Get Riding Fit Without A Gym

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Riding is a physical sport and to perform to the highest standard, it is imperative to work out in addition to regular rides. However, due to monetary or time constraints, many decide to end their gym membership or never sign up at all. Luckily, a gym is not needed in order to obtain a high level of fitness! Here are some exercise tips easily utilized by any equestrian.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a workout with many variations. Essentially, it is pushing yourself to almost full capacity, backing down for a recovery, and repeating the process in multiple short intervals. HIIT escalates your heart rate, helping you build stamina for galloping around a cross country course. The most basic form of HIIT is running a full on sprint for 30 seconds to one minute, jogging for one to two minutes, and repeating the set five to ten times depending on your fitness.

It’s All About That Core

Ever hear your trainer yell to use your core? A strong core is important in helping you sit up tall on your horse and enables you to ride effectively. The forearm plank targets your abs as well as shoulders, arms, and glutes. While you might think holding a plank sounds easy, many cannot make it past 30 seconds. Figure out how long you can comfortably hold a plank and do 5-10 repetitions with short breaks each day. Try to increase the time you hold daily, even if only by one second. The best part of planks is that you can always improve! To make the exercise even more difficult, try raising an arm or leg off the ground. Before you know it, you will have abs of steel!

Make The Barn Your Gym

With a bit of creativity, the barn is a great place to fit in a workout. Practice deadlifts with hay bales and grain bags. Shun the hose and instead carry each full water bucket. Volunteer to walk the leadliners around the ring and run around as they trot to their hearts content.

Online Yoga

In riding you must stay erect and tall, but simultaneously soft and supple. Yoga is a full body strength workout and an excellent way to work on your flexibility. There are a variety of classes posted for free online. Some classes offer a relaxing stretch – perfect to loosen stiff muscles – and some offer a rigorous workout that really gets you sweating. Eventually, you can incorporate the different poses you learn and make your own routines!

Nicole Ponte

Avid eventer from New England with a soft spot for off-the-track Thoroughbreds.

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