Create Your Saddle Strong Back
An increase in the number of dates in our events diary can only mean the start of the competition season. Getting fitter
to ride can appear to involve a lot of time and effort but with a programme specially designed for riders, and one that can be carried out in the comfort of your living room, the Equestrian Athlete Plan will help you ride better due to your increased fitness.
“Whether you actively compete your horse or ride for pleasure, the fitter you are the more pleasure you will get from your riding. Improving the quality of your riding experience will also reduce those aches and pains and out of breath moments at the end of a cross country course or during a lesson.“
How To Create Your Saddle Strong Back
Recline Pull Ups
This is an excellent exercise for developing the upper body strength and endurance of any equestrian athlete. Strengthening
the muscles of the middle of the back and the front of the upper arm is vital for the equestrian athlete particularly on the
cross country course and on the hunting field. Position your feet hip width apart and lay back with your hips high and glutes
engaged. Pull yourself up, concentrating on the shoulder blades squeezing together. Keep your elbows tucked in. Lower
yourself down so the elbows straighten but make sure your glutes stay squeezed and the hips stay up.
This is another excellent postural exercise for The Equestrian Athlete. By training the hips and shoulders to work in synchrony, this helps with preventing lower back pain. Start with the knees under the hips and hands under the shoulders. Keeping the abdominals braced and the hips level, take the opposite hand and leg away from the body at the same speed. Keep the glutes squeezed and point the thumb towards the sky. The foot should not go any higher than the glutes and the hand no higher than the shoulder. Return to the start position, without touching the ground and repeat.
Eat for success
Having removed the unwanted toxins from your body it is now time to gradually re-introduce other foods.
This is not a calorie counting diet there are no shakes or green, blue or purple days. Within reason you select the serving sizes as you plan your meals but the main difference is that you are avoiding processed foods, E-numbers and other additives, while choosing from a selection of healthy and whole foods.
Foods to eat
Proteins – organic eggs, free range chicken/duck/turkey, grass fed beef, lamb, venison, wild fish, nuts and seeds.
Fresh fruit and vegetables – but don’t overload on the potatoes; sweet
potato is the best option here, along with brown rice and Quinoa. Fats including extra virgin olive oil, coconut
oil, organic butter, miscellaneous spices, sea salt and black pepper, and herbal teas.
It is important to get the balance of food types correct and Matt divides the food into two groups: alkaline and acid. Alkaline food groups include: vegetables, sprouting beans, nuts and seeds, some fruits, oils and grains, and beans; acid groups includes meats and proteins, fruit, oily nuts and seeds and sauces.
I suggest trying to eat alkaline foods 80% of the time and acid foods 20% of the time. It’s really easy once you see the list of the foods in the plan. Having acidic blood, with too much sugar in it is often a reason that muscle stiffness occurs earlier in the ride or takes longer to disappear after riding.
How many of us are addicted to sugary foods? It causes everything from rotting teeth to diabetes to poor brain function.
I strongly believe that the most effective exercises can easily be done at home, so why not make use of that space and save yourself the
gym membership? Make time by getting up 30 minutes earlier, preparing lunch the night before or watching less television.
‘Eggy Porridge’ Recipe for the busy and time crunched Equestrian Athlete.
Pop your oats in the pan, with your filtered water. Then crack in an egg or two and stir them in. Pop in the cinnamon and stir again. Now cook the porridge as you know best and continually stir. Sometimes I like to pop a few pumpkin seeds on top, just to reduce the acidity – in case you didn’t know, pumpkin seeds are alkaline, which will help your blood health.
Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan and The Hot to Trot Cookbook