Exercises to strengthen the muscles for horse riding

exercises strengthen muscles rider

In today's article we are going to talk about a topic that we already started with in the article on most common injuries when riding a horse: exercises to strengthen the muscles. For the rider it is very It is important to exercise to not only prevent soreness but also to prevent back or spine problems which can become chronic.

It is possible that on some occasion you have asked yourself why do I have soreness after riding a horse if I go for a run or ride a bicycle every day? The answer is that when riding a horse, a large number of muscles are exercised, but they are muscles that are not usually used too much in the day to day, neither when running, nor when riding a bicycle.

Do we know which exercises can help us and which areas should we work more?

When it comes to riding, it is necessary to have a well-trained musculature, it is not just getting on the horse without fear of falling and taking a walk. The riding posture itself requires good muscular endurance by the rider. In addition, it must be taken into account that the posture is not only important for the rider, but also for the horse and the communication between both. With good posture confidence is transmitted to the animal.

back exercises riders

When we talk about the posture of riding a fundamental physical part that must be worked on is the back. When practicing horseback riding, we develop quite a few muscles while the opposite to those we do not work them and therefore they do not develop otherwise we work them separately. What happens if we don't work them too? What the muscles become unbalanced leading to ailments and problems chronic back, also in joint blocks in the spine. These injuries are quite common among riders, therefore they must be prevented by increasing the muscle mass of all muscles. That is, you have to do a complete training, especially if you ride a horse very often.

It is also important to remember that before and after training you should warm up and stretch, respectively. In this way we will largely avoid shoelaces and possible injuries.

Stretching is also very interesting because with it we work on flexibility. In this sense we also want to remember that the practice of yoga postures is very beneficial. But we will talk about yoga later.

Another fundamental thing to keep in mind is that it is not enough to do muscle exercises, to be in good physical condition it is also necessary to aerobic exercise. 

aerobic exercise

Running, swimming, walking, cycling, etc. They are exercises where the body needs to burn carbohydrates and fats for energy and for this it needs oxygen. They are usually exercises of medium or low intensity and of long duration. With them, we exercise the cardiovascular system, we increase endurance and lung capacity. In addition, they help you lose weight.

horse riding exercises

It would be advisable to practice these types of exercises 3 times a week for half an hour. If you are going to start practicing aerobic exercise, a good recommendation is establish a routine, reserve a specific half hour in the 2 or 3 days that you establish. It is not necessary that at the beginning you do the 30 minutes of exercise, but the important thing is to establish the routine even if it is doing 5 - 10 minutes. You will increase the time as you build resistance.

Anaerobic exercise

Unlike the previous ones, they are exercises high intensity and short duration like doing weights, sprinting, and high-effort exercises in a short time. These exercises help toning and therefore strengthening the musculoskeletal system. 

When practicing these exercises, We recommend going to a gym or talking to a specialist to find out how to do them correctly and avoid muscle injuries. And important, Whenever pain is noticed, you have to stop and correct your posture or change exercises to work that area. since not all exercises work for all people equally.

There is a wide variety of exercises of this type. The choice of one or the other depends on the objective, on what you want to work on. And what do we need to work to ride a horse?

Work body posture: upper body.

To have a correct body posture when riding, we must do exercises that thoroughly work the abdomen and back area.

Al train the abdomen and strengthen it, we achieve that our back is less overloaded due to the weight of the spine, which is why it is one of the fundamental exercises.


There are different exercises to work your abs, so choose the one that best suits you, but yes, be sure to also work the oblique and lower abs. How? turning your legs. Alternate sets of sit-ups with your legs bent in the center, with your legs bent touching the ground to the right and then to the left. For the lower abdominals perform leg liftsFor this we recommend using a training bench.

If you go for classic abs, you must have Be careful not to strain the neck. If you are one of those who notice a very tense neck and even some discomfort after doing sit-ups, you can do them with amestradores:

abdominal trainer

The ideal is to carry out series of 30-50 sit-ups each. You can start with 3 series that work each type of abdominal. Namely: 3 series of obliques, 3 series of inferiors and 3 series of superiors. The time does not matter so much as marking a number of series to perform. Between each series you have to rest between 30 seconds and 1 minute.

Another alternative is to perform other types of abdominal exercises like the following one that works the abdominal area, especially the oblique abdominals.

oblique abs

And without a doubt, my favorite: the plates. We roll onto our stomachs, support our toes and forearms at shoulder height, and rise up. The legs, back and head should be aligned. Push your belly button up and hold the pose between 15 seconds and a half minute, rest 1 minute and repeat. Do several sets.

Note that with the plates, in addition to the abdominal area, we work shoulders, arms, back, chest and hips and legs although to a lesser extent. As you can see it is a very complex exercise that can be alternated between sets of crunches to achieve good body work.

In the following video you can see some recommendations to carry out this exercise:

Back and arms

To exercise your back, it is advisable to go to the gym to work with the machines, which make the exercises easier to perform and avoid excess tension in the muscles.

In many exercises where we work the back, we are strengthening the arms at the same time. We are talking about exercises such as pulleys, weights or rubber bands or elastic bands.

We must be aware of work the upper, middle and lower back area. The pulley exercises they are highly recommended in this regard. It would be necessary to carry out sets of several repetitions with a moderate weight, we want to strengthen our muscles to ride horses not to do bodybuilding. What we are looking for is increase the resistance and flexibility of our muscles. 

A proper back workout may consist of 3 sets of 15 repetitions in each zone from the back, with 30 second breaks between repetition.

Other recommended exercises and in which it is no longer necessary to go to the gym are those that we can perform with dumbbells, barbells and elastic bands. With all the options we work balance in addition to strengthening our muscles by gaining resistance.

Un good exercise with rubber bands is to emulate rowing. We sit with our legs straight, we place the rubber on our feet and we pull our arms towards our abdomen.

Rowing, well practiced at home with rubber bands or on the gym machine, it is a highly recommended exercise to work your back, since works both the upper and middle zones. Tones and develops muscular and cardiovascular endurance. We can dedicate around 15 minutes to each session.

How much time should you dedicate to anaerobic exercises?

The ideal would be 4 days a week, establishing a routine in which we work lower body one day, the next upper body and one day off to start over with the lower body, the next day the upper body and rest. Every working day, the upper or lower body is trained the ideal is to do sit-ups and aerobic exercise as well. Thus, on rest days the whole body is allowed to rest.

The Rest days are essential because that way we help our muscles grow. 

Each work day, in total we should dedicate to exercise between an hour and an hour and a half. That we can increase as we take shape and resistance.

Working the lower body

A good way to work our legs without even realizing it is to stop using the elevator from our house, our parents' house, friends, work, university, etc. Let's take the stairs! Going up and down stairs is an exercise that we can practice at any time the opportunity arises, that is the great advantage.

Other exercises are to perform squats, lunges, or foot lifts as we recommended a while ago in this leg exercises article.

To all this, we want to add a exercise for a very important area to ride a horse and that we only work if we specifically propose to do so: the inner thighs.

Riding, the function of the abductor muscles is to hold on to the horse. Therefore a training of this part of the leg will help us increase this grip capacity. Also like this we will avoid the pain that occurs in the inner part of the hips after a while without riding.

A good exercise is to do pressure to a ball between our legs. The ball should be about 30-35 centimeters. Sit on the edge of a chair that leaves your legs at a 90º angle, that is, that allows you to perfectly support your feet on the floor. Place the ball between your legs and squeeze for 15 seconds and release allowing you to rest a bit. Repeat the exercise 3-4 times depending on your endurance. Little by little, increase the repetitions up to 10 and then begin to increase the seconds of endurance up to 30.

As we have been saying with the upper body, you have to choose some exercises, establish a series for each one and design your routine. Remembering warm up at the beginning and stretch at the end of each work session. 

Approximately a session of about 40 minutes can be good to train our legs completely.


Yoga practice at least twice a week helps us to stretch the whole body and relax itAlso It favors the balance and the work of the posture of our body. 

yoga postures

In addition, there are specific exercises that can help us, such as stretching at the end of aerobic or anaerobic exercises, to avoid ailments. Some examples are:

Posture for the estanger of inner thighs and groin

In addition, among many other benefits, we strengthen the knees.

Sitting on the floor and with our legs extended to the front, we put the soles of our feet together and bring them as close to our torso as possible. Trying not to curve the spine, we hold our feet with our hands and hold the posture for a few seconds, observing how the area we are working on is stretched.

Postures to stretch your back

We get on all fours, put our feet together and sit on them while stretching our arms.

In the mountain pose (standing, feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders back, and gazing straight ahead), we place one hand on top of the other parallel to the body and raise them above our head with an inspiration. We release them by stretching our arms as far as possible towards the sky while holding our breath. And we lower our arms, opening them in a circle backwards as much as possible while we exhale.

There are a multitude of beneficial postures, just look for those that stretch the part of the body that you are going to work previously!

Throughout this article we have compiled a large number of exercises, this does not mean that we have to practice them all, but rather choose the ones we like the most or with which we are most comfortable and establish a routine in which we exercise 4 days a week around an hour and a half. So… Cheer up!

exercise muscles for horseback riding

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.

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