But we’re talking extra activity to
improve fitness. Are you aiming to
work out every day or every other
day? ( We’ll hit on this question a
Step Two: Start Slow
Before starting any workout
activity, make sure you discuss
your plans with your doctor.
You want to be sure that you’re
physically able to do the activities
you want to.
Also, you’ll want to keep your
history of exercise activity in
mind while planning your new
routine. You might have been an
avid runner prior to winter, only
to have backed off because of the
weather. Or, perhaps you’ve never
been very active and decided that
2016 is your year. Whichever end
of the spectrum you’re on, consider
this: An exercise neophyte might
be overwhelmed by jumping in
to a full routine with weights and
high-intensity cardio. But if you’re
already used to hitting the weights
and treadmills, you’ll be bored to
tears in beginner classes.
Step Three: Get to Work
Anthony Kincy is the assistant
athletic performance coach at
Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.,
where he oversees the three-time
national champion equestrian
team’s strength and fitness
routine. He advises that riders try
to stick with working out two to
three days a week for three weeks
to start a habit.
“If two of those days are some
type of strength exercise and one
day is cardio or yoga, that will
get you in a better position to
get ready to ride and tackle the
season,” he says.
Here are the top four areas
Kincy recommends working on for
1. Lower Body
Body weight squats are an easy,
go-anywhere exercise you can do
at home, the gym, or the barn.
The basic squat starts with
your feet just a little bit wider
than shoulder-width. Bend your
knees while driving your hips
backward and keeping your lower
legs perpendicular to the floor.
Go down until your hips are even
with your knees, and then stand
Other variations include
holding at the bottom for four
seconds, split squats (one foot in
front, one in back—a lunge), and
using weights (saddle held out in
front of you, canned goods in each
hand, et cetera).
“This is an exercise that I rec-
ommend when you’re looking for
power from your legs,” says Kincy.
2. Upper Body
“The best bang for your buck with
your upper body is the push-up,”
Kincy explains that push-ups
are commonly difficult for women
to perform because of their natural
lack of upper body strength. To
combat this, the team at Auburn
works in three-week blocks with
incline push-ups, slowly modifying
them until they are on the ground.
“I’m not a fan of push-ups on
the knees,” he explains. “Going
from an incline is better than