This excerpt from “Fit & Focused in 52″ by Coach Daniel Stewart is reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books.
In this excerpt from his book Fit & Focused in 52, international trainer, instructor, and sport psychology expert Coach Daniel Stewart gives us a great way to improve our rider fitness without the gym or any fancy equipment. All you need is your mounting block at the barn!
The only thing better than a jumping jack is a jumping jack up onto a mounting block! Mounting Block Jumper Jacks are one of my all-time favorite exercises. The extra height of the mounting block adds a neat touch of challenge and temptation. You might think, “It’ll be too hard,” but I bet you’re going to want to try it! If you don’t have a mounting block handy, you can use any other small solid box such as the plastic jump blocks commonly found at many barns. You’re going to learn how to change jumping jacks into jumper jacks and jumper jacks into block jumper jacks! Here’s how you do it:
1 Start in the BASE with one foot on each side of a mounting block. The BASE is the Basic Athletic Stance of Equestrians: For jumper riders, this is an upper body slightly in front of the vertical, feet shoulder-width apart, back flat, knees bent, eyes up—the natural position of your riding discipline.
2 Extend your knees and jump off the ground.
3 Land on the first step of the mounting block with equal weight in each leg.
4 Bend your knees to absorb the shock, and get ready to jump again.
5 Prepare for the jump by extending your knees.
6 Jump off the block and maintain your balance in the air.
7 Land evenly on the ground with one foot on each side of the mounting block again.
Don’t Have a Mounting Block Handy?
The mounting block is an important part of Mounting Block Jumper Jacks because it guides you to complete the exercise at the correct intensity level. Without it, your Mounting Block Jumper Jacks would be, well—just Jumper Jacks. When you don’t have a mounting block handy and still want to perform the exercise at its full intensity, all you need to do is substitute it with any similar object—a bale of hay or ottoman are two handy objects that come to mind.
Reps, Sets, and Sweats
Do three sets of 10 repetitions in your BASE position at RPE-7 (Rate of Perceived Exertion: Difficult. Talking requires a lot of effort. It feels like cantering a difficult-to-control horse for several minutes). Increase reps and sets when you notice the exercise becomes a bit easier. Ensure that your muscles remain continually challenged to continue to benefit.
Pick up your copy of Fit & Focused in 52: The Rider’s Weekly Mind-and-Body Training Companion by Coach Daniel Stewart here.