“The way to ride a bull is different than the way to hang on to a bull,” said 3x Linderman recipient, and 3x WNFR qualifier, […]
Stay Fit with Whit: Viva Las Vegas
Written by: Whitney Knowles< Back to Articles
By Whitney Knowles
September 30th is the last day of the PRCA season. This day is highly anticipated by many cowboys and cowgirls as they anxiously wait for the final standings to see if they are NFR bound in December. The “off season” (October-December) is used to get a little rest and a lot of practice before the 10 days at the Thomas and Mack.
I have always been surprised to find the number of rodeo athletes that do not have workout routines in the off season as exercise is extremely important for every athlete to stay in shape, healthy, and mentally focused. Many of the rodeo athletes have told me how difficult it can be to fit in workouts while traveling, practicing, and working with their horses as that can take up the majority of the hours in a day.
In this article I will be highlighting the ways Blake is staying fit and focused for the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
I have always stressed the importance of an exercise routine as a part of your preparation to my husband, NFR Steer Wrestler, Blake Knowles. During the season, Blake has always made an effort to go to a gym in whatever town he is in and get in a workout. (We actually met at my family’s gym in Oakdale, Ca almost 10 years ago!)
Blake is an avid outdoorsman so October is extremely busy with ranch work and hunting. This does not leave many days to practice or workout. But come November, it is game time and dedicated to practice and preparation for the NFR. Blake spends majority of the days practicing in the arena and may only get 1-3 days of actual “gym time” a week. This makes it very important to use that time to the max. Blake uses the time in the practice pen to incorporate exercises as well by keeping practice fast pace and high-intensity, just as if he were in the gym. Pace is important to achieve the desired heart rate to obtain the cardio vascular goals.
The routine that I recommend for Blake is not just good for steer wrestling but really could be used for any event. Whether you are bull riding, steer wrestling, or barrel racing you are not just using one muscle at a time but rather all the “powerhouse” muscles at once. These explosive exercises help strengthen the entire core and teach you to using your whole body as one unit. It trains you to explode while enhancing you strength for your sport.
Since gym time is limited, you have to utilize that time wisely and focus on doing agility and athletic exercises that work with the fast twitch muscle reflexes and core strength that can be completed within 45 minutes. The core encompasses the areas above your knees to your chest. There is not an event in the sport of rodeo that does not require a strong core. Squats and bench press are good exercises but kettle bell training and power cleans are more effective for athletes because it will get your heart rate up and works all the core muscles at once. Explosive movements like kettle bell swings and power cleans are athletic compound exercises that focus on using your core to drive your hips and excel your body movements. The core training not only strengthens but is also pertinent to developing good balance.
There are not many exercises listed below but these exercises are considered athletic moves that are dynamic total-body strength and conditioning. They are extremely effective and allow you to train speed, power, and strength at the same time. These are explosive exercises which are important for overall strength and balance.
Warm up with 10 min jogging, spin bike, or jump rope
Light Stretch: It is important to stretch daily. It will help lengthen and loosen up your muscles especially when the exercising and practice time focuses on tightening your muscles. You want to counter act with stretching so your muscles will not get to tight and help reduce the chances of injury.
High intensity Jump rope
Kettle Bell Swings
Kettle Bell clean
Kettle Bell snatch
(These exercises are physically demanding and should not be attempted without proper training and supervision by an instructor to ensure you are doing these properly.)