Benefits of TRX in Sports Training
By Myprotein Writer Simon Dawes
The beauty of TRX is that it can be utilised by a broad spectrum of people. Its use for athletes and particularly rugby players cannot be understated.
The demands placed on a rugby players body are rather unique in that they must strike a balance between being well muscled and agile. They must be strong through full ranges of motion and have advanced multi-directional strength.
Quite often generic resistance machines such as chest presses and preacher benches are inadequate at providing this. This is where TRX can be extremely useful.
If rugby is your sport try dropping these movements from your resistance routines and replicating them on a TRX. You’ll instantly find you activate more core and work the muscle through a much fuller range of motion, you can also tweak the direction of the movement with simple adjustments to grip, which satisfies the need for multi directional strength.
TRX for SPORTSPEOPLE
So why are TRX workouts useful for a sportsperson?
Firstly, it’s use as a rehab tool is extremely helpful – physiotherapists may want their clients performing certain movements but without the added risk resistance may bring. Therefore, using TRX bands to perform assisted squats can be something that is easily incorporated into rehabilitation frameworks as they don’t offer the same risk as a barbell squat but add an extra degree of difficulty to a conventional bodyweight squat.
TRX prevents injury:
As well as rehabilitating injury TRX can be used to prevent it. Spending some time on TRX as part of a well rounded ‘prehab’ program can be of real benefit in sports with longer seasons. It’s not unusual to find athletes spending a couple of hours a week in their pre season on a TRX, specifically working on joint mobility and proprioception.
These sessions can become extremely challenging (albeit in a different way to lifting weights) and are a refreshing change from the gruelling TRX workouts that take place in pre season.
TRX for Outdoor use:
TRX equipment are perfect for those clubs without gyms looking to add some variety to their training sessions. You can hang them off Rugby posts, football posts and even trees!
TRX is Minimal:
Another huge benefit of TRX is a pretty obvious one – It doesn’t take up much room! Quite often, especially in gyms at sports clubs the free space of the gym floor is fighting a losing battle with squat racks, benches and lifting platforms.
The multitude of movements made capable by the TRX would take up hundreds of square feet on a gym floor in equivalent machines.
Pre-season TRX in Sports training
Ideally, your pre-season will be arranged into a duration of periods so the primary focus to start is ‘prehab,’ then as the weeks pass you can begin using the TRX in a more sport specific way.
I suppose in its most basic sense, it equates to laying foundations then building on them throughout the offseason. Obviously depending on your sport or club your pre season could look slightly different but the important thing is structure and periodisation.
— WEEKS 1 – 5 Prehab —
Testing and strength work
Testing and strength work
Focussing mainly on proprioception and mobility (1 x TRX session per week)
Sessions focus heavily on controlled destabilisation and the reinforcement of muscle firing patterns.
1. TRX REVERSE LUNGE
– 5 sets of 20 (each leg): Take 1 minute rest
This movement offers a slight variation to a standard lunge. More core activation is required as you are slightly destabilised.
a) Stand facing the TRX anchor point and take hold of the handles with a neutral grip.
b) You then take a step back to ensure the TRX is hanging diagonally and is taut.
c) Step backwards with one leg leaving the alternate leg planted firmly. This movement is best done alternately on each leg to create a degree of destabilisation.
Tip: Develop the movement by reaching with the rear leg which creates further controlled instability.
2. TRX JUMPING LUNGE
– 3 sets of 1 minute jumping lunges (alternate legs) – Take 1 minute rest
This is a development of the conventional TRX lunge – performed more dynamically.
a) Facing away from the anchor, place your left foot through both TRX handles leaving your right foot planted
b) Begin the movement by allowing your planted leg to bend (think of a squat) as this leg bends you begin to stretch the foot in the TRX backwards.
c) When your planted leg reaches about 90 degrees, dynamically drive through the heel generating enough power to get you off the ground – this movement comes with a higher degree of risk as you must land on one foot, I recommend you jump no further than a few inches off the floor. You swap legs after 1 minute.
3. TRX CLOCK PRESS
4 alternate sets of 12 – Take 1 minute rest
I highly recommend this TRX sports training movement for Rugby players due to the amount of shoulder stability required. It allows you to get good proprioceptive feedback at the bottom of the movement whilst putting you in a position you will often find yourself in during games. It’s vary rare for contact to occur head on so this movement recreates the ‘reaching’ you will often have to perform during a tackle.
a) Stand facing away from the anchor point with your hands out in front of you in a neutral grip and bend at the elbows to allow your chest to reach your hands.
b) From this position you reach out to the side with your left arm (palm facing away from you) leaving your right arm at it’s starting point – This creates controlled destabilisation and allows you to compensate for the instability using your abdominals.
c) To complete the movement you bring your left hand back to your chest and extend the elbows to finish the press.
Tip: Once you become familiar with this movement you may feel you want to progress it – Try finishing the movement off without bringing the extended arm back to the chest and pressing only through one arm.
— WEEKS 5 – 10 Prehab —
Power Endurance Phase
Power Endurance Phase
Strong focus on improving performance through sport specific movements. (1 x TRX session per week) Inclusion of more explosive movements.
1. JUMPING TRX SQUAT
4 x 1 minute – Take 30 seconds rest
This is a great alternative to a standard bodyweight squat, the movement is performed at high speed and requires dynamism particularly during the upward motion of the squat. The TRX is used primarily to support your body weight through the movement whilst taking impact away from the knees and ankles.
a) Stand facing the anchor point with your arms straight in-front of you at shoulder height
b) Hold the TRX with a neutral grip and lean back slightly (with a straight back) then begin to squat
c) Once you reach your desired depth explode back up through the concentric part of the movement, your aim is to take off before your knees lock out at the top of the movement.
Tip: When landing it’s important to have soft knees to further protect connective tissue around the joint. As a progression try adding a knee tuck after you have left the floor, this will encourage you to be more powerful in the jumping phase to allow enough air time to get both knees up.
2. TRX ATOMIC PRESS UP
4 x 1 minute – Take 30 seconds rest
Again the main focus of this movement is controlled destabilisation. You will activate more core than a conventional press up and in doing so stabilise your self throughout the movement.
a) Start by placing each of your feet through the handles of the TRX, support your body weight with your arms, much like the top part of a press up.
b) Tuck your knees towards your chest – hold this position for a second then return your legs to a straight position.
c) As you return your legs to their starting point, complete a press up.
Tip: To further develop this movement you can complete the press up dynamically aiming to get off the ground slightly.
3. TRX PISTOL JUMPS
4 sets of 20 (alternate legs) – Take 30 seconds rest
This movement is great for developing single leg strength and stability. Again, quite specific to sports like Rugby and Football were agility and multi-directional strength are of benefit to the athlete.
a) The set up is exactly the same as the squat described above – the only difference is during the lowering phase of the squat you use a single leg with the other leg pointed straight out to aid with stability.
b) The non-planted leg then sweeps back as you contract on your way up and generates enough momentum to leave the ground.
c) As you are in the air you transition onto the other leg and repeat the movement. Take care with the landing and ensure your knees are ‘soft’ to avoid any damage to connective tissues.
Take home message
TRX in sports training is certainly effective in season too. It can be used pre-competition to aid in stretching and dynamic warm up and is a great alternative for recovery sessions taking place the day after sport.
As seasons draw to an end why not bear this in mind as your pre season starts… have fun!