TRX Training- A New Spin on Traditional Exercise

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By Ismay Parker, Certified Personal Trainer at Team Speed Colorado- Centennial
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A request was made to write about different styles of workouts. There is so much out there; the fitness industry is always evolving and new gadgets and training aids pop up all the time. I believe knowledge is power, so I am starting a series- over the next few months my articles will discuss different workout styles.

This month, the workout style I focused on is TRX suspension training©.

Over the last five years TRX has become very popular in gyms and as a portable “everywhere you go” workout option. TRX suspension training follows the principles of resistance training by which the body, its center of gravity, position, movement, and angle of movement are used to create the resistance and difficulty levels for the exercises. The exercises are performed with the assistance of two straps made of high grade nylon with two handles on the bottom. The straps are anchored to a fixed point (example: a door or a tree) and can be adjusted in height to facilitate the suspension or partial suspension of the body.

Randy Hetrick, a former NAVY SEAL and founder of Fitness Anywhere Inc., developed the TRX suspension trainer©, but he was not the first to use suspension training as a valid, specialized workout. Rope training, for example, has been around for centuries. Other strap systems have been around as well, but Hetrick turned suspension training into a legitimate addition for the fitness toolbox of the general public and specialty training unit for athletes. While designing his TRX© equipment, he was looking for a practical portable training system that would not just train muscle but would train movement and the muscles involved in the movement. TRX training engages the core muscles almost all the time as the body moves through various ranges and angles, and TRX improves strength, balance, flexibility and core stability synchronously. No matter how weak or fit a person is TRX can make a difference as long as it is used properly.

It is important to note that some trainers believe TRX is not for everyone. For people with a very weak core, back, or other physical limitations, it is important to ask a health professional about starting TRX training. TRX training offers exercises for all levels, but beginners better start off with a trainer who can help them understand the fundamentals of suspension training. People have hurt themselves because they did not know what they were doing.

The greatest thing about TRX is that once a person knows what he or she is doing, TRX can be done by itself and just about everywhere. TRX suspension straps can be anchored inside or outside. The entire unit weighs less than two pounds and fits in just about any bag. It can support the weight of any sized human being as long as the anchor point is strong enough. It is easy to bring on trips and a great way to use as a daily wake up ritual.

When the body wakes up its muscles are stiff from laying still all night long. After some in-bed cat stretches, drink some water and perform 10 basic movements with the TRX to loosen and wake up the body and its mechanisms. TRX gets the blood flow going and prepares the body for the day’s activities, while reducing the probability for pain and injury. This can all be done in less than 15 minutes—half of the recommended minimum daily activity requirement for a healthy adult. It can even be done before hitting the shower and will change how a person feels the rest of the day. Fifteen minutes of your day! It’s a no-brainer.

Many fitness facilities offer group TRX classes and YouTube has hundreds of videos that show TRX exercises and training programs. Exercises such as squats, balance lunges, chest press, and overhead back extensions are just a few of the exercises that can be done, and TRX requires little set up and space.

TRX is also used in physical therapy, rehab, and sports medicine. No part of the body moves alone; the body is an interconnected web of muscle and other materials. Every movement a person makes triggers a response from more than just one muscle. This is why training all the way through a range of motion with TRX is so beneficial.

People who need physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, or functional movement training can also greatly benefit from a well designed, supervised TRX program. TRX is  frequently used in therapeutic facilities. With a qualified trainer or therapist people can strengthen their functional movement all the way through their appropriate range of motion. Maintaining functional movement is the way to maintain physical ability and primary quality of life through old age. In therapy, the therapist or trainer teaches proper techniques of body movement, supervises form, and assesses limitations or need for modifications. Qualified professionals can design progressions to take patients and clients all the way to optimal functionality of their body. TRX has proven to help with that.

Needless to say, I am a fan of TRX training. I use it for my clients and myself. For more information ask your fitness professional or go to trxtraining.com. Also, look for videos on YouTube to see what other people are doing with it.

With Holidays and travel plans just around the corner, TRX gives all the opportunity for damage control—turkey and its trimmings taste better when one knows it won’t pack on the pounds. Since TRX can also burn some serious calories, it can help one start the new year fit, firm, and fantastic.