Back in the Saddle: Spring Exercises For Equestrians
After a long winter cooped up indoors, it’s finally time to get back in the saddle! That can be a bit easier said than done, however, particularly if you’ve spent the majority of your winter hibernating indoors with hot cocoa and cookies. Luckily, there are several measures you can take to ensure that both your mind and body are prepared for the coming season. Below are some of the most beneficial spring exercises for equestrians to help get you back in the saddle just in time for a lovely springtime ride.
Leg exercises are frequently overlooked, not only by equestrians but by everyone in the workout community. However, leg strength is extremely important for equestrians and should play a large part in your spring exercise routine. It’s your strong legs and glutes that will keep you properly seated in the saddle, after all. Lunges, squats, and burpees are some of the most common home exercises to improve leg strength. You can also incorporate the use of resistance bands and leg weights to take your workout to the next level. If you do plan to incorporate weights, be sure to do so slowly. Going too big too soon can leave you at higher risk of injury. Bear in mind also that, as your body readjusts to this new exercise routine, you will likely experience a bit of soreness and stiffness. Take the necessary measures to reduce this pain as much as possible, such as icing sore muscles and sleeping on a therapeutic mattress pad. This will ensure that you spend more time in the saddle than you do recuperating in bed.
Core strength is crucial for all equestrians. Without proper core strength, your posture will suffer, and you likely find yourself with a sore back after even a brief ride. As such, it’s important that you spend ample time tightening your core muscles at the onset of spring. Most core exercises can be completed from the comfort of your own home and require little to no additional equipment. Crunches, planks, and boat pose exercises are all simple floor exercises that can help tone your core. Cardio exercises such as walking, jogging, or biking will also provide an additional core workout. Such cardio exercises engage multiple muscle groups throughout your body, so you’ll be provided a total-body workout in addition to a standard core exercise.
Balance exercises may seem inconsequential, but they are integral to keeping you in the saddle during your first rides this spring. Practicing yoga for a few minutes every day is a great way to practice your balance and posture at the same time. Try to focus on poses that require you to balance on one leg. Eagle pose, half-moon pose, and lord of the dance pose are all great options for those looking to improve their balance. Lunging positions in which your weight is more heavily placed on one foot than the other, such as the side plank and warrior II pose, are also good options.