Check out the workout jockey Mike Smith goes through to be race-ready

Mike Smith busts it during a workout.

Think the horse does all of the work in racing? Think again! When you have a half a ton racehorse pulling you along at nearly 40 miles an hour for a mile and an eighth, you need serious strength.

We joined Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and his trainer Tony Vong for a workout session. Smith, who has won more Breeders’ Cup races than any other jockey (20) and has been featured in ESPN Magazine’s “The Body” issue shows us how much it takes to be raceday ready.

Here’s a closer look at what it takes to get in shape to saddle up:


10 minutes on the Elliptical to get your muscles loose and your mind focused.


Shoulder presses with dumbbells: 15 repetitions

Tricep Extension: 15 repetitions

Bent-over Row: 15 reps for each arm

Front Arm Raises: 15 reps for each arm

Reverse Flies: 15 reps


Tired yet? Let’s hope not! You’re not even halfway done. Let’s take a look at what the second set has to offer:

Dead Lift: 15 times

Decline Press: 15 reps

Tricep Press Down: 15 times

Standing Cross Row: 15 times

Suspended Pull: 15 reps

Tricep Dips: 15 repetitions

Repeat twice.

Feeling the burn? There’s more. First, jump on the elliptical for 10 more minutes. Gotta keep that heart rate up!


One Arm Cable Pull: 15 reps for each arm

Kettle Bell Swings: 15 reps

One-arm Push Downs: 15 times each arm

Shoulder Raises: 15 times

Battle Ropes: 15 each arm

Pull Ups: 15 reps

Repeat twice more

You’re almost there! Just one more set … that you’ll have to do three times. Maybe grab some water before starting this one.


Standing Rotational Cable Lift: 15 times in both directions

Abdominal Wheel: 15 times

V Sits: 30 reps

Curl Ups: 15 times

And with that, you’re ready to head to the track and ride some races. What, you didn’t think you were done for the day, did you?

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