Submitted by member: Cassie
I’ve heard that resistance training can be very beneficial, but I’m afraid that if I lift weights I’ll get bulky. Is “getting big” something that I need to worry about?
Answer by Robin
I always like to tell people that saying you don’t want to lift weights because you might bulk up is like saying that you don’t want to take golf lessons because you might get as good as Tiger Woods. All joking aside, It just doesn’t happen like that. It takes years of focused training to build big muscle – it’s not something that happens quickly or by accident. Yes, some body types build muscle more quickly than others, but it’s always something that can be managed with changes to your specific workout program.
For most of us, the real benefit of classic weight lifting is the increase in muscle density (firm is good) and the resulting fat loss because a body with more muscle burns more calories. Another significant benefit for us riders is the opportunity to work our limbs independently. I don’t know about you but my left leg is much more stable than my right, it’s easier for me to balance on it and to put a load on it (i.e. doing a single leg squat or step up). On the other hand, my right arm is stronger and can pull and push far better than my left. All these details about how my body functions and where it needs work help me to understand why I might have a problem with my horse drifting out to the right when I’m going left (because my right leg doesn’t cooperate with me nearly as well as my left) or why I tend to over bend my horse to the right (because I’m stronger on that arm and I tend to pull more with it). Knowing and training your body is a powerful tool in making every ride more productive and more fun!
If you’d like more personalized help, I offer virtual training to riders everywhere so I’d love to hear from you!
“A true horseman will only ask athletic feats of his horse if he has his own body under control.”
– from The Principals of Riding/German
National Equestrian Federation
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Robin and her husband Dionicio Martinez own Blackjack Farms, a beautiful and secluded 5+ acre ranch in North San Diego, with a very unique indoor/outdoor fitness facility. They have a well-equipped indoor gym, multiple permanent outdoor workout stations and a groomed running track. The fact that it's also the home of their show horses makes it truly one of a kind. There is also a limited amount of room for people to board their horses, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a horse facility and fitness facility all in one. Robin has fitness clients that ride and riding clients who workout. Its a wonderful harmony, everybody is fit around there - horses and riders alike. Robin's focus is on establishing core strength and building a foundation of fitness for her clients. As a competing rider herself, she uses that experience to create fitness programs geared specifically for equestrians to help them gain the strength and mobility they need to be at the top of their game. Her style is positive, fun, encouraging and pleasantly tough. For more information on Blackjack Fitness please visit her website at www.blackjackfarmsandiego.com
Dino Fretterd is one of those genius equine massage therapists who I was fortunate enough to be introduced to several years ago here on the West Coast. He has helped so many horses - mine and those of clients & associates, and we all rave about his work. He is a consummate horseman with an extraordinary knowledge of the anatomy of the horse.
Bernie and Robin share some tips to help a rider learn to use their hands and legs equally.