5 Tips for Equestrians New to Fitness and Cross Training
Equestrians are athletes too, and like any other athletes we need to cross train in order to get better at the sport that we are passionate about. Fitness training, especially core strength and stability, upper body mobility and strength training, and lower body endurance training is especially crucial for equestrian athletes if they want to be the best athletes that they can be for their horses.
Here are my top five tips for equestrians that are new to fitness and cross training!
- Start slow. If you are new to fitness training, don't push yourself 100% right away and sign up for 7 personal training sessions per week to prevent injury and to prevent burnout. Make sure you focus on working on good form, are slowly integrating cardiovascular endurance exercises and that you master the five basic bodyweight movement patterns (bending/lifting, single-leg movements, push movements, pull movements and rotational movements) before you start working with weights.
- Don't skip your warm up! Warming up before any type of exercise is crucial if you don't want to get hurt! Dynamic warm up movements such as arm circles, forward and reverse lunges and leg swings help increase blood circulation to your muscles so that there is an adequate amount of oxygen in your muscles before your workout. A warm up session only needs to last 5-10 minutes and should never feel tougher than your actual workout!
- Leave static stretching after working out. Static stretches are stretches where you hold a pose for a certain amount of time to stretch out a muscle. While static stretching is amazing post workout, as it helps relieve soreness and releases any tension from the exercise session, doing them before a workout may tire out and over stretch your muscles and cause injury. So remember to save static stretches at the end!
- Wear the correct shoes! Footwear is so important to equestrians as we all know how an ill-fitted boot may affect our riding, the same goes for working out! If you expect to do a lot of cardiovascular exercises such as running, you want to make sure that your shoe is lightweight and has good cushioning so it absorbs most of the shock. If you are intending to do a lot of HIIT, choose a shoe with adequate cushion to support your joints for quick landings and also ankle support to protect your ankles from quick lateral movements. For those who are wanting to lift heavier weights in the future, consider a shoe with a flatter and sturdier sole with a firmer heel, so you can stay as flat as possible to the floor to increase stability
- Just have fun! Strength training may not be fun to everyone, just like how HIIT may not be everyone's cup of tea. Find a type of fitness training that you enjoy so that it becomes a lifestyle instead of a chore! Try a group fitness class, a personal training session, a spin class, barre, yoga, HIIT session, crossfit or home workout programs to see what you like and what you don't like! Fitness is all about having fun and choosing an activity that you enjoy!
- Jamie S. Graham, M.S., CTRS, TRI, CIFT
Jamie is the founder of Haybales & Barbells, a fitness for equestrians company that creates equestrian specific workout programs for horse riders. The wide variety of programs are easily accessible and affordable and she also offers one-on-one coaching for the equestrians that want a highly personalized program.
Follow her on Instagram: @haybales.barbells
Or check out her website: www.haybalesandbarbells.com
Why Jamie loves BOTORI
I love the BOTORI tights because of their versatility. I can wear them to the gym and head to the barn right after! They are form fitting, comfortable, sweat wicking and best of all, the pockets are so convenient!
Jamie is wearing the all black Taylor tights.