Western Horse & Gun Magazine - 5 Exercise Moves

We all make the same excuses of having no time, not wanting to spend money for a gym membership, constantly being on the road or on the run, or maybe the long drive just to even get to a gym. We're kicking off the New Year by incorporating exercises and fitness tips. Whether you are on the road or at home, we have exercises and tips that can help you get in shape while spending zero dollars. Exercise anywhere can relieve stress, aide in mental focus and stimulate the mind for success. Not to mention, improving the health and balance as a rider and horseman/woman.  Any of these exercises can be done anywhere, especially at a rodeo, show or competition. You will already have hay with you and will take little time out of your day. Do a few exercise before practicing or competing to get your body ready to win!

Just remember, to always stretch before starting any routine. 

1. BALE BUSTER

Squats are a compound move which uses bodyweight while using almost every muscle group in the body. Starting by using a bale of hay laying either flat or on its side, begin in a squatting position. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, square with the bale.  Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward. Use your leg strength to pick up the bale of hay, while using your arm strength to push it completely over. Continue to squat and flip the bale until you are fulfilled. Make sure you maintain good posture; Keep your back straight, with your neutral spine and your chest and shoulders up.  Make sure to breathe while you bust this bale over…get it!

2. BALE CLIMBERS

Get yourself in the mood to start steppin’ on and off this bale of hay. Working your core, gluts, legs and thighs, the faster you climb, the bigger the reward. If you’re on the road or only have a few minutes, this would be a good one to get your mind focused and adrenaline going for competition. 

3. JUST THE CASUAL JOG

Not only is this a great bonding experience, you will be working yourself out while exercising your trusty steed. Begin by simply leading your horse and smooching, while increasing your speed and hitting a slow jog. Your horse will begin trotting along with you. Go for as long as you wish. Find a favorite path to take or create a pattern to keep track of mileage.

4. RIG GRIP

Take your right or left arm and wrap it around the horn of the saddle to brace yourself while you put the tree of the saddle on your hip. Grab your pad with the free hand and balance with your legs spread shoulder width apart. Slowly walk as you keep a straight poster and torso. This will work your arms out while contributing to balance. The key to this exercise is creating good balance and strength in your upper body. Either count your steps or choose a destination to walk to before alternating sides. 

5. DIPPIN' IN STRAW

Get ready to feel the burn as you take a dip. Strengthen your triceps with this simple dip exercise. With the hay bale flipped on its side, sit on the hay, your hands gripping the bale directly outside your hips. Place your feet on the ground in front of you, your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Shifting your weight forward, slide your butt off the bale. Fully extend your arms so that you’re supported only by your hands and your feet. Bend your elbows backward, and lower your butt toward the ground. When your elbows form a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement and return to start, stopping just shy of locking out your elbows. Continue this exercise for as many minutes or seconds.

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The best part about this feature was that my friend of 20+ years was my photographer. This was her and her horse, Bob (who I am doing the Casual Jog with), first published magazine. I am so lucky to have a talented friend like her.