Equestrian Fitness: Welcome to the Gun Show

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This article first appeared in the September 2016 issue of Heels Down Magazine.

We’ve all moved them, lifted them, and dragged them around. Poles are a necessary part of any working barn so they make a perfect prop for a sweat session you can do without having to leave your horse. Some warnings: if you have any injury to the upper body, consult your health/movement professional before proceeding, and make sure you do a proper warm up (minimum of 5 minutes) prior to doing the following exercises (a ride, a brisk walk, mucking out, jog around the arena).

Ready to get those arms pumping? Here we go!

Pole Curls

Grab a pole at its center with hands shoulder width apart and palms facing forward. Bend your elbows to lift the pole and feel those biceps work. Aim for six to ten reps.

Pole Reverse Press

Start the same way as the curls. When elbows are bent all the way up, press the pole overhead with palms facing backwards. Do not arch your back. If you can’t get the pole up (poles vary in weight), try a lighter pole or substitute ten push-ups instead.

Pole Rows

With a pole straight behind one arm, grasp the pole with legs in a split stance. Keep your arm close to the body and bend your elbow straight back to lift it. Do this six to ten times on each side.

Pole Flys

With the pole in the same position as the rows, lift it sideways to just below 90 degrees. Keep your shoulder blades actively drawn toward each other and look straight ahead. Do this six to ten times on each side.

Pole Press Squats

Facing the pole with your feet far enough back that you can squat without hitting yourself in the face with it, squat down in good form. As you stand, press the pole in one hand up. Do this ten times on each side.

Repeat this circuit three times. If you want to add some cardio, do two to three laps of your arena in between rounds. You can also do this in the gym using a barbell or free weights! Enjoy!

Stable & Spice

Fitness and nutrition series for equestrians.

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