Well folks, it’s happening! Illinois is starting to reopen. We’ve still got a long path ahead of us, but it’s exciting to see businesses begin to reopen. Many gyms are opening back up to personal trainers and clients, but unfortunately all other members are not yet allowed back. Hopefully that will change soon, but until it does, home workouts are still going to dominate most people’s workout programs. In my first article, I spoke about TRX and how invaluable it is, not just for personal trainers, but for anyone who wants to add variety into their fitness regimens. This is especially true now, as TRX is about the most effective piece of home exercise equipment that you can buy. In recent years, TRX has become increasing popular mostly because it is a form of exercise that can be done by literally everyone, no matter what your current fitness level happens to be. It is great for beginners and advanced exercisers alike. Throughout this article I will be explaining exactly what TRX is, how it’s performed, and some of the many benefits that it has to offer.
Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick is the founder of TRX. He was looking for a way for him and his teammates to stay in peak condition, but the surroundings of their missions did not offer traditional fitness equipment and their space was limited. The TRX suspension Trainer evolved as the answer. Originally made with parachute webbing, Hetrick and his teammates quickly developed an entire series of bodyweight exercises specifically designed for this unique training harness. Before he could barely blink an eye, Suspension Training had emerged as the newest, ground breaking form of exercise in the world of fitness. What makes TRX so great? It builds true functional strength and improves flexibility, balance and core stability all at once. It has a very strong carry- over into our activities of daily life and sport. It has become the world’s first performance training apparatus designed to facilitate an enormous range of bodyweight training movements for the entire body that can be performed anywhere, anytime, by anybody.
There are many benefits of Suspension Training, some of which I have already mentioned. Not only can anyone benefit from it, but it can also be utilized anywhere: in the gym, in your home, in a hotel room, and yes, even outside. In fact, many boot camp instructors are starting to utilize TRX for their classes. Also, the most fundamental benefit of TRX ix that the core is constantly challenged, even when other parts of the body are the targeted muscle groups. The center of gravity for each person is located just above the hips along the midline of the body. Changing the position of the body shifts the center of gravity, but within most daily activities, it remains within the confines of the torso. Suspension training exercises are specifically designed to displace the center of gravity, activating the core musculature during every exercise. TRX workouts develop core strength using functional movements and dynamic positions, which is a nice departure from the typical “lying on the floor face up” approach to abdominal training.
A highly functional benefit of TRX training is that it allows us to train in all three planes of movement: sagittal, transverse, and frontal. In traditional exercise (both aerobic and anaerobic), most movements are performed in the sagittal plane while the frontal and transverse planes are largely neglected. There is nothing wrong with this except that it does not have much carry- over into the activities of everyday life and sport. This is what gives TRX such a tremendous edge. It is a great outlet to train in all three planes of motion, thereby enhancing not only our physical strength and stamina but also our daily movement. This is also what makes it such a great tool for sport specific training. In other words, it allows us to train like we live.
I also believe that training with TRX can ultimately lead to injury prevention. Not only is the core constantly being challenged, but other stabilizing muscles are also called in to action. Often, it is these smaller stabilizing muscles that are not trained effectively and can therefore lead to injury if one is not careful. The fact that many of these exercises are performed standing and that most are multi- joint movements performed in all three planes of motion will ensure that the entire body will be trained effectively. Improved posture is another added benefit that comes from this type of training.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is complex and care must be taken to learn how to use this tool effectively and properly. I could try to explain it within the confines of this article, but believe me, in order to fully understand how it works, it must be experienced in a live setting. Therefore, if you are someone who is interested in training with the TRX Suspension Trainer, I highly recommend either taking a TRX class or hiring a trainer who has been trained in how to work with it.
The fitness world is evolving at a rapid pace into the phenomenon of functional training. TRX training is the next step in that direction and I for one could not be more thrilled about it. Make no mistake- I am not saying TRX is the only way. It is just another tool in the library of fitness and in the end, variety is the ultimate key to seeing results. Traditional lifting and aerobic exercise of course must also be included in a well- rounded fitness program. But this is not a passing craze. TRX is here to stay.
Michael Elder is a former competitive gymnast and has been working in the fitness industry since 1998. He is certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). He can be contacted by email: MichaelElderFitness@gmail.com. He can also be reached through his Facebook business page, Michael Elder: Certified Fitness Professional, or through his website: MichaelElder.com. He is currently available for one on one training sessions.