look online you can find good information on routines that can help strengthen the entire body :) If doing strength training for the day start out with about 5 minutes of cardio to get the blood moving
Stability ball exercises, or just sitting on it instead of a chair for a day.
Apparently the best thing you can do is Pilates as it builds your core strength, not that I've tried it yet.
Pilates? I'll have to try it! With my gym membership on campus, I can also take free fitness classes...Pilates is one of them!
I agree with the stability ball, sitting on one all day as well as doing a lot of exercises geared towards riders on it has helped me immensely!
I do spin, free weights and yoga. I try for at least 3 hours of exercise (not walking - hard aerobic or muscle work exercise) ontop of training 6 hours a week on my horse. If you don't feel like puking post exercise go harder next time hahaha. I also do hot yoga in lieu of regular yoga for the cardiovascular benefits.
It is helpful to set up some personal training sessions to determine how to work out that will have the most benefit for you and then do a checkup every few months, or when motivation is waning.
Good luck! And yes working out definitely helps your riding!
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Being a spinning instructor, I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone- I DESPISE spinning bikes now!
I found running was brilliant, and sit ups and the 'log' for core muscles and helping with back muscles.
Since you're in school I HIGHLY recommend a ballet, tap or hip-hop class. The other exercises are fine, and they will help, but dance will give you flexibility and strength. Being on campus, you should be able to find an adult class. They'll teach you the discipline, but won't expect you to overstretch or balance like a professional dancer. IMO some gym work is geared to a different discipline than riding and not really a means to an end.
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