What is more frustrating than incurring an injury mid-season?
Sometimes injuries are unavoidable and unlucky such as a bad fall. But what riders can control is the level of resilience their body has. If muscles are strong, joints are stable, and the body is supple; you are less likely to injure yourself.
Last year we had the honour of training no. 1 female polo player Nina Clarkin who understands the importance of staying strong and supple to avoid injury and maintain that competitive edge. During her pre-season training, we focused on joint & muscle stability, functional exercises and of course lots of stretching! These elements all contribute to creating a ‘bulletproof’ body ready for action!
Now we completely understand that during a busy season rider wellness can slip down the priority list and workout intensity drops. It is, however, a clever idea to maintain a certain level of fitness and suppleness throughout the season.
Here are a few simple and easy tips to follow during the next couple of months in order to bulletproof your body for riding just like Nina.
Many riders don’t realise that performing an effective warm up routine can help prepare them mentally as well as physically. Research has shown that warming up before a game increases competitiveness, focus and clarity. Each riding discipline involves a strong and positive mindset so it is essential to be calm and clear during chukkas. The warm up is a great time for some last minute refocusing, relaxing and re-energising.
An effective warm up should include:
- A Mobility Routine
- Activation Exercises
- Mental Activation Drills; agility, reaction time, decision making
- Some Deep Breathing
During the season it is important to maintain joint and muscle stability to reduce risk of injury and aid in body recovery post games. This doesn’t require hours of gym time and an effective routine can be a 15-20 minute workout 3x a week.
A typical stability routine may include …
- Glute Bridge
- Single Leg Work
- Plank with Single Arm Raise
Each competitive season can be very hectic and worst case scenario lead to ‘rider burnout’. If this happens mid-season, rider performance can decline and games are lost. Make sure you take time out to recharge, repair and replenish.
Why not start with some of these:
- Get your sleep – Add a Magnesium supplement if you struggle with sleep
- Consume nutrient dense foods (lean proteins, fruits, vegetables)
- Try adding in Turmeric to your diet to reduce inflammation
- Contrast showers (hot, cold, hot, cold) to improve blood flow and recovery
- Yoga! On your morning or days off, perform a 15-20 minute yoga routine focusing on deep breathing