Noble Life

Rider Fitness: Spring Into Action


Despite winter coming every year, those post holiday pounds and winter chill laziness never seem to escape before the beginning of spring.  Nonetheless, spring has almost sprung and it’s time to set aside the warm and cozy comfort foods and get moving!  A consistent routine of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and recovery based exercise will help to provide the most balance within the body physically as well as hormonally.  Not only will you be healthier, you will be ready to jump into the saddle this spring and get a head start on your 2014 riding goals!

Begin with 10 minutes of simple stretching followed by a 10-15 minute cardio warm up to slightly increase heart rate before using weights. Continue through each of the following exercises until you have completed 3 sets of each.

Around-the-World Lunges
Standing with feet hip distance apart to begin, hold a weighted ball or 15 pound SandBell, with arms crossed, against the chest.  Begin with a forward lunge and bring your feet back to start. Continue by lunging at a 45 degree angle, 60 degree angle and lastly to a 90 degree angle, bringing it back to start in between each.  Continue by doing the same on the opposite leg and complete 6 repetitions of both.

To Advance: Increase the weigh or SandBell to 20 or 25 pounds.

Lunges are important to riders because they strengthen core and quad muscles, essential for maintaining a rider’s balance and correct position in the saddle.  The more physically fit you are off your horse, the more endurance you will have once you are on your horse.

Squat to Press


The upper back muscles and glutes are core stabilizers while on the horse; while squatting will strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, a weighted press will increase strength in the biceps and back.

Start by using 10-15 pound weights and stand with your feet hip distance apart and feet flat on the floor. Begin by holding the weights close to your chest bringing your hips into a squat; press through your heels bringing the weights overhead, arms extended, into a press.  Continue for 12 repetitions.

Squat to Press is an important exercise for riders because leg strength helps with Equitation while riding as well as strength and stamina.  By regularly practicing Squat to Press you will increase your leg strength and work on your equitation!

To advance: Stand on a Bocu ball with the round part facing down.

Shoulder Bridge


By placing a foam block in between your knees while doing glute bridges, you will allow your body to better activate your inner thighs and hamstrings.

Lying with shoulders and feet on the floor, lift your hips high to the ceiling, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your knees and slowly lower back down bringing hips towards the ball. When lifting the hips, squeeze the glutes tight.

One of the best muscles to use while riding is your back muscles along with a strong core.  Shoulder Bridge will help strengthen both your back and core as well as help with your stamina.  This is a great exercise for practicing control, precision and balance; all important while in the saddle.

To Advance:  Balance shoulders on a large exercise bar instead of the floor.

Mountain Climbers


Mountain climbers are an excellent cardiovascular exercise that strengthen deep core muscles which are necessary for maintaining proper posture while riding. On hectic days with little time to exercise, complete a few set before getting out of bed in the morning!

Starting with palms and toes both pressing into the floor and core pulled in tight, alternate bringing each knee to your chest. Movements should be done quickly, keeping your hips low while your knees lift high.

To Advance: add more repetitions to each set (beginning in increments of 5)

Walking Lunges
Begin by holding 5-10 pound hand weights in each hand. Keeping feet hip distance apart, step forward with your right leg, bending both knees and bringing your forward leg to a 90 degree angle. Push through your heal to bring both legs back to standing and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for 10 lunges on each leg.  This is a perfect leg strengthening exercise.  This will build strength and flexibility in your lower body for balance and endurance while in the saddle.

To Advance: Increase weight of hand weights
After completing all 3 sets an continue with an additional 10 minutes of light cardio to cool down followed by 10 minutes of simple stretching, as you did in the beginning.

Consistency is essential in maintaining lean muscle mass and strength.  Continue repeating the above workout once a week and add in advancements as each exercise becomes less challenging.  You’ll be both saddle ready and bathing suit ready in no time!


WikiHow – How to Do Lunges

Foundation 6:19 Workouts Mountain Climbers

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The Author:

Kelcie Reightler is a Registered Dietitian currently working as a Dietitian, Nutrition Team Lead and Pilates instructor for Life Time Fitness. She completed her Bachelors of Science at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2011; majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics. Kelcie went on to complete her Masters in Human Sciences as well as a Dietetic Internship through Texas A&M- Kingville. She began her certification to become a Pilates instructor 6 short months after getting hired at Life Time Fitness and fell in love with this restorative, recovery based exercise, that heals, strengthens and rejuvenates. Today, She is fortunate to have the opportunity to inspire action through the same integrative approach; to educate and heal through the power of food and movement. To create the connection between tangible and intangible, heart, soul and body, while providing the body with what it needs to live a life of longevity, vitality and livelihood.

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