Riders should not forget to prepare their bodies because polo is a high-impact game that can last for one to two hours. The playing time is long, creating a need to warm up muscles and joints for the game. Warming up eliminates the risk of straining a muscle or damage a wrist.
Best stretches and warmups for polo involve engaging in some dynamic and cardio stretches. The recommended time for each exercise is 30 seconds.
Below are the best stretches and warm-ups for pony riders before mounting their horses.
1. Gentle jogging on the spot
The best way for riders to warm up is by jogging on the spot, progress up to high knees and end with jumping jacks.
2. Dynamic back stretch
This stretch involves placing the feet wide apart, bending down slowly to touch one foot using an opposite arm, and holding before switching sides.
3. Walking lunges
Walking lunges involves raising arms and tilting to one side until the stretch can be felt at the hip, then switch legs.
4. Standing glute stretch
A stretch that involves resting one foot on the opposite knee bends it forward from the hip until a nice stretch feels in the glutes. A foot mallet helps to balance when necessary.
5. Mobilising the wrists
Wrists mobilisation requires interlinking fingers while leaving the palms to touch and move the wrists slowly in small circles. Exercisers should, after moving wrists, bend the fingers down and up.
6. Mobilising the ankles
Ankle mobilisation involves elevating the foot and moving it around slowly in circles from up, down, and side to side.
7. Shoulder rolls
Shoulder rolls happen by slowly raising the shoulders and rolling them back in small circles. The rider repeats the action in opposite directions.
8. Arm swings
Arm swings for warm-up should extend the arms out to circle them around gently and change direction after a moment.
Importance of stretching before a polo game
– Allows time for mental preparation
– Increases blood circulation to the muscles to reduce the risk of injury
– Increases oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscles, making them ready for strenuous movement
– Provides signals about any problem in a body area and give a physiotherapist time to focus on it
Best stretches and warmups for polo help to achieve all the above benefits and be ready for optimal performance before a match.