The Underestimated Power Of Strength Training For Riders

Strength training for riders is often a neglected area. Here I wanted to share why it can play a really powerful role in your dressage training.

Why is strength training for dressage riders an area we tend to neglect?

The strength element involved in improving your posture and general performance in the saddle is often overlooked when it comes to dressage and riding in general. It’s also an element that can often be feared in some circles because it’s believed to negatively impact the rider.

Often strength training for riders is associated with a stiff and braced body and an image that comes to mind is of someone bouncing and or being aggressively ‘strong’ in the saddle and of course that is the last thing we want. Riding is all about lightness and moving with ease.

However, a body that is strong through its full range of motion with good posture and balance will improve your performance and overall longevity in the saddle. Not to mention support it as it moves as one with the horse.

Suppleness is essential, but without strength around that suppleness, we lack the integrity we need to keep our bodies safe and injury free. We end up bracing in areas and not using our body as a whole system.

It’s the same with our horses, you can have young horses born with incredible scope and extravagant movement, but you add volume and load to that horse without adequate strength and time, it’s not the best recipe long term. The horse may hold through its back, block on one side and become rigid through its movement.

We are the same. Weakness can create a stiff, tight and braced body.

Often we know this when it comes to horses, but we neglect this element in ourselves. Softness and suppleness are something we associate with the graceful Grand Prix dressage horse as it moves with elegance across the arena. A horse that has the full scope of its available range of motion and strength through that range of motion floats with ease and grace.

Or how about a gymnast or ballerina, they move with such grace and lightness on their feet, and elasticity through their range of motion. You can’t deny that the soft elegant Grandprix dressage horse is supple and has incredible strength and the ballerinas and gymnasts who are light on their toes are the same.

As the horse’s rider, we are a team, working together in unity, creating coalescence. We need to consider ourselves in the same way. We need that strength and suppleness to move with softness and lightness upon the horse.

So even though strength has bad connotations within our sport, consider it more as strength like the ballerina or gymnast.

Its strength and suppleness together creating elegance and softness.

The Underestimated Power Of Strength Training For Riders

Our DRT system is built upon four elements. Each element playing a crucial role in helping you develop as a rider. Take a look at our system and download the free guide to get you started on your journey today.


Want some help improving your strength? Check out these articles too.

Strength Training For Dressage

The Natural Decline

Glute Strengthening Exercises For Dressage Riders

7 Exercises To Improve Lower Body Strength And Balance

Upper Cross Syndrome In Dressage Riders

Lower Cross Syndrome In Dressage Riders


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