The Equestrian Workout – Exercises For Equestrians

The Equestrian Workout – Exercises for Equestrians

Horse riding requires not only skill and finesse but also physical strength and endurance. A great way to improve your horse riding skills and prevent injuries is by incorporating a workout routine specifically designed for equestrians. In this article, we’ll share some exercises that will help you develop upper body strength, core stability, and cardiovascular fitness.

Horse riding requires a combination of physical strength, balance, and control.

Workouts are important for equestrians who want to improve their overall fitness and riding skills. Horseback riding involves using many muscles in your body, especially your upper body and core muscles, which makes it essential to include exercises that target these areas.

Upper body exercises

Upper body exercises are important for equestrian workout routines as they help improve upper body control and core stability. Horse riders need to have a strong upper body to be able to maintain proper posture while riding. It’s recommended to do 2 – 5 upper body exercises in your equestrian workout routine.

Core strength

Abdominal muscles play a vital role in horseback riding, and it’s important to target them during your workout for equestrians. Incorporating 1 – 2 exercises that focus on your core muscles can help improve your body control and balance while riding.

Lower body exercises

Horse riding involves using your entire body, and it’s crucial to have strong legs and knees to maintain a correct riding position. Doing exercises that target your legs and knees 1 – 3 times per week can help improve your strength and balance.

Start with the basics

Your starting position is important for any exercise, and it’s no different when it comes to equestrian workouts. Make sure to use proper form and stand straight with your feet hip-width apart before starting any exercise.

Work on balance

Many riders struggle with their horse’s motion and balance, which can lead to a loss of control. Incorporating exercises that improve your balance and hip mobility can help you stay in tune with your horse’s stride and maintain proper riding position.

Don’t forget your cardio

Cardiovascular fitness is also essential for horse riders as it helps improve your endurance while riding. Including high-intensity interval training or aerobics classes in your workout routine can help improve your cardiovascular fitness.

A few cheap pieces of equipment can go a long way

Resistance bands and free weights are great exercises to improve your overall fitness and targeting major muscle groups. Doing resistance band or free weight exercises can help increase your strength and stability. You can even lift saddles and other heavy equipment at the yard, just make sure you use good form.

Sometimes you don’t even need equipment

Push-ups are another great exercise that works your upper body, back muscles, and abdominal muscles. Doing push-ups in your equestrian workout routine can help improve your body strength and control.

Plank position is an excellent exercise to improve your core strength and stability. Doing plank exercises with your body parallel to the floor can help strengthen your core muscles. It’s surprising what a plank can do for your shoulder strength, which is very important for maintaining correct position while riding.

Toe taps are a great exercise to target your calf muscles, which are crucial for horseback riding. Doing toe tap exercises can help improve your lower body strength and balance.

In conclusion, including exercises that target your upper body, core muscles and legs can help improve your riding skills and overall fitness levels. It’s essential to maintain proper posture and form during your equestrian workout routine to avoid injury and improve your body control. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to stay in tune with your horse’s motion and balance with ease.

Which muscles are important for horse rider fitness?

Some of the muscles that are important for horse riding include:

  1. Core muscles: These muscles help you maintain proper posture and balance while riding.

  2. Leg muscles: Strong leg muscles, particularly in the thighs and calves, help you maintain your balance and control while riding.

  3. Arm and shoulder muscles: Strong arm and shoulder muscles are important for controlling the reins and maintaining good posture.

  4. Back muscles: A strong back is important for maintaining good posture and control while riding.

  5. Gluteal muscles: Strong gluteal muscles help you maintain proper balance and control while riding.

It’s important to develop a strong and balanced muscle group to be a successful rider.

What exercises can I do for horse riding muscles?

Here are some exercises that you can do to improve your muscle strength and endurance for horse riding:

1. Squats:

Squats are a great exercise for strengthening the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings. You can do squats using your own body weight or by adding weight using dumbbells or a barbell.

2. Lunges:

Lunges are another effective exercise for strengthening the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps and gluteal muscles. You can do lunges using your own body weight or by adding weight using dumbbells or a barbell.

3. Planks:

Planks are a great exercise for strengthening the core muscles, which are important for maintaining good posture and balance while riding.

4. Push-ups:

Push-ups are a great exercise for strengthening the arm and shoulder muscles, which are important for controlling the reins and maintaining good posture while riding.

5. Rows:

Rows are a great exercise for strengthening the back muscles, which are important for maintaining good posture and control while riding.

It’s important to also include cardio exercises, such as running or cycling, to improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness. It’s also a good idea to work with a trainer or physical therapist to develop a comprehensive exercise program that meets your specific needs and goals.


Equestrian Workout Routine for Stronger Riding

Upper Body Exercises

Strong upper body muscles are essential for horse riding as they provide the rider with better control of the horse’s movement. One effective exercise for upper body strength is the push-up. To perform a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees bent. Slowly lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground, and then push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Another upper body exercise that’s great for equestrians is the resistance band row. Attach a resistance band to a stable object (excuse the pun!) at waist height, hold the other end of the band with both hands, and step back until the band is taut. Keep your core engaged and your shoulders down and back as you pull the band towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the band back to the starting position and repeat for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Core Exercises

Strong core muscles are essential for maintaining proper posture and balance while horse riding. One effective core exercise is the plank. To perform a plank, start in a push-up position, but instead of lowering yourself, hold your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your core engaged and hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for 2-3 sets.

Toe Taps

Another great core exercise is the toe tap. Lie flat on the floor with your legs straight up in the air, perpendicular to your body. Slowly lower one leg towards the ground while keeping the other leg straight up. Touch your toe to the ground and then lift your leg back up. Repeat on the other side for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Cardiovascular Exercises

Good cardiovascular fitness is essential for endurance and stamina while horse riding. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness. One effective HIIT exercise is the opposite arm and leg lift. Get on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Lift your left arm and right leg at the same time and hold for a few seconds. Lower your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Do this for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching is important to prevent injuries and improve flexibility. One effective stretching exercise is calf stretches. Stand straight with your hands on a wall for support. Step your left leg back, keeping your left foot flat on the floor. Bend your right knee and lean forward, keeping your left leg straight. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Another great stretching exercise is the hip flexor stretch. Kneel on your left knee with your right foot in front of you, flat on the floor. Lean forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch in your left hip. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Incorporating a workout routine specifically designed for equestrians can help you improve your riding skills and prevent injuries. By developing your upper body strength, core stability, and cardiovascular fitness, you’ll be able to ride with more confidence and control. Remember to always maintain proper form.


An advanced equestrian workout program that you can try:

Day 1: Upper Body and Core

  1. Warm-up: Begin with a 5-10 minute jog or brisk walk. Follow this with some upper body stretches to get your muscles ready for the workout.

  2. Push-Ups: 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise will help to improve your upper body strength and control. It targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles.

  3. Resistance Band Pull-Aparts: 3 sets of 15 reps. This exercise targets your upper back muscles and helps to improve your posture.

  4. Plank: Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, 3 sets. This exercise targets your abdominal and core muscles.

  5. Russian Twists: 3 sets of 15 reps. This exercise targets your oblique muscles and helps to improve core stability. You can do this exercise with or without weight.

  6. Toe Taps: 3 sets of 20 reps. This exercise targets your lower abdominal muscles and hip mobility.

  7. Cool-down: Finish your workout with some stretching exercises for your upper body and core muscles.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Cardio and Lower Body

  1. Warm-up: Begin with a 5-10 minute jog or brisk walk. Follow this with some lower body stretches to get your muscles ready for the workout.

  2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Perform 4 sets of 30 seconds of jumping jacks, followed by 30 seconds of rest. This will help to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

  3. Squats: 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

  4. Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg. This exercise targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles.

  5. Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps. This exercise targets your calf muscles.

  6. Two-Point Position: Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, 3 sets. This exercise targets your lower body and helps to improve your riding position.

  7. Cool-down: Finish your workout with some stretching exercises for your lower body.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Full Body Workout

  1. Warm-up: Begin with a 5-10 minute jog or brisk walk. Follow this with some stretches for your full body.

  2. Squat Jumps: 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise targets your lower body and helps to improve explosive movement.

  3. Burpees: 3 sets of 10 reps. This exercise targets your full body and helps to improve cardio fitness. Cardio fitness:

Days 6&7: Rest

Repeat this weekly for 6 weeks and you will be amazed at the results


Horse riding exercises for beginners

If you don’t feel like you have the time or the energy for the intense workout above, why not try out the simple exercises below. Do them 4 to 7 times per week depending on your goals and fitness level.

5x Exercises in 10 Minutes to Improve Your Riding

Equipment needed: exercise mat

Duration: 10 minutes

Frequency: 4 to 7 days per week

Warm up: Begin with gentle stretching for your legs, arms, neck and back.

1. Squats (2 minutes)

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat for 2 minutes.

2. Plank (1 minute)

Start on your hands and knees. Lower yourself onto your forearms, keeping your elbows directly under your shoulders. Straighten your legs and lift your hips, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold for as long as you can. Try to build up to 1 minute

3. Lunges (2 minutes)

Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is over your ankle. Keep your back straight and your weight in your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat on your left side. Alternate sides for 2 minutes.

4. Bridges (2 minutes)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat for 2 minutes.

5. Jumping Jacks (3 minutes)

Start with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump your feet out to shoulder-width apart while lifting your arms above your head. Jump back to the starting position and repeat for 3 minutes.

Cooldown: End the workout with 2 minutes of gentle stretching for your legs, arms, neck and back.

This workout is a great starting point for those who want to improve their riding without pushing themselves too hard. By doing these exercises consistently over a week, you will notice improvements in your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance.


Ready for a bigger challenge? try these equestrian exercises

Do them 4 to 7 times per week depending on your goals and fitness level.

6 Exercises in 15 Minutes to Improve Your Riding

Equipment needed: exercise mat, sturdy chair or bench

Duration: 15 minutes

Frequency: 5 to 7 days per week

Warm up: Begin with gentle stretching for your legs, arms, neck, and back.

1. Squats

(2 minutes) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Keep your chest lifted and your weight in your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat for 2 minutes.

2. Plank

(1 minute) Start on your hands and knees. Lower yourself onto your forearms, keeping your elbows directly under your shoulders. Straighten your legs and lift your hips, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Try and build up to a minute.

3. Lunges

(2 minutes) Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is over your ankle. Keep your back straight and your weight in your heels. Return to the starting position and repeat on your left side. Alternate sides for 2 minutes.

4. Bridges

(2 minutes) Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Lower back down to the starting position and repeat for 2 minutes.

5. Triceps Dips

(2 minutes) Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your hands gripping the edge, fingers pointing forward. Walk your feet forward until your hips are off the chair and your arms are straight. Bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor, then straighten your arms to push back up. Repeat for 2 minutes.

6. Jumping Jacks

(3 minutes) Start with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump your feet out to shoulder-width apart while lifting your arms above your head. Jump back to the starting position and repeat for 3 minutes.

Cooldown: End the workout with 2 minutes of gentle stretching for your legs, arms, neck, and back.

Equestrian workout. Horse doing squats in the gym

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