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Fitness In Rodeo: Exercises For Rodeo Specific Training (Beginner's)
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Fitness In Rodeo: Exercises For Rodeo Specific Training (Beginner's)

In my last post I talked about the different muscle groups and ligaments that are involved while participating in all events that make up the sport of rodeo. Now, I want to go over a few exercises that will address each muscle group and get you on the right track to improving your fitness, which will in turn hopefully benefit your rodeo career. With all of these movements the main objective is to move with perfect form and control, we don't want to be moving fast or sprinting through any of this. I want you to focus on contracting every muscle needed to perform the movement, practicing perfect reps and learning about how your body moves. Complete 2-3 sets of each exercise, anywhere from 5-10 reps per movement and side if it is a unilateral movement, meaning one leg or arm at a time.

Upper Body

Scapular Stabilizers & Back Muscles:

-Banded Row: Stand facing pole or anchor with a resistance band at elbow height. Step back until your arms are straight and the band has mild tension. Stand tall, bringing shoulders and shoulder blades down and back and engage core (do not round shoulders or push out ribs). Bring elbows back while squeezing shoulder blades together behind you, bring the band to your mid abdomen, hold for 2 seconds, return to starting position. You should feel the muscles between your shoulder blades activate and your chest opens up.

-Dynamic T and I: Lay face down with arms out to sides like the letter “T.” While drawing the belly in and maintaining a neutral spine, lift arms up to sides while maintaining a “T” position by engaging muscles between shoulder blades. Gently lower arms until they are down by your side, creating the letter “I.” Return to “T” and repeat this movement. Do not let your back arch, squeeze glutes, and keep your head straight with a neutral spine.

-Bilateral External Rotation: Stand tall with shoulders down and back drawing the belly in towards the spine. With elbows at 90-degrees and resistance band in hands, gently open arms out to sides against resistance. Don’t let shoulders tilt forward — keep them down and back by squeezing shoulder blades. This exercise will improve rotator cuff strength.

Chest Muscles: 

- Dumbbell Floor Press:  Lie on your back in supine position. Bend knees and place feet flat on the ground. Pick up Dumbbells and press until arms are straight at your elbow and in line with your shoulder. You will bring the weights down slowly with elbows at a 45 degree angle until the back of your arms touch the ground, then you will return to starting position.

- Banded Fly: Take the unanchored end of the bands, one in each hand, and step forward until the bands are taut, but not tense, with your elbows slightly behind you so your arms are at about a 20 or 30-degree angle behind the horizontal. Place your non-dominant foot behind you, with the ball of your foot on the floor. Your front foot should be planted with your knee slightly bent. This is your starting position. Now, simply bring your arms forward, maintaining the same position in the horizontal plane, to meet in front of your chest, in a clasping motion. Then relax back to the starting position. That's one rep. Make sure to really squeeze the core and squeeze those shoulder blades down and back each rep.

- Regular Push Up: Begin with your chest and stomach flat on the floor. ... Squeeze glutes, core and shoulder blades. Exhale as you push from your hands and feet, bringing your torso, chest, and thighs off the ground. Pause for a second in the plank position, keep your core engaged. Inhale as you slowly lower back to your starting position by squeezing those shoulder blades. Push ups are really a back exercise but we get some benefit in chest and arms as well.


-Prone Plank: The plank involves minimal movement but maximal effort, requiring you to support your body on your forearms and toes while holding your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. You can make it easier by resting on your knees, or harder by extending your arms so you’re supported by your hands.

- Side Plank: Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet. Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.

- Deadbug: Lie on your back with your arms extended straight up towards the ceiling, and your legs raised with your knees bent at 90°. Lower your right arm and left leg at the same time until they are hovering just above the floor, then return to the starting position. Then do the same with the opposite limbs.

` - Boat Pose: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight, and hold your arms out in front of you as you raise your feet off the ground with your legs together. If you can, extend your legs so they are straight and your body forms a V shape. You can also raise your arms and spread your legs to make the hold harder.

Lower Body: 

-Side Lying Hip Abduction:Lie down on your side on an exercise mat with legs extended and hips in a parallel line, one on top of the other. Bend your lower arm underneath your head, allowing the full weight of your head to rest on your forearm so it’s in line with your vertebrae. Relax your feet into a neutral position, perpendicular to your legs. Exhale while raising your upper leg to just above your hip joint. When you feel your hips and back start to tense, stop and hold the position for one to two seconds. Inhale and slowly lower your leg to its starting position, keeping it straight and stacked directly above the lower leg. 

-Side Lying Adductor Leg Raises:Lie on your right side. Bend the knee of your left leg and place the left foot on the ground in front of the right knee. Your lower arm can be kept on the floor, and your upper arm may be kept on your upward-facing side. Keeping the right leg straight, raise it up as high as possible, and then lower it again.

- Glute Bridge: Lie face up on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before easing back down.

-Air Squat: Set your feet anywhere from hip to shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward. Think about gripping the ground with your toes.  Once your feet are set, initiate the movement by keeping your chest tall and pushing your hips back slightly, sinking your body down until your hips are just below knee level. Stand all the way back up, giving your core, glutes and legs a squeeze to make sure you’ve reached a good finishing position.  As you continue to do more air squats, remember to keep that tension as you start to go back down and then squeeze again as you reach the top position.

-Split Squat: From a standing position, take a long step forwards as if performing a lunge. The heel of your back foot should be raised. Keeping your torso straight, lower slowly until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Complete all your reps on one leg, then switch to the other. Keep your knees in line with your toes, especially on the front leg, and don’t let the front knee go past your foot as you lower, both knees should be at 90 degree angles in bottom position.

I really hope this helped you all get a better understanding of where to start when beginning your fitness journey when it comes to rodeo specific training! These exercises are all very basic but are a staple of a successful foundation when it comes to strength training for a sport or just life in general! Again, focus on mastering the movements, not intensity, and you will notice improvements with these movements in as short as two weeks! Fitness doesn't have to be complicated, keep it simple in your exercise choices and be consistent in performing them 3-4x times per week and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by your results.

If you are looking for a more detailed fitness plan or a coach, feel free to look through our website in our Plans and Pricing Page, and fill out a free consultation form! We can set up a 10-20 minute call to visit about your options, your goals, and how we can help you! You will be able to find these movements on our YouTube Channel, along with ALOT of other exercise demonstrations.

-Doug Champion

Owner/head Coach of Champion Living Strength and Conditioning

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