If your focus is to improve your athletic performance, sustain high energy levels, reduce risk of injury and prolong play time in the saddle, then you may want to keep reading! Polo is a very strenuous and intense game and even the top players experience mishaps. Throughout the last Argentine season many top players encountered a few injuries; Pelon Stirling, Pablo Macdonough, Joaquin Pittalouga and Rodridgo Andrade all received groin injuries which would have affected their games and teammates. This just shows that is essential to bulletproof your body for battle and so we have come up with a few suggestions on how to kickstart your pre-season training: 1. Nutrition 2. Strength 3. Cardio fitness 4. Polo Specific Exercises The combination of all of 4 elements can help players prepare mentally and physically for their next season. 1. Nutrition Optimise your energy levels, decision making and reaction time through fuelling your body with highly nutritious foods. We recommend creating a food plan containing whole foods based on seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, gluten-free grains and grass-fed/organic lean meats and wild fish. Stay hydrated with water-rich foods such as lemons, limes, tomatoes cucumber and water melon. Eating for recovery is equally as important as preparing for a tournament. Add in supplements to support oxidation and inflammation responses, including Athletic Greens (greens powders), collagen, glutathione, omega3 fatty acids, electrolytes, Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium. You will find many of these supplements at www.equestrianwellness.com . 2. Strength We all know that it is essential to have a certain level of strength in order to control the pony, hit the ball, hook and ride off. The areas of the body we suggest you focus on are the inner thighs, core, back and shoulders… Squat Press up Row 3. Cardio Fitness Have you ever struggled with breathlessness during or after chukkas? Felt lethargic and low on energy during an important game? It may be your fitness level that is preventing you from peak performance! To get you started here is a 10 min cardio routine you can follow. Choose your preferred type of cardio (running, skipping, swimming, cycling etc…) 45 seconds fast 15 seconds slow 30 seconds fast 15 seconds slow 20 seconds fast 15 seconds slow 1 minute slow active recovery (keep moving during your recovery to maintain a higher heart rate) Repeat 3x 4. Polo-Specific Exercises As we have just discussed; to be an effective player it is essential to have a strong and stable body that recovers quickly. But as polo is such a unique sport and the movement patterns of the game are very particular, some functional exercises specific to polo are a great addition to your training plan. Balance on a swiss ball Oblique twists
This type of shot requires · Balance · Accuracy · Supple Torso · Strong Inner Thighs Recommended Exercises (3 sets, 15-20 reps per exercise) 1· Squat with Lateral Leg Raise (Improves Balance) 1. Start by lowering yourself down into a squat 2. As you push back up to standing lift one fully extended leg out to the side 3. Lean your torso over the planted leg as lift the other leg up 4. Hold this position focusing on your balance 5. Lower the leg back down into another squat and repeat on the other leg 2· Foot Mallet Side Shuffles ( Accuracy) 1. Grab a foot mallet, as many balls as you can and 4 cones. 2. Place 2 cones 2m apart from each other (set A) 3. Place the other 2 cones (set B) 3m infront of (set A) at ½m apart 4. Place a few balls at each cone (set A) and start by side stepping fast between the cones holding your foot mallet 5. Once you arrive at a cone hit the balls and try to score between the set B cones. 6. The idea is to keep the exercise moving and shuffle quickly between the set A cones scoring as many points as you can. 3· Thoracic Twists (Supple Torso) 1. Start with feet hip width apart and soft knees 2. Bring your arms up to a 90-degree angle 3. Twist your arms and torso from one side to the other 4. Gradually open the arms up to full extension and increase the amount of rotation. 4· Slider Lateral Lunges (Inner Thigh Strength) 1. Grab a slider or folded towel and find a slippery surface 2. Start with feet close together and one foot planted on the slider/towel 3. Gently slide this foot away from you (keeping the leg fully extended) and drop down into a lateral lunge 4. Stay strong and stable through the planted leg (you should feel your glutes working to hold you in this position). 5. Gently slide the foot back towards the other leg finishing in standing position 6. You should feel your inner thighs activate as you pull your leg back to the start position.
This type of shot requires · Balance · Shoulder & Back Stability · Supple Torso · Strong Obliques Recommended Exercises (3 sets, 15-20 reps per exercise) 1· Single Leg Balance Foot Taps (Improves Balance) 1. Stand on one leg and keep the planted leg slightly bent. 2. Elongate your torso and slowly reach down to touch the outside of your foot 3. Rotate your torso and lift one arm up to the sky 2· Back Extension with Extended Arms ( Improves Shoulder & Back Mobility) 1. Lie on your front and pelvic tilt to engage your core 2. Fully extend your arms and legs out 3. Slowly elevate your chest 2 inches off the ground and bring your elbows slightly higher up. 4. In a circular motion, move your fully extended arms from around your upper body. 3· Banded Back & Oblique Stretch (Supple Torso) 1. Attach a strong resistance band to a stable base and hold on to the other end 2. Bend your knees and lean your hips and weight back towards the ground 3. Keep your arms fully extended and relax into the stretch 4. After 40 seconds rotate your body left and right (to the point where you are looking under your armpits). 4· Side Plank Rotations (Strengthens the obliques) 1. Start on your side and raise yourself up onto the bottom elbow 2. Keeping your body in a straight line lift your hips off the ground 3. Engage your core and avoid collapsing onto your bottom shoulder 4. Fully extend your top arm and as you rotate your torso down towards the ground, take the arm underneath your other armpit. 5. Rotate back up to the starting position.