Strength and Conditioning helps you become more athletic and improve your riding ability
What is Strength and Conditioning?
Strength and Conditioning is a successful programme used in sports to make sportsmen more athletic so that they can perform better and reduce the risk of injuries. A S&C Coach does not help with the sports skill - such as teaching you how to ride, but instead works on your body's abilities and capacities so that you can be most effective when you do ride.
Our Strength and Conditioning Programme is, to our knowledge, the first in the UK which is available to all levels of rider. It is designed specifically for riders to increase their athletic potential off the horse, in order to improve their performance on the horse.
Why is Rider Strength and Conditioning necessary?
Poor muscle activation and asymmetry have been shown to be the biggest predictors of rider back pain, regardless of age, discipline, ability and amount of hours riding per week. Pain is only the tip of the iceberg and should be addressed as a priority (Click here for Rider Osteopathy). However, there are lots of problems below the surface which are not causing pain but are limiting how well you can move and ride. PB Equestrian aims to identify where you are weak or imbalanced and work specifically on these areas - this increases your capacity and available movement options for completing a task.
Horse riders typically have poor gluteal, hamstring and mid back strength. This causes the quadriceps to work too hard which pulls the pelvis forward (anteriorly rotated) and makes the lower back muscles short and tight. This position makes it very difficult to engage your core muscles and keep your shoulders in a good position. As a result, just doing "core" exercises won't help you because the whole position of your body is switching the core off. Everything needs to aligned and strengthened as a unit, rather than in isolation.
Why was this programme designed? My Story.
At the yard i used to be called the bionic woman, but it was only when i stopped riding, went to university and started doing strength work that i realised how weak i was. When I came back home to ride, everyone noticed the difference - now I sat up straighter, with my shoulders blades and core engaged, my pelvis in a better position, my balance improved... I had become a better rider without sitting on a horse! Now when the horse pulled me forward I could maintain my position and half-halt with my body, rather than having to use my hands. But I was amazed at how easy this had become, after sweating lesson after lesson in the past trying to do it like my riding instructor commanded!
Using my knowledge as an osteopath and fitness enthusiast, I designed a specific programme for riders in order to target their needs. The exercises are easy to do and can all be done at home using the principles of Neuro Kinetic Therapy. This uses a band to challenge your posture which means your body has to work harder, increasing your strength and endurance in a shorter amount of time. I am now studying for my second Master's, this time in Strength and Conditioning at St. Mary's University, Twickenham which is world-renowned for its Post Graduate course in S&C.
How is Rider Strength & Conditioning different?
As far as I am aware, I am the only person offering Rider Strength and Conditioning to all levels of riders in the UK. Coupled with my knowledge as an osteopath in treating pain and dysfunction in the horse and rider, this provides me with a unique and complete ability to help riders become more like athletes. Strength and Conditioning is not about bouncing on bosu balls in the middle of the area, but provide individual and small group coaching to help you get the most out of your body in a fun and effective way.
What will you get in the Rider Strength and Conditioning Programme?
The Programme offers progressive Beginner's, Intermediate and Advanced Coaching, you must complete levels sequentially to ensure you have a complete understanding of the basics before moving on. It includes:
- Full Body Assessment
- Video Analysis of your Riding
- Identification of your strengths and weaknesses
- Booklet of Exercises
- Resistance Bands
- Support and Advice throughout
Anyone can benefit from coaching, no matter whether you want to improve your balance when riding at the weekend or want to improve your performance at national level competition. Don't limit your success by thinking that it will be too hard, or you aren't yet fit enough - the programme is specifically tailored to you and your needs.
The Programme includes 5 sessions per level which are completed within two months at CrossFit Cheltenham Gym. However, if you would prefer to have a one-off session for yourself or as a gift or would like more regular sessions, please email or call and these can be arranged.