Get Fit, Ride Better

Getting into better shape can make you a better rider. These weight-training exercises from are guaranteed to work–and they take just minutes a week.

By Jennifer Forsberg Meyer |

Photo by Darrell Dodds
Riding can improve your fitness, and fitness can improve your riding. Follow these guidelines to improve your balance and effectiveness as a rider. | Photo by Darrell Dodd

You take lessons, attend clinics, watch videos. You read books and magazine articles. You ride regularly, keep a riding journal, and use mental imagery to reinforce what you’ve learned. In other words, you’re doing everything possible to be the best rider you can be, right?

Nope. If you’re not also pursuing physical fitness, you’re shortchanging your in-saddle efforts. A fit, well conditioned body sits a horse better, provides clearer, more consistent cues, and is less likely to be injured in the event of a fall. And weight training can transform you into a strong, flexible, more effective rider in just minutes a week.

This article will tell you what you need to know to begin pumping iron today. (It’s much easier than you think, and you don’t need to go to a gym.) Once you find out what weight training can do for you, you’re going to want to know how else you can improve your body. Bear in mind, though, that how you look is not the point.

“Personal fitness is all about improving the quality of your life and the level of your performance, regardless of your sport,” says Jennifer Sharpe, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and herself an avid rider. “The fact that you’ll look better, too, is just a bonus.”

Why Work Out…

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