The Ultimate Fitness Routine To Improve Your Rider Fitness You Can Do In Less Than 15 minutes - MirrorMePR
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We might be in lockdown, but for equestrians keen to retain their fitness in the saddle, we asked celebrity PT, Lisa Bradburn (pictured), for her exclusive 15-minute rider fitness programme you can do from home.

This Exercise Routine Focuses On Legs strength, balance and core.

Level: From Basic To Intermediate.

What You’ll Need: Water to drink, a mat or towel for the floor and if performing these exercises indoors, enough space to expand your arms and legs. For extra resistance, fill up two water bottles or grab a couple of tins from the kitchen cupboard.


The Warm-Up:

Warm-up by doing some gentle stretches and marching up and down on the spot. You can also jog on the spot and incorporate shoulder rolls and rotation of arms. Spend a minimum of 3 – 4 mins warming up your muscles and mobilising the joints before undertaking these exercises.


Sumo Squats x 4 – 5 Sets Of 14 – 16 Reps

Why: Sumo squats are a brilliant way to strengthen your legs.

Start this exercise by standing with your feet wide apart (wider than shoulder or hip-width – whichever is more comfortable) and your toes pointing at 45° angles. Drop into a slow squat, bending at the hips and knees and sitting back. Rise and repeat.
To add extra resistance to this exercise, grab your tins of beans and when you sit your hips back into a squat position, keep them placed on the thighs, so that you are pushing down the legs.

Stay Low Squats x 6 Sets Of 14 – 16 Reps

Why: An excellent exercise for stability, strength and for activating your core.

This exercise is about staying low in the squat and shuffling along in a line laterally. Hold your arms out in front of you, with a little bend in the elbows and hold your fists together for extra balance. You want to stay in the squat position and move to the right by moving the right leg out and then follow with the left leg with both feet together then repeat. You can do as many as you like in both directions, depending on your floor space. You can also add a resistance band around your thighs if you have one at home for the extra burn!

Wall Sit

Why: This will help strengthen your thighs, hips, calves and lower abs.
Lean up against a wall and take a squat position with your legs about shoulder-width apart and around 2ft for the wall, making sure that your back is flat to the wall. Hold your wall squat for around 45 seconds then come out of it, shake your legs out. Rest for 10 seconds, then drop down for 60 seconds and hold it again for 90 seconds then do it for 60 seconds.45, 60,90 then 60, 45 seconds.

Balance & Core Activator

Why: This exercise improves balance and activates your core.

Stand tall with your arms at your sides. Lift your right ankle to your bottom. Grab your right ankle with your right hand and pull the ankle gently, as close to your bottom as possible. Hold for 30 seconds then release the ankle and repeat on both legs. Stand tall and focus on your balance and you’ll soon spot your weaker side! Do 3 – 5 sets.

Lunges 3 – 5 Sets, 10 – 12 Reps

Why: Lunges help build lower body strength and balance.

Standing tall with your feet together, take a step backwards with hands-on-hips to lower yourself into a lunge, hold for a few seconds, then come up out for the lunge to your starting position. Do not do this exercise if you experience any pain in your knees and keep the lunge and drop-down small to start.

Single Leg Dead Lift 4 – 7 sets 8- 10 Reps Split Over Two Legs.

Why: This is a hip-hinge movement which helps to strengthen the back, core and legs and improves your balance.

Lift one foot off the ground and extending it out behind you. As you bring your leg up, tip your body forward, looking down, arms down with optional weights in hands. You need to think of creating a T shape with your body position.
Hold two bottles of water or tins and feet apart (no bigger than shoulder-width) single-leg deadlifts and keep one foot on the floor. Bring legs together and body back into the upright position and repeat on the other leg.

Now we are going to concentrate on the core….


Bridge (also known as hip raisers) 7 – 9 Sets With 10 – 12 Reps With Rest In-between.

Why: These exercises engage your core and improve balance and stability.

Lie on your back, flat on the floor, with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor under your knees.
Push your lower back into the floor and tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles before pushing up.
Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.
You need to squeeze your core and pull your belly button back towards your spine. Hold for around 20 seconds, and then slowly return to your starting position. A variation on this exercise is to pulse in the lift position for a count of 20 then relax back down.

Two other more advanced versions of this exercise (which are not recommended for anyone with back issues), is to assume the bridge position. Extend one leg out at a time and position just above the floor and rotate the foot in a circle (any size between a tennis ball and netball – whichever is more comfortable) and do 1 x set of 14 – 18 rep each leg and repeat each side.

Another version of this exercise is: Bring your heels into your bottom – lifting one heel one by one as if walking on tiptoes on the spot. The challenge is keeping the hips still and level at all times. 2 x sets of 10 – 12 reps each leg.

Single-Leg Crunch

Why: Targets both upper and lower abs at the same time!

Lay on your back, with both arms flat on the ground, palms facing up. Your left leg should be long and flat to the floor, and your right leg bent at the knee with the sole on the floor. Activate your core as you lift up and at the same time, raise the left leg and reach both arms and hands as far as possible down the shin. Alternate both legs and feel the burn!
1 x set of 18 – 20 reps on both sides.

Cool down and stretch.

Notes Of Caution:
Always stop exercising immediately, if you feel dizzy or faint. Always start small and build up your repetitions over time. Do not overexert yourself and don’t force your body into any positions that you find painful or uncomfortable. If you have an underlying back issue or any other medical problem, do not attempt any exercises without first consulting a professional. These exercises can be used as a guide and do not substitute for having a tailored programme created by a personal trainer for you.


If you enjoyed reading this blog, you might be interested to read Why Your Back Health Is Just As Important As Your Horse’s.