Strength and conditioning is of the utmost importance to jockeys but unfortunately, many of them just don’t have the time to do it, according to Mikey Kiely.
The strength and conditioning coach was speaking on Friday Night Racing on the struggles that jockeys may face in later life if they do not partake in weight training.
“A survey I did with 85 professional jockeys in Ireland showed us that 42% are taking part in strength and conditioning. However, half of that is just cardio.
“Which is probably more weight orientated than performance orientated. So while it is increasing we still have a small proportion of the jockeys participating in strength and conditioning.
“It’s not just for racing. Their bone health, because they’re non-weight bearing riding out most days - they’re probably at a greater risk for osteopenia and osteoporosis in later life.
“So it’s to build up their bone health and also to become more resilient and robust when they fall.
“Our jump jockeys are falling in one in 20 races and one in every 10 of them is a serious injury. Be it a break or something more.
“So it’s all-encompassing. It’s not just getting stronger or improving riding performance. There are multifactorial benefits for S and C for jockeys,” Kiely said.
'A lot of them don't have time'
While jockeys do have plenty of support systems in place to help them with their S and C training, a simple lack of time remains a serious obstacle.
“To be fair to the pathway there is now the knowledge is there. You’ve Wayne Middleton doing the S and C, we’ve nutrition support, physio support, psych support - so it is there.
“It’s free to jockeys through the care system. So all that is there. It’s just a matter of getting it out there.
“We ask a lot of jockeys in terms of their time. I ask them for testing time. They don’t have time. The 85 jockeys that were surveyed, on average they were working 32 hours a week.
“They’re probably, although I didn’t measure this, driving between racecourses and riding out another 20 hours. They’re not getting the calories in to sustain the work they’re doing.
“And then they go to work. Then they go racing. So jockeys have two weeks work done before they get racing each week.
“So their time is unbelievably valuable. It’s about what we can do to make sure they can give time to the sports performance side of it. At the minute a lot of them don’t have time, to be fair to them,” Kiely commented.