Athlete Strength and Conditioning.
Craig offers rider Strength and Conditioning assessments following ridden assessment and functional screening tests.
Interestingly the GB performance pathway incorporates S&C into their training days so that riders can maximise their performance. In Europe, certainly, riders are beginning to see the importance of training programmes with the likes of Adelinde Cornelissen actively advocating exercise regimes for both horse and rider. We offer sports specific training regimes for riders across the Olympic Disciplines, Polo, Polocrosse and Racing. With understanding of each sport's demands, we are able to offer strength and conditioning programmes that will not only improve your performance in the saddle, but will aid in injury prevention, recovery and longevity.
Rider: Athlete or passenger?
There has been more focus in research recently, regarding the physiological demands of riding and the controversial question on whether riders are athletes, or merely passengers. It has been found that rider heart rates are particularly high during equestrian events with polo players spending 67% of a match in the “hard heart rate” zone (over 90bpm). In press research suggests VO2MAX is inversely proportional to heart rate, a phenomenon only mentioned in motor sport research. This is thought to occur due to riders holding their breaths during competition, however regardless of the mechanism, the human body has to be able to cope with these high heart rates and it is important that riders are conditioned effectively. Furthermore, most sports attempt to destabilise the body, though riding is a travelling sport and hence the aim is to stabilise the body. A carefully planned exercise programme involving perturbed training is therefore necessary to improve stabilisation ability of riders. Studies have also shown elite riders to have improved isometric ability compared to novice riders and as such, it is important to condition riders through isometric exercise to ensure maximal performance is achieved.
Craig prides himself in pushing the boundaries and challenging people to succeed through exercise regimes based on scientific principles. Craig previously trained Zimbabwe Event rider Nicolle Elson, before she left to train in Ireland, and has trained Zimbabwe National paradressage rider Andrew Philip's and Zimbabwe Apprentice Jockeys.
With our current base in the UK we are now focused on coaching High Performance Equestrian Athletes from a wide range of disciplines.
Inital Assessment and Screening
Kylie and Craig focus on the horse-rider dyad and as such initial ridden assessment is important for the most beneficial results (if the horse is being treated as well). Following a ridden assessment, Craig will analyse riders through functional screening tests specific for riders, and may use Dartfish to assess ROM, symmetry etc. Please note that Craig does train people involved in other sports and is available for training people outside of riding and is open to individual needs and goals
Training and Exercise Programmes
Craig tailors each programme to the individual and as such, he applies a hands on training regime which is both engaging and informative. His sessions are aimed at improving cardiovascular fitness, among other parameters such as strength and mobility. Craig offers a varied and exciting method of training to prevent fitness plateau and is certified in suspension training and kettlebell training to add to his arsenal of techniques employed to keep clients motivated. He is also certified in Kinesiology taping which may aid to re-educate neuromuscular pathways and return proprioceptive deficits, along with aiding in pain relief and improving posture.
Body Compostion, HR and other exercise parameters
Craig has a wealth of experience with performance testing having been the assistant in the Human Performance Lab at Hartpury. He will guide athletes through a range of tests to best monitor progress. Craig is able and equipped to test Body Compostion, Heart rate and grip strength to name a few in order to determine progress objectively.
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Ridden assessment can be offered for riders seeking to improve postural deficits and asymmteries on the horse through land-based training. Dartfish analysis software enables motion capture. Supoort at competition is also offered e.g. heart rate monitoring and stretching protocols
Equestrian Performance has previously worked with National riders in Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping along with para riders and work riders in racing.
As affiliates of Kinetic Bands, Kylie and Craig offer discounted prices for their clients for online purchases of The Training Bands.
Kinetic Bands are a perfect adjuct to our training regimes given their effect on the strength and stability of the hip as well as improved speed and power development.
"I've been working with Craig on my fitness for about a year now. He is thorough but patient, understanding my limitations whilst encouraging me to overcome them where I can. He finds interesting ways to work around my disability when targeting certain muscles, using a variety of different exercise techniques."
CDI** Para Dressage rider representing Zimbabwe