Polo is a full-body workout. In order to feel confident in the saddle, you need strength, balance, and stamina. Despite we are going through a quarantine, we could still train without riding. The following home-based exercises can improve your riding and overall fitness. And the best thing about them is that you don’t need any equipment, just your bodyweight and motivation.
Many riders make the mistake of focusing on the horse’s movements instead of theirs. The way your body is positioned impacts the forces going through the saddle, which influences how the horse moves. A lack of core stability leads to excessive movement in the saddle, which hinders communication with your horse. Plus, an unbalanced body generates asymmetry in the saddle, which can result in low back pain, stiffness, as well as other discomforts. Thus, core exercises are essential for developing a better riding position and improving rider symmetry. Having more control over your own body, make you able to deliver a clear message to your horse. The better you’re able to use your body, the better your horse will respond.
Here you have our recommendations of home-based exercises for polo players that will boost your fitness level and give you confidence in the saddle:
- Plank (& variations): One of the simplest and most effective bodyweight exercises. Practiced regularly, it will help you build a strong and secure core for riding.
- Push-ups: very simple, yet very difficult exercise. Same as with the plank, proper form is key.
- Squats: the good old squat can work wonders for your riding. They also help improve balance and stability.
- Calf raises: help to improve ankle strength, flexibility, and stability, all of which are essential for good leg position while riding.
- Bicycle crunches: help keep you strong when twisting in the saddle.
- Opposite arm & leg reach: This full-body exercise helps improve posture, balance, coordination, stability, and hip mobility.
As you may see, all these exercises could be done at home, at any part of the day, alone or with some companion. Horses are waiting to you to come back soon!