Hey, Camp Fans!
With a fast-approaching camp season, Everything Summer Camp wants to help out. That’s why we’re giving tips on fitness for your camper every Monday in April. Camp is fun, but the activities can be strenuous—lots of camps will actually refuse a camper if they haven’t had a thorough physical examination to guarantee that their body is well enough in shape for the rough and tumble lifestyle at summer camp.
Last week I talked about general stretches and exercises you can do to help get yourself into shape for traditional camp sports and activities that will involve a lot of stamina, flexibility, and strength. But today’s post is all about conditioning your body specifically for horseback riding.
Of course, riding is a work out in itself, but the best way to develop your equestrian ability is to work on your fitness outside of the saddle. Here are five effective exercises to help build your core strength and suitability for riding. Watch the video at the bottom of this post to get a great visualization on how to perform these exercises. Experienced riders recommend 8-12 repetitions of each workout:
Seated Ball Squeeze
Work your inner thigh muscles by sitting on a chair, placing a kickball/soccer ball between your thighs, and squeezing the ball firmly for 5 to 10 seconds. This exercise builds your adductors—critical muscles for horseback riding.
Bridge with Ball Squeeze
This exercise is meant to strengthen a rider’s inner thighs, gluteus, and core muscles. The idea is to lie on your back and bend your knees with or without a ball between your thighs—then lift your buttocks off the floor and squeeze the ball. You should hold this position for 8 to 15 seconds.
Excellent conditioning for the proper seat, this exercise works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, abdominal muscles, and spinal erector muscles in your back. You can do practice this exercise with or without dumbbells in your hands. You should stand upright with your feet together and then take a large stride forward with your right foot until your left light is just about straight. Push yourself back to the starting position. And then repeat with your left foot.
Skater Style Lateral Lunge
For further conditioning, this exercise will have you looking like a speed skater. Stand with your feet wide apart and bend your right knee while touching your right foot with your left hand. Your back should be flat and your head up.
Lastly, give everything a once-over with this all-encompassing exercise. Simply stand with your feet at shoulder-width apart and, with your back straight and head up, bend at the knees until your thighs are nearly parallel to the ground. Then push yourself back up.
Check out this video to get a clearer ‘picture’ of how to perform these exercises. Be sure to tune in next Monday when I’ll be talking about how to prepare yourself for Rockwall Climbing and, as always, thanks for reading!