In order to be at the top of your game in the equestrian world, the rider must take just as much care and attention of their own strength and conditioning, as for their horses. Where winning can be by the smallest margin nothing must be left to chance.
A solid strength and conditioning regime is invaluable when it comes to preventing injury, muscular imbalances, improving posture,balance and energy to name but a few.
Will has found a balance which works for him, mixing up his routine to target different aspects of physical well being. These have made a real difference in his riding, overall performances and daily energy levels.
For general cardiovascular fitness Will incorporates HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into his week. This class builds strength and stamina by combining athletic aerobic movements with strength and stabilization exercises.
Benefits of HIIT training include increased endurance, improved cardiovascular health and also teaches the body how to effectively use energy as well as preserving muscle gain whilst allowing fat loss.
Pilates is the main method Will uses to improve and maintain strength and core stability. Going to Pilates twice a week for two years has given rise to some notable improvements in core strength and stability, as well as overall balance. By strengthening the core, Pilates can also be responsible for reducing and relieving back pain, and improving an athletes’ performance in all three disciplines of Eventing each which require a strong core.
Combining Pilates with a weights based gym class once a week arms Will’s body with the strength needed to sustain a heavily physical working routine; mucking out and riding out X8 is not for the faint hearted!
Balance is a key component for riders to work on. Will finds that his right-hand side is particularly strong and favourable from mucking out and other yard work, despite trying to use both sides of his body equally. In order to combat this imbalance specifically, Will is going to try some personal training sessions to improve his bilateral strength.
Additional elements of Will’s routine to improve flexibility and suppleness include Osteopathy. Both horses and rider undergo osteopathy treatment which is important as rider’s movement affects the horse’s way of going, smoothness of movement and balance from uneven weight distribution. Also, vice versa, if the horses backs are not straight this will affect the riders body and could make their backs lopsided.
As well as this, Will uses a Casada Muscle Relief Massage Cushion which targets deep tissue through circular movements, relaxing and removing knots from the muscle.
Similarly, a Back Stretcher Back Rack is very popular with Will for stretching at the end of a long day to relieve any unwanted tension and back pain by taking pressure off intervertebral discs through a series of movements, and straightening the vertebrae.
It may sound like a routine which is tricky to maintain but being the only rider in his team, it is imperative that Will stays in good physical health -when it doesn’t take more than slipping on banana skin to put oneself out of action, all preventative measures are viewed as necessary, with routine the key to keeping to this regime effective.