Getting back in the saddle - a fitness journey: Week 2
It's been an intense week for Hannah, with a flurry of activity meaning that it's been a struggle to motivate herself to get to the gym as often as she would have liked.
When she did get there, Hannah made the most of it by ramping up the intensity of her workouts. She again used the cross trainer to get a full body workout, but used the settings on the machine to set a higher resistance to increase the average heart rate of the workout. Although this is completely necessary to improve aerobic fitness, there's nothing like feeling the burn in the muscles when you've only just started the workout session!
Those of you who read last week's post will know that Hannah planned to add in more core strength this week to make sure she is saddle-ready for her re-entry to the world of riding in a few weeks. It's been a (pleasant) surprise to Hannah how well the core strength has held up during the enforced period of not riding, proving the often stated theory that riding fitness and general fitness are very much not the same thing.
Hannah has been working on doing squats (slowly) on an upside down Bosu ball (arguably tougher than standing on the 'ball' part), as well as balancing on one leg for as long as possible - which is not long! Turning over the Bosu ball to the 'right' way round, the ball part provides a more challenging base to put feet on when doing planks, which Hannah has been more successful in increasing the duration of during the week.
After getting medical clearance, Hannah has also started doing some light weight training, to build up the shoulder and back muscles again in anticipation of riding strong and potentially excitable horses. Being 6 feet up in the saddle is not the time to find out you've neglected part of your rehabilitation... Exercises that Hannah has been finding particularly useful are those from the 'Strong & Sexy Swan Arms' workout - taken from Mary Helen Bowers' Ballet Beautiful channel on YouTube. Tougher than it looks at first glance, this workout is primarily designed for ballet training (think Swan Lake) but works brilliantly at targeting muscles that are also used by equestrians.
As the different aspects of riding fitness continue to come together for Hannah, don't forget to check back in a week's time for the next instalment!