Structure || For You And Your Horse

We all like freedom to do whatever we feel like whenever we feel like. But some structure is needed in order to make progress. 

Yesterday Matthew had me start a structured gym routine in order to gain strength and muscle. This new routine means doing a warmup set with low weight. Then a heavier weighted set for 8 reps. Add a little weight and do 6 reps. Add a little more and do 4 reps. And add a little more again and do 3 reps. Then next week my starting weight will move up a little.

The results?
I'm very sore today lol. Needless to say it's very effective and I'm excited to see how much stronger I can get.

How to structure workouts for you?

The main thing is to have a plan.

Step 1.
Plan your week.

I always recommend splitting your weekly workout up by muscle groups to ensure they all get worked effectively.

For example:
Monday - Hamstrings and Glutes
Tuesday - Chest and Tricep
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Quads and calves
Friday - Back and Bicep
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Rest

Step 2.
Next is to decide what exercises you want to do before you actually arrive at the gym. 

So for example if today was back and biceps then you may wanna do bicep curls, compound row, hammer curls, lat pull-down, and pull ups.

Step 3.
Decide on a method.

There are countless methods.
For example there is the one I mentioned in the beginning of this post. There is one where you lower the weight with each set and add more reps. And there is super slow, where you do one set with super heavy weight with 20 second reps for no more than two minutes.

How to structure workouts for my horse?

Again the main thing is to have a plan.

Step 1
Shcedule your rides.

For example:
Monday - Flat work/stretching
Tuesday - Flat work/conditioning
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Jumping/gridwork
Friday - Dressage/lateral work
Saturday - Jumping/hacking
Sunday - Rest

Step 2.
Plan each ride.

So for example if your doing Flat work/conditioning you may decide on starting with a five minute walk to limber up followed by a ten minute trot to warm up. Then you may do 3 sets of trotting for 5 minutes each and only 1 minute of walking in-between. Then doing 3 sets of cantering for 3 minutes each with 1 minute of walk in-between. And then doing your trot sets again and cool off.

Step 3.
Introduce a challenge.

Just like you need to be challenged in the gym in order to progress, so does your horse. Make that when you teach him something new, you work on it frequently for short periods of time until he masters it and is ready to learn another new thing.

So for example if you want to teach him leg yield, introduce it for only about 15 minutes or less and come back to it the next ride for about the same amount of time until he gets the hang of it. Then you can introduce something new.


Be patient and persistent. 
With yourself and your horse.

Be flexible. 
You may have to take a few steps back before you can move forward, and you won't always be able to do what you planned. It's ok, it happens. Just get back on track.

 Be realistic but don't be shy.
Don't over face yourself or your horse. But don't hold back from challenging yourselves, because overcoming challenges is how we progress.


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