Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Tools for your work out: The Resistance Band
The thing about rainbows...
I hope you are one of the innocent ones who still believe in their heart that riding horses is the equivalent of 'butterflies, sunshine and rainbows'. The minute we start to take our horses and ability to ride for granted, is when we need to sharply change out perspective. Horses are meant to be a delight for us to experience and a vessel for us to learn from. Every time we are around a horse, riding a horse, or doing things for horses, we should feel like elements of that are truly 'butterflies and rainbows'.
The challenge with this is that the world is kind of a bummer place to live in sometimes. Our work schedules run late, our horses get lame, our friends and family don't understand horses are more than a 'hobby'. We have to WORK to keep appreciating the gifts God gives us. We have to sometimes work and push through some resistance to see the benefits. At the end of the day a losing horse is still a horse, a lame horse is still a horse, an expensive horse is still a horse, a bad ride is still on a horse, a horse you are too busy for is still a horse. And a horse is what you fell in love with in the beginning, when the world was less complicated and the horse made you feel like it was 'sunshine and rainbows'.
In Genesis 9 the Bible gives record to God promising his safety and presence to his people. Because of the poisonously sinful environment that humans turned the world into, the Lord rescues His select few people and animals to be safe with Him in the arc in a storm. After the world flood and literal mountains are moved, God promises that He will not overwhelm the world in this way, ever again. To prove it He shows Noah a rainbow (Gen 9:13). To us , this means more than not having to worry about the world being swept up in a flood. It means that when we confide and abide in Him that he's with us through anything. The rainbow shows God cared about US and our ANIMALS. The preservation of US and our ANIMALS through hard times shows He is always for LIFE. The rainbow promises that God is life, wants life for you and will sustain your life in Him.
Now, if we take all these principles of obedience, love, perseverance and peace, we indeed will see God's promise, and see HIs promise is true. If He says to listen, you listen. If He says to obey, you obey. If He says He's gonna do something in your life, and not to quit, then don't quit. Keep riding. Keep resting. Keep resisting the doubt and disappointing mind-sets the world subscribes to. Keep resisting your own temptation to compromise your quality of horsemanship in a world that sells quick fixes. Keep resisting your flesh that winning is 'all about you' proving yourself. Rest and remain in the promise that your love for horses was not an accident, and that God will continue to walk you through what He has for you in them.
Hence the term, REINbows... If we ride and exercise like we believe God loves us and His promise to love us is forever, then maybe we will ride different. Maybe we will honor the 'sunshine and rainbows' feeling we get when we ride because we know the One who gave it to us to enjoy.
How to use your tool:
Challenges to try:
Why add resistance?
Through the movement and activation in using resistance bands for exercising, there is research that shows that this method can give you dual benefits. You can both grow and tone muscles simultaneously. Since muscles have to extend, contract and hold, it causes the body to burn fat around the muscle and cause healthy strain in the belly of the muscle as well.
Traditional weight training is working with a selected size and amount of weight. Because the weights are rigid, you have to be careful and calculated in how you use them to get the right affect. Since you are working with a selected weight, you used your body and muscles differently than with a resistance band. Weight training requires repetition for benefits verses concentrating on quality and fluidity of movement.
Why is this tool especially applicable to riding?
The nature of using resistance bands for exercise and the technique of riding a horse, are very similar. With the bands, sometimes we extend, sometimes we contract, and sometimes we hold in a position. When we use our reins we also extend, contract, and hold in a position to support getting a certain movement out of our horse.
The resistance bands not only resemble the technique of using reins but they also represent the feel we should have on them. We should not treat the reins or our horses mouth like a rigid substance of weight to be hauled and jerked around. We should treat our reins as a contact line of feel through communication - never harshly jerking or dropping them - but always keeping contact, adjusting when we need to take more or less feel on the horse.
We can easily tie, loop or adjust the bands to simulate reins. We can tie the bands at horse head level (like to a stall) and simulate riding. We can attach the bands at a certain height and length to correct habits we've been practicing. We can also step on the bands to really concentrate using them with a stable seat while building balance. We should NOT actually tie them on a horse or the the bridle, but we can visualize and simulate riding with reins OFF the horse very accurately with the bands.
Why is this considered the safest work-out tool?
We use our own body weight. We are not at risk of choosing too heavy of a weight, or too big of a tool. When we are responsible for using our own body weight we are less likely to get injured because nothing can over-power, over-work or squash us. If we feel like a position we are in is 'too' much or causes a strain that is uncomfortable and unworkable. In an instant we can adjust the amount of tension we are putting on our selves, because the band is self-contained. We aren't in danger of needing to crawl out from underneath something or push through a repetition in bad form.
We use own body control. Since this course has covered QUALITY of movement and not just repetitive movements, we can control how our body responds to tension. We choose the position we exercise tension in. We choose the amount of tension and amount of repetitions in the position. Our body cannot give more than it has, and the resistance bands are a transparent representation of what our body can handle. We can easily isolate different muscles that need attention, avoid muscles that need to heal, or adjust how much we work.
Resistance bands are customizable and convenient. It is a compact, inexpensive tool that you can take and use anywhere. You can select thicker or thinner bands for the baseline resistance you want to work with. And then within that resistance, you choose how much resistance you put on yourself. Because of this, its great for both rehabbing body through incremental progression and muscle activation through awareness.
We can train well with resistance bands. We have to have a strong and identifiable frame we are working within. We aren't just slapping around a resistance band like a rubber band or slamming it around like a metal weight. Because of the elastic quality it demands better quality movement from us, to provide an element of control in our exercise. Since the course focuses on proprioception, we are apt to pay attention to where our body is in space, time and strain - and not do anything out of alignment because of our gained awareness.