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Focus on Fitness as Boyd Preps for Tokyo

Boyd focuses on flexibility and core strength to improve his performance in the saddle. Photos: Amber Heintzberger

As an Olympic athlete, Boyd takes his own fitness seriously. Especially since recovering from a few injuries and undergoing surgery last year for old injuries causing pain in his hips, he has made his own health and fitness a top priority. We all know that horse people tend to care for their horses first and themselves second, but over time Boyd has learned the importance of taking care of himself too. Here is his general routine:

I work out every morning starting with 5-10 minutes on the elliptical trainer. This loosens up the joints, especially the hips and groin, and gets the blood flowing. The next step is to spend about ten minutes on my roller, doing my back, hips, quads, hamstrings and groin. Then I move on to a series of basic stretches: hamstrings, calves, quads and hips.

Over the past couple of years I’ve probably been given a hundred different strengthening exercises from the physical therapists and trainers I’ve used in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. I’ll basically give myself three sets of three exercises, about ten reps. I finish with a bit of cardio on the rowing machine or exercise bike followed by a bit more stretching. Altogether it usually takes 45 minutes to an hour.

General health and fitness is an important thing, but you have to try to relate the exercises to the sport that we’re in. For me personally, core strength is huge: every morning I’ve been doing some sort of core strengthening exercise which I believe helps with all three phases of eventing, having the strength to ride as well as you can. You want to be lean to ride, not have big bulky muscles like a body builder. You need flexibility and core strength; if you can strengthen the midsection it takes off the strain during the dressage and galloping.

For me personally, I need to keep my hips and shoulders loose and flexible, that’s the area of my body that needs the most attention. I also use my infrared sauna, with lights that have a healing effect, and a steam sauna, which helps with sore muscles, and I love jumping into the ice bath after cooking myself for a while. I sleep on a BEMER mat at night that helps with circulation and healing. Basically that’s working continuously on me for five or six hours while I sleep.

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