TipsHow Do Horse Jockeys Keep Fit Before a Race?

How Do Horse Jockeys Keep Fit Before a Race?

In horse racing, hearing of riders falling off their horses or not having a strong finish is widespread. While sometimes it could be because of circumstances beyond control, frequently, it is sourced from not having a good form or not being fit. 

Horse Jockeys

As such, it becomes imperative to develop high levels of fitness, especially since horse racing requires having sufficient core strength to maintain balance. Lacking this knowledge is what makes many unfit or less fit for the sport. And this difference in fitness levels is what separates the best from the rest, as can be seen on

If you are interested in finding out the specific ways jockeys stay fit in preparation for a race, this article is for you. Keep reading. 

Muscle Strengthening And Exercising 

In horse racing, the muscles of professional jockeys must be strong enough to stir their horses. Thus, riders also engage in intense muscle training besides their regular workout routine involving cardio exercises. And these exercises generally involve the use of weights like bars and dumbbells. 

Furthermore, a factor common to most, if not all, horse jockeys is their relatively small stature. So despite working out more than twice weekly to strengthen their muscles, riders must also learn to keep balancing their weight. 

The reason for this is that having much muscle/body mass on the jockey may affect the horse’s performance, so they must be relatively lightweight. 

Thus, for this purpose, they engage more in exercises that would only help them maintain their muscle strength without increasing the mass. Some of the common muscle exercises include: 

  • Romanian deadlift 

  • Barbell squat 

  • Lateral pull-down with wide grip

  • Dumbbell incline bench press 

Also Read: Yoga for Better Digestion: How to Improve Your Digestive Health with Yoga

Maintaining A Disciplined Diet And Avoiding Alcohol 

Contrary to what most people think, the life of a horse rider is not so simple. This is because, as a jockey, you must learn to make a lot of sacrifices if you wish to remain relevant and thrive in the sport. One such sacrifice involves getting rid of alcohol usage. 

As earlier stated, riders must have a just-right body mass, which cannot be achieved with the intake of alcohol, especially beer. This is because alcohol works to counteract the effects of the rider’s exercises, which would affect his/her form. 

Although in previous years, people were quite indifferent about jockeys consuming alcohol, it is a sacrifice that must be made now that the competition is more challenging. As such, there is little to no allowance for any error in the quest to become a great rider. 

Additionally, avoiding alcohol is not enough; maintaining a healthy diet is also essential. And a healthy diet involves avoiding excess sugar, junk, unhealthy food, as well as unhealthy ingredients. This way, they can be sure to stay fit and get optimum performance from the horse. 

Keeping Balance

As a professional horse rider, it is not enough that your body is physically fit; you must also be able to maintain proper balance while racing. Sadly, many overlook this significant part of their training that could greatly increase their chances of success. 

When racing, horses move speedily, and without correct and solid balance, the end result not only improves but it reduces the chances of falling off from the horseback. 

Maintaining balance on horseback can only be possible with muscle strength, the most crucial factor. However, this muscle training should not be limited to only some body parts; instead, the workouts should focus on every part. 

One of the most important aspects of muscle training for balancing involves strengthening the core, as well as upper and lower body workouts. Also, besides exercising the muscles, carrying out balance exercises, yoga exercises, and meditation helps develop a solid balance. 


Endurance training is another way jockeys keep fit in horse racing, and this is more of a mental fitness than physical. One may wonder why a jockey would require endurance when races often last less than a minute. The answer to this is that within that one minute, you would experience a couple of ups and downs literally, and you would also take a lot of beating. 

As such, having the skill of endurance comes in handy to maintain the same performance throughout the race. With this, you would be prepared to fall and bounce when you do rather than break. 

Improving the rider’s endurance level also involves engaging in particular exercises such as long horse running sessions and long-distance running. And this way, you have more control over how tired you become in the course of the race. 

Also Read: Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle in College

Wrap Up

Being a sport that requires excellent fitness levels from both the horses and their riders, racers must know the best ways to strengthen themselves. Arming oneself with this knowledge dramatically improves your chances of winning.


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