6 of the Best Home Workouts for Equestrians

19 May 2020

Improve your strength and stamina in the saddle even if you can't head to the gym with these fabulous home fitness plans...

You might not be riding as much as usual or even smashing out your weekly gym routine, but you can still work up a sweat and build some strength, flexibility, and fitness from the comfort of your own home.


Drumming up the motivation to exercise can already be such a huge feat that you need all the help you can get. It’s not easy for us mere exercise-mat mortals to come up with a plan that ensures a really good workout, focuses on the areas that we want to concentrate on and keeps the risk of injury low.


Fortunately, there are loads of at-home workout programmes out there which can assist you in keeping fit and healthy without even having to visit the gym.


While deciding which is the best programme for you, have a think about what you’d like to focus on, your fitness levels and requirements and perhaps what your end goals are. You’ll also have to consider the potential cost of each programme and how easy the videos are to access for you.


We’ve found six of the best at-home workout programmes around to help you achieve your targets, including the FEI’s own Health & Fitness playlist on YouTube. Of course, do your own research too!


And if you do still need a tiny bit more motivation to put on those gym clothes, just think of how impressed your horse will be with your new found stamina and strength!

Here are six to consider...

 1. BBG by Kayla Itsines 

Aussie girl Kayla has built up a huge following with her series of 12-week BBG programmes comprising a good mix of strength and cardio exercises.


The big bonuses? They require minimal equipment (think a mat, some dumbbells or milk cartons, and maybe a wall or step), the exercises aren’t anything weird or difficult to perform, it comes with an eating guide, it targets the entire body, and there’s enough variety each week to keep you interested. Oh, and you only do four rounds of seven minutes each.


How tiring can 28 minutes be? Really, really tiring.


 2. Core De Force 

If you’re a person who gets bored during workouts and likes to feel that you’re actually learning new skills or moves, Core De Force might be a good option for you.


This mixed martial arts fitness mashup takes inspiration from MMA fighters to give you an intense workout that you can do from home with no equipment whatsoever. You’ll have three-minute ‘rounds’ of high intensity drills and exercises with short rest periods in between; just like a boxer.


This is a great workout to build cardiovascular fitness while keeping things interesting with different routines of varying lengths, and there’s something about kicking and punching that makes you feel like a total champion.


Because you do lots of rotational moves you work your core from every angle. Hellooooo sitting trot improvements.


 3. FEI on YouTube 

Looking at exercise in terms of how it can specifically affect riding is clearly really useful, so check out our Health & Fitness playlist on YouTube.


There is a bunch of videos displaying exercises and full workouts and warm-up advice from fitness queens Ali & Mari.


There are also tips on yoga, meditation and diet, and a neat video showing how to turn your barn into a gym. The girls even work out using equipment that you might ordinarily find in your stable, demonstrating squats with a halter over the shoulder, and shoulder exercises while holding a saddle.


Quite simply, it’s the perfect choice for equestrians.


 4. Aaptiv 

Is a good soundtrack the thing that keeps you running an extra mile or busting out one last set at the gym? Aaptiv is totally up your street. Touted as ‘the workout for busy people’ Aaptiv is different to other workout programmes and apps in that its audio based.


You not only get some seriously awesome soundtracks to go along to your workouts, but you also get walked (or talked!) through each workout by a high-energy trainer.


There’s a mixture of cardio and strength workouts with 30 new ones added each week, so there’s no chance of getting bored. This is a cool workout solution if you like to get into the zone and don’t want to have to prop your phone up awkwardly to watch videos. You can just plug in your headphones and go.

5. PiYo

Can’t decide whether to go for Pilates or Yoga? PiYo combines the strengthening elements of Pilates with the flexibility gains of yoga, and links all of the movements together in a non-stop flow so that you work up a sweat and reap some cardiovascular benefits too.


They’re done in class format so you have someone to follow and a benchmark to measure yourself against.


Because horse riders are plagued with injuries, it’s important that workout programmes can be modified to accommodate a dodgy knee, injured back, or other horse related niggles! PiYo offers that in trumps, with modifications which make it easier to adjust the workout to suit your needs.


Plus, there’s a variety of different class lengths from 20 minutes up to 45 minutes plus…so there’s really no excuse not to squeeze in a workout!


 6. Les Mills 

Taken a body pump class at a gym? Then you’ve already had a Les Mills experience. They’ve masterminded a series of different exercise classes which are run by gyms worldwide. But, you can totally do these at home instead.


With over 800 workouts to choose from, Les Mills has something for everybody regardless of whether you want a quick full body workout, a kickboxing-inspired session, or a fitness barre class drawn from ballet principles.


You can choose workout plans, benefit from the expert class presenters, and gain access to a global online fitness community to help keep you motivated and on track with your fitness goals.


Check out the FEI's official YouTube channel for more great fitness tips as well as great action from major competitions...


Words by Sophie Baker


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