Is strength training necessary to improve rider fitness?

It is common for riders of any discipline to be unsure if they should include strength based training into their riding routine. After all, equestrians are busy by nature and adding training into the mix is just ‘another’ thing to add to a long arduous day. Plus mucking out and hauling hay and water makes you fit and strong – you lead an active lifestyle, right?

Well strength doesn’t always mean brute strength; strength and integrity of posture, of strength endurance and the strength in a range of motion is important for riders. For me, asymmetry and bad posture are a common complaint of riders and pretty hard to correct without some resistance based programming. Did you know the more you ride, the more asymmetric you become? My research and that of some other groups have highlighted this as a major concern and a reason for functional and correctional training off the horse. To improve riding of course, but also to keep your body healthy and at a lower risk of injury longer term.

Asymmetry is not just from the actual riding itself, it is also worsened by the very anterior and one sided nature of equestrian lifestyle activities such as sweeping, mucking out, carrying buckets. Not to mention driving and sitting at desks etc.

So we may strengthen the body by alleviating tight areas and developing weak areas. We might increase strength and endurance of the body with a strong emphasis on core strength, glute strength and scapular stability.  The strength programme for you depends on the level you ride, the number of horses you ride, how much you get on your horse, your current level of fitness and posture etc etc. There are so many variables to consider and it can be pretty confusing to sift through all the information.

I totally understand that riding is more fun than working out but ask yourself:

  • Am i symmetric?
  • do I have tightness and pain?
  • does my horse deserve to have a functional effective rider?
  • do i deserve to live with health and longevity?

I am guessing you answered no, yes, yes, yes? Or similar right. If you have 10 mins 3 x pw that is time to use to become a better rider. An effective programme can motivate you to reap the benefits of off horse training because it is sustainable and enjoyable. A coach can work with you on accountability and support to assist you in meeting your goals.

Thats why I offer Online Rider Fitness Coaching! This way rather than a generic template, you can receive a custom built programme that is bespoke to you as an individual. It is progressive with your development and designed based on where you are in your fitness journey, your equestrian goals, your equipment and time availability. After spending 8 years researching rider fitness and longer working with riders of all disciplines and levels I have been able to analyse what approaches work physically. In addition to this I have spent time learning and how to approach and coach riders to allow them to succeed in both their daily life and equestrian endeavours.

If strength training is a myriad of confusion but you would like to give it a try then please e mail me on

Learn more about Online Rider Fitness Coaching here!

If you have had a read and like the idea, i offer free consultation calls so please contact me so that I can call you to see if online training will work for you. 

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