We all know that we should warm-up before a workout. But not all of us know what that warm-up should look like. I’ve worked with equestrians on a very close basis for the last 3 years, and my experience has taught me that the most effective warm-ups for equestrians combine muscle activation, mobility, and balancing postures.
Our goal is to make sure that the muscles you will be using during your ride are turned on, active, and engaged before you get on the horse, and secondly to make sure that your hips, shoulders, and spine have the necessary mobility to perform the movements you’ll be doing throughout your ride.
These are my 5 selections for the best yoga posture to do as a warm-up, but in order to get the maximum benefit from yoga you’ll need to start doing yoga on a regular basis. I recommend doing yoga at least 2 times per week for a minimum of 30-45 minutes. You can learn more about our yoga programs and all the workout content we offer at the bottom of this page!
The following 5 postures are the most effective yoga postures to use as a warm-up for equestrians before a ride. Enjoy!
1. High Lunge (Optional Backbend)
The High Lunge is a fantastic posture for addressing hip mobility, hip engagement, core engagement, posture, and even chest opening. Focus in particular on reaching the tailbone down, squeezing your glutes, reaching your arms up and back. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
2. Standing Forward Fold With Feet Pedal
Tight hamstrings lead to a tight lower-back, and this will prevent you from having core stability during your ride. Before you get on a horse, make sure to release hamstring tightness (caused by prolonged sitting, standing, or inactivity) by doing a forward fold and alternate pedaling your feet. Do this for around 30-45 seconds, and make sure to keep your core tight. Use a block or other elevated surface (bench, chair, or railing) to help keep your back flat!
3. Runner’s Lunge Twist
Spine mobility is essential to a good ride, and this posture is particularly effective for spine mobility because it keeps your hips busy while your spine twists, which is exactly what you do when steering your horse. Prevent injury, prepare your spine for fluid movement, and strengthen your lower-body and core with this one! Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Make sure to keep the hips squared!
Balance postures are extremely effective for warm-up because they help to increase muscle activation. When standing on one leg, your body is forced to recruit all of the muscle fibers it can in order to effectively balance. Airplane helps to open your hamstrings, turn on your ankles, and strengthen your core and spine. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Keep your belly button sucked to your spine on this one, and use external support at first in order to ensure your hips are squared and your posture is correct.
5. Wide-legged Forward Fold
with Strap for Chest Opening Stretch
Your inner thighs are extremely active during your ride – you are constantly squeezing your legs toward one another! This stretch targets those inner thigh muscles, which keeps your back feeling great, supports knee stability, and even works into ankle mobility. On top of this, we’ve added a strap behind the back in order to open your chest and improve your posture. Hold this one for 30-45 seconds. Make sure to keep your body active! Focus on pulling your chest forward, and squeeze your legs toward one another constantly.
For a full video walkthrough of all 5 postures, watch below!
- Walks you through the technique of each posture.
- Tells you what to feel in each exercise.
- Explains how each posture relates to your fitness as an equestrian.