ARLINGTON, Texas – There is a 25-foot rope hanging from the ceiling inside Trevino’s Gymnastics School in Lancaster, Texas.
Never before has a professional bull rider been able to climb his way up the gym’s daunting rope until Guilherme Marchi showed up last month.
The 2008 World Champion wrapped his legs around the rope and then used his upper-body to make his way up every inch of the way in a showcase of his athletic ability and strength.
“He is able to get to the top without using his legs,” said coach Richard Trevino. “It is actually pretty surprising. It is pretty impressive as far as his body condition.”
Marchi approached Trevino in January about taking personal classes as a way to help get leaner and improve his core strength and flexibility. He had seen his son (Joao Gabriel) and daughter (Manuela) take classes at the school and decided to give it a whim.
“I went there and I needed to get some exercise, and I thought about bull riding, and maybe this will be good for me,” Marchi said. “It will be something different. Instead of just putting weights (up) and doing those exercises for your body.”
Instead of relying on just weightlifting, Marchi, who is the first bull rider to take classes at the school, has taken part in a series of gymnastics drills that have worked his muscles in ways he never thought possible.
The workouts normally start with a rigorous cardio session before he goes into a stretching routine and flexibility drills. Marchi also has worked with Trevino, the school’s tumbling and trampoline coach, on various trampoline drills that involve front flips and back flips.
So far, Marchi has been happy with the results.
“I go two to three times during the week and they help me a lot,” he said. “I feel better, more flexible and have better reflexes. I feel good too because my hands are getting stronger, which will help me a lot. I have never done any training like this before.”
Marchi said the fact that nine-time World Champion Ty Murray also took gymnastics factored into his decision-making.
“That is why I thought of trying gymnastics,” he said. “I saw some video of him before and I decided I was going to try and see if it was going to help me or not.”
Trevino has 12 years of coaching experience at the school that was founded by his parents Rich and Marilyn in 1984.
In 2009, Richard competed at the U.S. Visa Championships in trampoline and was a Junior National Team Member on trampoline.
To help with Marchi’s training, Trevino has begun studying video of professional bull riding in hopes of altering his training program to benefit Marchi.
“Gymnastics is really good cross training for any sport,” Trevino said. “I was shocked. I never encountered a bull rider. I am trying to get a good feel for what he needs to learn and get better with, which is all basic balance.
“He has been doing great. He works really hard. He pushes himself. You can tell he has a passion for getting better every time he comes to the gym. That is for sure.”
When asked if fans will one day see him pull off a Renato Nunes backflip, Marchi replied with a smile, “We will see. Not yet.”
Trevino noted that Marchi has been able to pull off a backflip into the gym’s foam pit and even landed an awkward backflip on the trampoline.
Trevino has been stressing to Marchi the importance of having aerial awareness throughout the drills.
“Really, it is how dedicated he is,” Trevino said. “He is pushing himself as hard as he can on each and every element and exercise. I am blown away with how good he is doing.”
Marchi is currently 10th in the world standings, thanks in part to his event victory last month at the Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden in New York. He has ridden 13-of-27 (48.15 percent) bulls heading into his first-round meeting against Slippery Devil.
The 12-year BFTS veteran knows how grueling the new Iron Cowboy format will be on Saturday night when riders will potentially go through five consecutive rounds against the PBR’s rankest bulls. Even more so, the 32-year-old realizes his body is not the same as it was when he made his Built Ford Tough Series debut in 2004.
That is one of the main reasons Marchi decided to try out a new workout routine for this season.
“I am 32 years old. I need to do something different that can help me,” Marchi said. “I just tried to find something to keep me strong and healthy. This kind of exercise helps me a lot.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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