As some of you know, I’m a horse person. Not a competitive horse person, mind you. I just love my horse and leisurely horse riding down country roads. Last night I took Arowyn (my Quarter horse, weird name I know) out for a long ride to give both of us some exercise and fresh air. It had been a couple weeks since I took that long of a ride, and my knees and hips are really paying for it today. I think it was the posting trot that killed my joints this time. For those of you who don’t know what a “posting trot” is, it’s basically where you rhythmically alternate standing in the stirrups and sitting in the saddle, in time with the horse’s jogging motion. It’s a lot easier on the horse’s back than if you just sit there bouncing away. And when you and the horse are in good shape and can work together, it’s actually kinda fun. But when the horse is overweight from spoiledness and lack of exercise, and the human hasn’t been riding in awhile, posting becomes a workout in and of itself. Trust me. Think squatting on a bouncing 1200 pound animal for 7 miles. It hurts.
Anyways as I was limping my way through work today I got to thinking about the stretches and exercises I couldn’t wait to do when I got home because they always help my hips and knees a TON. And then I realized that chances are someone in my readership is a fellow horse rider. Which means you could probably use the same workout I’ve been needing today. [Note: Even if you aren’t a horse person, this workout is great for hip, knee, and back issues. Try it. Take it slow and be patient. It works wonders.]
Squat sit to stand. Sit in a deep squat, weight on your heels, for 20 seconds. Press your hands flat on the floor (or just touching your feet if you aren’t that flexible) and slowly straighen up so your legs are straight and you are touching the ground. Repeat until you start to feel loosened up and warm.
Hip bridges. 5 sets of 20-30 slow hip bridges, feet hip width apart.
Donkey kicks. 5 sets of 20 donkey kicks, per leg.
Narrow hip bridges. 5 sets of 15-20 slow hip bridges, feet and knees together.
Side leg lifts. 5 sets of 20 side leg lifts, per leg. You can do these laying on your side, or standing next to a wall or countertop (for balance).
Lying scissor lifts. 3 sets of 30 reps. Video below shows how to do this exercise.
Finish by thoroughly foam roll your quads, outer and inner thighs, calves, glutes, and back. Please devote at least a few minutes to each muscle group for best results. DO NOT underestimate the importance of foam rolling at the end of this workout. It will workout any knots or tension in your muscles, as well as breaking up fascia adhesions and stimulating circulation. All of this is hugely important because muscle tightness is often the cause of painful joint problems.