Physical Preparation Strategies of Professional Jockeys

Michael Kiely, Giles Warrington, Adrian McGoldrick, Sarahjane Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


ABSTRACT: Kiely, M, Warrington, G, McGoldrick, A, and Cullen, S. Physical preparation strategies of professional jockeys. J Strength Cond Res 36(11): 3184-3189, 2022-Professional horse racing is a physically demanding sport. The aim of the study was to examine the physical preparation strategies of jockeys for racing. A questionnaire was developed and validated which comprised of 4 sections; (a) background information, (b) making weight and current associated exercise habits, (c) current physical activity practices, and (d) jockey perceptions of strength and conditioning (S&C) and current practices. Eighty-five jockeys ( n = 38 professional flat, n = 47 professional jump) completed the questionnaire in race course weighing rooms representing 80% of the professional athlete population. In total, 77.6% of jockeys participate in physical activity outside of riding. Jockeys that participated in S&C (42.4%) reported their most frequent type of S&C practice; cardio (52.8%), high-intensity interval training (33.3%), flexibility and mobility training (8.3%), resistance training (5.6%). There was no significant difference in S&C participation between total flat and total jump licenses ( p = 0.530; [PHI] = 0.068). Difficulty making weight was reported by 55.3% of jockeys. Exercise alone was used by 29.4% of jockeys to rapidly reduce weight. There was no significant difference ( p = 0.201, [PHI] = 0.357) between the frequency of rapid weight loss per month for total flat (1.7 ± 1.7) and total jump jockeys (1.6 ± 0.5). This study represents the only published data on the physical preparation strategies of jockeys. Jockeys do not partake in physical activity, which mimics the repeated high-intensity demands of racing. Future research is required to examine the effects of specific S&C interventions on riding performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3184-3189
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2022


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