Most Equestrian Athletes Make These Mistakes – Part 2

 

Hey

 

As promised here are the second 4 of the 8 biggest mistakes I see equestrians making when trying to get fit on and off the horse.
 

Without any delay……

     

  1. Many riders surround themselves with negative people.

 

This is a massive one! If you spend time with people who are constantly moaning about their circumstances, how they feel, how hard life is, they will drag you down.
 

This is especially true in the equestrian world, with the long hours, the miserable weather conditions (well in the UK); you need to be in a positive frame of mind!

 

6.A lack of time? Or Time management?
 

Its true, I see it everyday here at my personal training studio, located at my parents yard.
 

My sister is up and in full flow, doing her jobs at the crack of dawn.
 

She still finds time to train.
 

She actually does the equestrian athlete plan for 20-30 mins prior to work and tells me it sets her up for the day.
 

 

I might try and get her on video at some point, just to let you know how she fits it in.
 

It’s become really simple for her now, she just gets up a bit earlier and gets it done.
 

This will make you more productive and ultimately make you a stronger rider.
 

7.Too frequently riders think skipping breakfast will help them be more productive on and off the horse!
 

Many equestrian athletes are still under the misconception that skipping a meal is great for keeping weight down.
 

It’s actually the opposite.
 

This is particularly the case when missing breakfast. Your body and your metabolism want to kick start in the morning and if you deprive it of the fuel it needs it will store the next meal you feed it as fat stores. It will go into protection mode and then you will consume more calorie dense foods later in the day.
 

You should be eating nutrient dense foods in the morning.
 

It can be as simple as organic greek/goats yoghurt, almonds and blueberries.
 

8.Too many equestrian athletes are doing sit ups.
 

By doing a sit up, you are not going to give yourself the specific core strength you need on your horse. The action of a traditional sit up, means that the hip flexors (on the front of the hip) get tight and actually pull your pelvis forward. This will result in an increased lordosis (arch in lower back), which is commonly associated with lower back pain, a complaint often found in the equestrian athlete.
 

So you need to be concentrating on core exercises that encourage proper glute activation and core strength, allowing you to keep a great posture and position in the saddle.

 

So there you have it. The second part of the Most Common Mistakes Made By The Equestrian Athlete Plan.

 

Please make sure you are not the next one to do this.

 

If you would like me to help you, The Equestrian Athlete Plan, offers you the solution.

 

Matt
 

p.s. Here is one of the videos of our Mobility Circuit that we use with our clients both online and here at the studio. It really helps with helping the suppleness of our clients in and out of the saddle.

The Mistakes Most Riders Make- (part 2)

 

Hey

 

As promised here are the second 4 of the 8 biggest mistakes I see equestrians making when trying to get fit on and off the horse.
 

Without any delay……

     

  1. Many riders surround themselves with negative people.

 

This is a massive one! If you spend time with people who are constantly moaning about their circumstances, how they feel, how hard life is, they will drag you down.
 

This is especially true in the equestrian world, with the long hours, the miserable weather conditions (well in the UK); you need to be in a positive frame of mind!

 

6.A lack of time? Or Time management?
 

Its true, I see it everyday here at my personal training studio, located at my parents yard.
 

My sister is up and in full flow, doing her jobs at the crack of dawn.
 

She still finds time to train.
 

She actually does the equestrian athlete plan for 20-30 mins prior to work and tells me it sets her up for the day.
 

 

I might try and get her on video at some point, just to let you know how she fits it in.
 

It’s become really simple for her now, she just gets up a bit earlier and gets it done.
 

This will make you more productive and ultimately make you a stronger rider.
 

7.Too frequently riders think skipping breakfast will help them be more productive on and off the horse!
 

Many equestrian athletes are still under the misconception that skipping a meal is great for keeping weight down.
 

It’s actually the opposite.
 

This is particularly the case when missing breakfast. Your body and your metabolism want to kick start in the morning and if you deprive it of the fuel it needs it will store the next meal you feed it as fat stores. It will go into protection mode and then you will consume more calorie dense foods later in the day.
 

You should be eating nutrient dense foods in the morning.
 

It can be as simple as organic greek/goats yoghurt, almonds and blueberries.
 

8.Too many equestrian athletes are doing sit ups.
 

By doing a sit up, you are not going to give yourself the specific core strength you need on your horse. The action of a traditional sit up, means that the hip flexors (on the front of the hip) get tight and actually pull your pelvis forward. This will result in an increased lordosis (arch in lower back), which is commonly associated with lower back pain, a complaint often found in the equestrian athlete.
 

So you need to be concentrating on core exercises that encourage proper glute activation and core strength, allowing you to keep a great posture and position in the saddle.

 

So there you have it. The second part of the Most Common Mistakes Made By The Equestrian Athlete Plan.

 

Please make sure you are not the next one to do this.

 

If you would like me to help you, The Equestrian Athlete Plan, offers you the solution.

 

Matt

p.s. Here is one of the videos of our Mobility Circuit that we use with our clients both online and here at the studio. It really helps with helping the suppleness of our clients in and out of the saddle.

Most Equestrians Make These Mistakes

8 Fitness Blunders The Equestrian Athlete is Making.

 

Hi

 

Hope you are well.

 

As promised here are the 8 things I most commonly see most equestrian athletes doing wrong in pursuit of fitness on and off the horse.


 

It actually all seems to start with The New Year/New Season when celebrities are publicising their workout DVD.

 

Please forgive me , but I must have missed the bit where they became Health and Exercise professionals, let alone equestrian specific training specialists.

 

This is what is holding many people back from getting in great shape for riding.

 

It comes back to the plan not being specific.

 

Here are 8 of them!

 

  1. Failing to realise the benefit of resistance training and understanding that weights burn calories and don’t make you bulky. Believe me; you will not create a firm, strong and fit riding specific body if you shy away from resistance training.

    Remember it does not have to be a 100Kg squat or Bench press. It can be purely bodyweight.

    We actually put together the whole Equestrian Athlete Plan based on workouts that can be done entirely at home with very limited equipment. 

  2. Many riders are under the misconception that they will get bulky if they use weights.

    It is very hard to put on huge amounts of muscle mass without doing the appropriate weights, sets, rest and exercise combinations and also coupled with this eating vastamounts of anabolic (muscle building) substances.

    I don’t mean illegal substances, just the right combination of supplements. Remember that if you are female, you need to increase you testosterone levels by 40 times if you want to have similar levels to a male. 

  3. Too many long runs are great for shaping you into a skinny fat person.

    Many a time, I hear riders ’Oh I went for 5 runs, all of which were well over 50 minutes. Well guess what, you probably just burnt all the muscle you had, and with that went your metabolic rate, that was burning fat at rest. This muscle is what you need to be strong in the saddle!

    Providing that you have less than chronic levels of stress in your life, high intensity intervals is the most optimal way to achieve efficient equestrian specific fitness, health results.

    Remember without health you cannot perform. This is exactly why we have included ‘The Hot to Trot Nutritional Plan’ in The Equestrian Athlete Plan.

    This will preserve muscle mass, making you stronger in the saddle, elevate your metabolism giving you more energy both in and out of the saddle. 

  4. How well does the ’DVD Celebrity Trainer’ know the equestrian athletes needs?

    The last time I checked, Davina McCall would have been awesome at counting calories, but I am not sure about her exercise and programme design skills!

    Let alone their ability to strengthen the correct muscles for the equestrian athlete.


    Ok, I will bring you the next 4 in the next email plus I will include for you a session direct from The Equestrian Athlete Plan.


    If you have any questions please feel free to pop me an email (info@fa-fitness.co.uk)


    Matt 

    Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan and The Hot to Trot Cookbook.

The Equestrian Athlete Plan – Why I Wrote It For You

Hey,

 

I hope today is going well for you.

 

I just wanted to say thanks for popping over and downloading your free copy of The Equestrian Emergency.
 
Incase you haven’t seen yet, I wanted you to know why I then went on to write the most comprehensive training and nutrition plan for riders available world wide.

 

The Equestrian Athlete Plan.

 


 

So what was my inspiration behind the 8 week no stone unturned programme that is specific for riders?

 

Having come from a back ground of equestrianism, it is in my blood.

 

My grandfather was a farrier, who later trained my father. My mother and father taught both my sister and I to ride from the minute we could walk, in fact I think I almost learnt to ride before I could walk.

 

The whole of my family has ridden at various levels and competed in various forms of equestrian, including hunting, race riding, dressage, show jumping, showing, eventing and social riding. As you can probably guess I have spent a lot of time in and around the equestrian scene including competing in tetrathalon into my teen years.

 

As I have moved into my professional career as one of the UK’s leading fitness and health professionals, it really is no surprise that I have been able to work so successfully with my equestrian athlete’s, we have that connection.

 

I understand them far better than most.

 

What has really bothered me up to now is that equestrian has not had the recognition as a serious sport that it deserves. It is because of this attitude that the equestrian athlete (EA) has been left to do generic exercise classes and DVD’s, in a one size fits all approach. This really got to me.

 

I bet this has annoyed you , if it hasn’t yet you are probably one of the lucky ones that hasn’t been subjected to “one size fits all approach” that normally puts most EA’s off of exercise.

 

I want to do something about it, so that EA’s all over the world don’t have to put up with this any longer.

 

To date this is working, we now have people doing The Equestrian Athlete Plan in Australia, Dubai, America, Ecuador, all over Europe, Ireland and in South Africa.

 

The equestrian field is now ready to break the tradition and culture of ‘get fit to ride by riding’. Where people have tried before and failed, this time with such a holistic approach to the equestrian athlete we will approach it in a very different light.

 

We are now ready to integrate resistance training with Pilates, interval training with mobility and postural strengthening with core stability. With all of this underpinned with a nutritional plan and a support network, this book is really going to take things to the next level.

 

No fitness professional up to now has developed such a holistic approach to training the EA. Sure some people have developed programmes for riders or written articles but none that actually address their requirements fully!

 

The culture among equestrian has been Pilates and yoga, and there is nothing wrong with Pilates and yoga, in fact there is an element of the EAP that has Pilates style exercises integrated within it. But remember that these modalities are just tools, and what makes these effective, is the way in which the tool is used to produce the results.

 

Equestrian sport is in a very exciting place right now. It does not matter whether you will be heading to the Olympics or not (some of you will), you will want to enjoy your time with your horse just as much. To be riding fit has to be the dream of every equestrian athlete.

 

I wanted to give something back to a community of fantastic people who share one common passion, their horses. I cannot wait to work with you.

 

Have a great day,

 

Matt

 

p.s. If you would like to get a copy of The Equestrian Athlete Plan today, I will give you a free copy of my Snack Attack book that is ideal for the busy equestrian athlete.


Improving The Equestrian Athlete’s Energy with 10 Simple Nutritional Tips

Improving The Equestrian Athlete’s Energy with 10 Simple Nutritional Tips.  

  Fighting the fatigue of long cold winters days and a lack of sunlight is a battle for many in the UK. For those of us involved in the equestrian world its no different infact, we get it rougher as we are “out in it” when most people are inside! To be honest I would rather be out there than inside!   We cannot ignore nutrition when it comes to our horses, so neither should we when it concerns our own performance. Particularly as this has such an effect on our response times, our muscle balance and risk of injury.

 

When the digestive organs are not functioning properly they can switch off the abdominal muscles via viscerosomatic reflex’s resulting in a loss of core stability. As you know this is crucial for maintaining posture and seat position regardless of the discipline you compete in.   Poor digestive organ function can also lead to constipation which itself can directly cause low back pain as the fecal matter pushes against the lumbar spine and sacrum. Improving digestive organ function is vital in eliminating back pain!! The very nature of the sport already places huge demands on the lower back, why compound it with a poor nutritional plan, you wouldn’t knowingly do it to your horse would you.   

 

How to Improve Digestion  

1) Never eat when stressed. So don’t watch TV, ESPECIALLY the news, or read newspapers as they are full of doom and gloom. Also if you eat when stressed it takes longer for the Food Reward Mechanism to kick in.   The Food Reward Mechanism lets you know when you’ve eaten enough food. If you eat when stressed it takes longer to kick in, resulting in you eating more and causing more Gastro intestinal (GI) distress.

2) Avoid alcohol as it irritates the GI tract and contributes to leaky gut syndrome setting you up for food intolerances.

3) Avoid drinking coffee and other stimulants before eating as they stimulate the fight or flight response which inhibits digestion.

4) Drink ½ to 1 pint of water with a pinch of organic sea salt or pink Himalayan crystal salt about 15-30 minutes before eating. This will ensure you produce adequate hydrochloric acid and ensure food is digested properly in the stomach.

5) Eat more live (raw) foods such as salads and fruit as they contain enzymes beneficial to digestion.

6) Soak nuts and seeds in water over night, as they contain substances called phyates that inhibited digestive enzymes and stop minerals beings absorbed. They also contain lectins that can increase the permeability of your intestinal barrier resulting in leaky gut and food intolerances.

7) Chew your food thoroughly-drink your food. This ensures that the first part of the digestive process has been done correctly, making the rest of the process easier.

8) Eliminate or at least limit your consumption of dried foods.

9) Soak grains 12-24 hours before cooking them, just like nuts and seeds they contain phyates and lectins, that inhibited digestive enzymes and stop minerals beings absorbed and increase the permeability of your intestinal barrier resulting in leaky gut and food intolerances.

10) Avoid foods that you are sensitive or allergic to. The most common food allergens are yeast, wheat and dairy.

 

There you have it 10 simple tips to help you keep your nutrition in order of the winter months to keep your energy high and keep your riding performance.

 

Yours In Health Fitness and Happiness ,

 

Matt Luxton

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan

Voted The UK’s Most Innovative Fitness Entrepreneur 2012

Tessa’s South African Riding Experience

Here is a great story about how becoming fit to ride opened up an opportunity of a lifetime. Not only did it open it up but it also made the whole experience a great one.
I asked Tessa to email him some photo’s and do a short write up about her recent trip to South Africa,
In Tessa’s words…….so hear it goes!!
It all started when I received a random email about 5 months ago from a lady called Louise Carlsen claiming to be the owner of a company called Limpopo Valley Horse Safari’s in Botswana, South Africa. She was asking if I would be interested in coming out to Botswana to coach herself, her husband Cor and some of their staff (safari guides) in return for a free horse riding safari. I nearly deleted the email (so glad I didn’t :) ) for many reason’s.
  • I wasn’t sure if the email was real (I could be picked up by anyone in Johannesburg airport and not be seen again!?!)
  • Could I go off on holiday without my husband and 2 children? (guilt factor)
  • Haven’t travelled on my own for 18 yrs and certainly not that far!!
  • Who would look after my horses while I was away?
  • And numerous other small things that I randomly worried about!!!!
It was actually my husband Phil that persuaded me to go and even paid my air fare ( maybe be he was trying to get rid of me??!!!) He felt it was a great opportunity and if I didn’t go I would regret it (how right was he ,only we won’t tell him that bit!!!)
So I caught a bus from Exeter to Heathrow, plane to Johannesburg, mini bus then 4×4 open top jeep to Botswana. Approx 28 hrs door to door!
I then spent the next 9 days having the most amazing time with some lovely people. We rode for 6/8 hrs  a day starting at 5.30am most days as the weather was hot 28′c ( much needed sunshine after the summer we’ve had!) Riding through the beautiful Africa bush in the middle of nowhere, on lovely horses seeing the most incredible wildlife exactly as they should be seen ‘in the wild!’ Cantering the horses with a herd of giraffe was one incredible moment I will never forget (still can’t believe I did that :) ) spotting a leopard about 30m from us whilst riding up a dry river bed (slightly scary) watching two male elephants from about 40m at a watering hole.
Being woken up by lions roaring 200m outside camp ( definitely gave me goose bumps!) Spending 2 nights sleeping outside under the stars (can’t do that in this country without waking up feeling very damp or soaked to the skin!!!) Drinking a very large G&T after being made to climb up some large rocks and along a very narrow ledge to see the most incredible view and sunset (it was worth the climb but I don’t do heights, not even step ladders, so it was a BIG thing for me to free climb!!). We also went on some fantastic game drives, this enabled us to get closer still, as on a horse you do resemble lunch! (sometimes as close as 3m)  to elephants, lions, leopards, jackal, hyena, giraffe.
At the end of the week when I had to work and do some teaching/coaching, I was still treated like a guest and had great fun helping some really lovely people improve their riding ability and confidence particularly show jumping.It really didn’t feel like work and each evening I was taken back to camp to enjoy another stunning 3 course meal ( I don’t know how she could cook such lovely food on a camp fire) with the other guest’s. So if I had ignored that email or wimped out I really would have missed out on an amazing time. Louise and Cor also want me to go back to do some more teaching, so I’ll get to do it all again!!
Even though I ride horses every day and am therefore fairly riding fit I don’t think I would have been fit enough to cope with 6/8 hrs in the saddle without any stiffness at all without Matt’s help in improving my riding fitness and core strength over the past 15 months, so thanks Matt!
And to everyone else if you get the chance to do something you wouldn’t normally do or think you shouldn’t do because of all the crap that ties us down, GO FOR IT!, you won’t regret it and life’s too short!
All the best, 
Tessa Henwood BHSI(regd)
What a fantastic story and hopefully this will inspire some people to go for it and take the opportunities that are presented to them.
Have a great day,
Matt
Voted The UK’s Most Innovative Fitness Entrepreneur 2012

Creating Your Saddle Strong Back

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.

 

Spidermans

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.

 

Enjoy :)

Matt

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan and The Hot to Trot Cookbook

Rider Fitness | Developing Riding Fit Legs


Planning for Success

 

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.

 

The exercises are designed to be worked in the home environment but as with all things in life you only get back what you put in. As the workouts are shorter this enables the rider to make the most of the time allocated to their training session and psychologically it becomes both more manageable and achievable. This is in turn creates an increased feeling of self-control and the ability to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. ‘Sticking to it’ and not being distracted will yield phenomenal results.

 

1. Ankle Stretch

 

This is an excellent stretch for the equestrian athlete because of thecompression caused by having your foot in the stirrup and pressing theball of the foot on thestirrup iron. Just place the outside toes on the floor and allow the front of the foot to got towards the ground. This will stretch the front of the ankles.

Ankle Stretch for Equestrian Athletes

Rider Fitness- Ankle Stretch

 

2. Split Squats

 

  1. Stand up straight with your hands on your hips, shoulders pushed down.
  2. Step forward with your one leg, taking a slightly larger than normal step.
  3. Then lower your body until the front thigh is parallel to the ground (only go half way if you find this
  4. too hard).
  5. The back knee should be bent and lowered to the ground but don’t let it touch.
  6. Keep your upper body upright position at all times by contracting your glutes and abs.
  7. Repeat this ten times then change legs.
Rider Fitness - Split Squats, The Equestrian Athlete

Rider Fitness - Split Squats

The Split Squat for The Equestrian Athlete, Rider Fitness

Rider Fitness - The Split Squat

 

3. Tube Walks

 

  1. Take the band and place it under the soles of the feet, ideally under the arches
  2. Start with the feet hip width apart.  Lift leg as if lifting over a match box, pushing the leg away from the body
  3. Then lift the trail leg in exactly the same manner, so you are back at the start position
  4. Keep the knees slightly flexed throughout.
Leg & Hip Strength for The Equestrian Athlete, Rider Fitness

Rider Fitness - Leg and Hip Strength

 

4. Hip Ups

 

  1. Lay on your back with your hands out wide with your palms facing up in the air.
  2. Your back is flat on the ground, Knees bent and feet slightly apart but also flat.
  3. Push the top of your back into the ground, whilst at the same time squeezing your glutes (bum) and push your hips up into the air.
  4. Ensure the emphasis is on squeezing your bum rather than just lifting your hips.
  5. Raise up until your shoulders, hips and knees are in line.
  6. Hold for 2 seconds at the top before and lowering.
  7. Return to the start position and repeat.

 

The Hip Up for The Equestrian Athlete, Rider Fitness

Rider Fitness - The Hip Up

 

 

By using exercises that open up the hip and lengthen the short hip flexors (on the front of the hip) you will develop

and maintain excellent hip mobility. Also, by mobilising the ankle joint you will lessen the compression in the joint.

Short hip flexors and ankles that are compressed cause lower back pain and reduce leg strength. This is so important

to all Equestrian Athletes, due to the Range Of Movement needed about the ankle for rising or sitting trot, canter and

for that matter every phase and transition.

Have a great day and enjoy your riding by being fit to ride.

My Best

 

Matt

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan

 

 

 

Rider Fitness | Warming Up

Getting Started – Warm up

Every equestrian athlete regardless of their level should be using a dynamic warm up.

Not only to minimise the risk of injury but also to improve the quality

of experience for themselves and their horse.

Rider fitness has been something I have been very lucky to come into contact with

and the dynamic exercises that we use to mobilise the major muscles and joints have

certainly helped our riders.

Below I have put 3 exercises that you can use as part of your pre riding routine. I would suggest using ten repetitions of each exercise, for up to 5 minutes or until you feel suitably warm. Give them a go.

Dynamic warm Up

 

These 3 exercises are excellent mobility exercises prior to riding.

 

Vertical Woodchops

Vertical Woodchop for rider fitness

Rider Fitness - Vertical Woodchop

Vertical Woodchop for rider fitness - 2

Rider Fitness - Vertical Woodchop

Start with the feet shoulder with apart. Keep the arms straight. Squat, keeping the back straight and the hips back,  and take the arms inside the knees. Stand tall squeezing the glutes together

Repeat for 10 repetitions.

 

Rotational Woodchops

Rider fitness, rotational woodchop

Rider Fitness - Rotational Woodchop

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart keeping your elbows soft. You should then have a 90 degree pivot with trailing leg, the Planted foot stays facing forwards. Hands stay in line with sternum and rotate 180 degrees. Engage the core throughout. Repeat for 10 repetitions

 

 

Diagonal Woodchops

Rider Fitness - Diagonal Chop

Rider Fitness - Diagonal Chop

Perform a squat motion keeping your knees and toes in line. Rotate on the opposite toe to the side you reach down. Hands to outside of knee. Stand up with diagonal chop across body, your Hands finish in line with head. Keep a Tall posture throughout the 180 degree rotation. Repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.

 

So there you have it 3 very simple exercises that you can use to help in your warm up before riding and your training.

These exercises have served those clients who I work with daily to help with their riding fitness to achieve the best they can on their horse regardless of their level of competition or recreation.

Have a great day,

Matt

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan

Photo credits to Karen Wilton.

 

Rider Fitness | The Sleepy Equestrian Athlete

 

It DOES affect YOUR Riding Performance!

You spend 1/3 of your life doing it? I would say then that this ‘thing’ is pretty damn important!

You can get good quality sleep or poor quality sleep.

You can influence the quality of sleep you get.

 

Why Sleep Is Important For All Equestrian Athletes

Inadequate sleep has been linked with insulin resistance and poor blood sugar management.

Remember this one of the primary reasons that exercise is so effective for performance and also fat loss.

An interval based approach like that in the Equestrian Athlete Plan (EAP), that minimises cortisol levels

after training is what works so well for my  equestrian clientele.

Elevated cortisol levels due to excessive long steady state exercise are a primary reason for many equestrian athletes entering the world of ‘no results’ and becoming disillusioned by ANOTHER GENERIC training programme!!!

Good Quality Sleep

Good Quality Sleep

In 2001, at the Annual scientific meeting of the American Diabetes Association, researchers demonstrated that poor sleep lead to increased blood sugar levels, higher cortisol levels (stress hormone), poor satiety and fat gain! These same researchers found that those who slept for 7.5-8.5 hours produced 50% less cortisol and insulin than those who slept for longer. The knock on effect for any equestrian athlete, regardless of competition level or recreational frequency, is that excess weight takes its toll when you are essentially in an unnatural position (on a horse).

The only time you really want your cortisol levels to be high, are in and around training, because your brain needs the cortisol to function. One of the reasons the Hot to Trot Nutritional Plan (that comes with the EAP)  is having great success with reducing cortisol is because we deal with the problem of excess sugar in the diet straight away. But in order for the total stress to be reduced I ask all my equestrian clientele to get to bed by 10pm 5 nights per week.

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to achieve performance, fat loss and well being is to neglect their sleep. I wish health, well being, performance and fat loss were as simple as move more, eat less! I would have created a programme and sold it to millions of people by now. Unfortunately anyone who tells you this has been living in a cave for a long time!!

 

Cave Man

Cave Man

Hormones have a major role to play in the reduction of body fat, as part of an exercise and nutritional strategy. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production and sleep go hand in hand with recovery from exercise and mental stimulation. There are other key hormones involved such as testosterone, oestrogen and cortisol (mentioned earlier), but I will save them for a latter article.

Firstly, it is important to understand what a hormone is. According to the Collins dictionary online,

a chemical substance produced in an endocrine gland and transported in the blood to a certain tissue, on which it has a specific effect

It is also important for us to understand their individual roles within the body. HGH is produced in the pituitary gland and is sent to the liver to where IGF-1 is produced. IGF-1 (insulin like growth hormone) is required to repair cells, aid brain function and enzyme production and improve bone strength.  This substance is mostly produced during the early hours of sleep (between 10pm and 2am), hence why getting to bed by 10pm most nights of the week is so important. Shippen and Fryer (2007) attributed the decreased speed of healing and brain function to a decline, in middle age, of IGF-1 production. Hence a good night’s sleep often results in a more alert rider and better performance in and out of the saddle.

To stimulate HGH production you should first of all increase load bearing exercise. This doesn’t have to be extreme weight lifting but you need to use weight, which incidentally can be your own! This action will help to increase calcium production in the bones leading to increased bone density.

Net result is increased human growth hormone. Oh and by doing this you will more than likely reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis or at least delay the process. Increased HGH is linked with performance, that why athletes use it (illegally) to gain an athletic advantage over their competitors. You don’t need to inject it; you can just follow a few simple principles and boost it naturally.

 

1.       Exercise for  up to 30 minutes per day (3-5 x per week), with anything that is load bearing. Resistance training is best as it stimulates our bones to lay down calcium. In combination with some aerobic exercise to reduce body fat , this will help us to minimise oestrogen storage (this is where our fat is stored).The pull of the muscles on the bones at the tendon attachments helps to improve tendon and connective tissue strength, which helps in the prevention of injury.

2.       Secondly we can reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption as these are known nutrient robbers!  Law et al (1991) reported higher incidences of osteoporosis and hip fractures for those who consume alcohol and smoke. This is due to a loss of calcium, which is excreted in the urine (Rezvani et al, 1991). From an exercise point of view calcium is hugely important in the muscle contractions that lead to the shortening (concentric) phase of the muscle action. If this chemical reaction is being inhibited, you will decrease the speed of movement achieved, thus reducing the total reps you achieve before failure and the effectiveness of your workout. Some research does suggest that you can add a small amount of caffeine pre workout in the form of black coffee to increase stimulation and alertness, but I suggest just cutting out the crap! I wake up every morning feeling awesome; I put it down to not eating rubbish before bed! Oh and these little tips below.

 

Here’s 3 More Things You Can Do To Help Improve Sleep.

-          Supplement with Zinc / Magnesium-

The zinc will help with muscle repair and regeneration, whilst the magnesium will help with muscle relaxation.  I recommend that all of my riders take this to help relax the over worked back muscles at night. Try taking this two hours before bed. If you want more information on where to get these please feel free to email me .

-          Lummi Light- I have one of these and waking up to the natural light particularly in the dark months will help to make you feel alert when you wake. So then you don’t feel like you need a pair of matchsticks to keep your eyes open first thing!

-          Pre Bed Snack- I know I know all the literature says that you shouldn’t eat food before bed as this will get stored as fat. Well if you are struggling to sleep, try snacking on peanut butter/almond butter with raw carrot/celery. A lot of people suffer with poor sleep due to low blood sugar levels, as the insulin response from food intake actually helps you to sleep. It’s also worth noting that banana’s (high sugar) contain tryptophan that helps with sleep.

 

Ok that’s it from me for today.

Have a great evening.

Matt :)

Author of The Equestrian Athlete Plan