By Beth Trueman | UK Personal Trainer
The TRX is an underestimated piece of equipment that most people don’t even think to use. When in actual fact it’s a fabulous bit of kit that is simple and easy to use, can be utilised almost anywhere and can be used for a full body workout!
There are many different brands of suspension trainer, TRX being the first and most popular. It was founded in the Navy Seals by Randy Hetrick who came up with the idea whilst looking for an effective way to workout whilst on deployment.
The Benefits of TRX Training
The one thing that I like the most about the suspension trainer is how your core is engaged throughout. It requires your core to always be acting as a stabilizer.
Therefore even when you’re working a completely different body part, your also engaging and strengthening your core.
There are many other benefits to suspension training such as:
✓ Can help improve mobility and flexibility.
✓ Engages the core throughout.
✓ Can help to increases muscular endurance.
✓ Train anywhere with an anchor point
✓ Can helps to build lean muscle.
Setting up your TRX straps
We all know how repetitive and boring our abdominal routines can fall into if we don’t spice it up and add some variety into them. The TRX is brilliant to add some variation into your workouts and a brilliant way to quickly blast your whole core!
1) Firstly lower the straps so they are closer to the floor so you can be in a neutral position. Aim to suspend the handles at around mid calve height. You can perform the exercises resting on your palms or your forearms and depending on this you will need to adjust the height of the straps.
2) Once the straps are in place and both at a even height you can begin by putting your feet into the handles. Look at putting your laces onto the handles, which will secure your feet and stop them from slipping out. The most graceful way to do this is to sit on your knees and lean forward, putting your foot in the handles one at a time.
3) From here, work into a plank position – this is the first exercises and also the basis for all the other exercises. Ensure your bum is comfortable and neutral, if not slightly higher than usual to take any strain off your lower back.
4) Keep all your body tight – whilst concentrating on engaging your core at all times. It may feel weird at first as your legs can swing but focus on stabilizing yourself throughout the movements. Ensure you complete the movements slowly and in a controlled manner to avoid momentum to help with the completion of the movement.
Exercise #1: Plank
✓ Hold the plank position either on forearms or palms whilst engaging and squeezing your core.
✓ Focus on making sure your abdominal muscles are tight and the line of your body is neutral throughout.
✓ Avoid dipping your bum!
Exercise #2: Crunches
✓ Start in the plank position again but this time contract your abdominals, pull through your lower abdominals to crunch in your legs.
✓ Hold that contraction and then slowly return the legs back to the plank position.
✓ Repeat for the allotted time.
Note | Ensure you stop at the top and bottom of the exercises to eliminate momentum taking over from the muscle contraction.
Exercise #3: Pikes
TRX pikes are one of my favorite exercises because they help build a strong core by challenging your stability along with your abdominal muscles.
✓ Press down through your palms and focus on lifting your hips upwards whilst bringing your legs towards your chest.
✓ You are aiming to look like an upside down V shape – or just until as high as you can manage.
✓ Pause at the top – keeping tight, then slowly lower you legs back down to the starting position. Repeat.
Movement tip | Always execute as a slow and controlled movement, remembering to engage your core throughout.
Exercise #4: Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers may look easy but the movement of your legs in the straps can cause you to lose balance, as your legs will naturally want to swing. It is therefore important that you concentrate on keeping tight and stable throughout.
✓ Start in the plank position – contract your abdominals, pull through your lower abdominals to crunch in your leg one at a time.
✓ Hold that contraction and then slowly return the leg back to the plank position whilst bringing the alternate leg through the same process.
Exercise #5: TRX Oblique Crunches
✓ Start in the plank position. Engage your core, pull through the lower abdominals and crunch your knees into your body whilst driving towards your elbows. #
✓ Control the movement and return back to the neutral plank position.
✓ Then repeat the movement pattern to the other side of the body, aiming for the alternate elbow.
Too easy? | If you wish to make the exercise more challenging – focus on performing the oblique crunches for the allotted time to only one side, and then repeat on the other side.
>> This will eliminate the chance of momentum aiding with the movement and ensure your core is working optimally throughout.
Take Home Message
Complete all these exercises for 30 seconds to 1 minute per exercise depending upon your ability and then repeat the circuit for a total of 10 minutes to really feel the burn.