This past Sunday I attended an all-day TRX Suspension Trainer Course hosted by Quest Fitness in Guilford, Connecticut. Anytime Fitness has three TRX trainers in its small group exercise room, and I wanted to be proficient with this piece of equipment before attempting to use it on my clients. The course was great. There is always more to explore in this world of fitness, and I love learning about it all! For those who are not familiar with the TRX, I thought I would provide a bit of background information about it.
What is TRX suspension training?
The TRX is a piece of functional training equipment made of two nylon straps with handles that typically hang from one anchor point that is set roughly nine feet off the ground. Randy Hendrick, a former Navy Seal and founder of TRX, developed this trainer as a way to maintain his level of fitness with limited training space and minimal equipment while on duty abroad. The TRX trainer allows you to manipulate your own body weight to perform dozens and dozens of lower body, upper body, abdominal, core, and flexibility exercises. The beauty of the TRX lies in the fact that it can be attached to a door, a tree, a pole, and in a gym setting. This means you can workout anytime and anywhere!
How does suspension training exercise work?
When the body hangs from an anchor point, the body will automatically seek to move in the direction of gravity. For example, if you’re hanging from a pull up bar with two hands, your body naturally wants to move towards the ground. The TRX utilizes gravity to manipulate your body weight during various exercises, truly forcing you to engage your core and use all recruitment muscles possible throughout your workout. Your core is engaged during every TRX exercise due to the instability of the trainer. It adds an amazing challenge to your workouts.
Who can use the TRX trainer?
The TRX trainer is truly adaptable to all fitness levels. Honestly, I think there is no better tool out there to help seriously deconditioned athletes learn to squat, lunge, and engage their muscles. The TRX can help provide stability for these really basic exercises. In turn, based on manipulation of body angles and the positioning of the straps, the TRX can be used for the most elite athletes. It is extremely popular in NBA (see Kevin Durant below), NFL (see Drew Brees below), MLB, and NHL circles, and is certainly seen in many high-level college strength and conditioning programs. It is a single piece of equipment useful for all ages and fitness levels both male and female.
How do I plan to incorporate TRX into my training?
A TRX is my only birthday gift request from my boyfriend, so hopefully in a few weeks I will have one on my doorstep! I have an insanely weak core. I do not like to do core work, and I never have. I’m hoping to use the TRX to improve my own core strength, as well as my body weight strength and conditioning. The TRX would be awesome for super sets as well, since it is extremely easy to transition between exercises. I’ll have to share my workouts with the TRX on the blog when I begin to incorporate it! I also really want to use this with my parents. I think it will be a great tool to help them get in better shape, and improve their strength and mobility.
I thought I would share some highlights from my training course! Here is a picture of Quest Fitness. It was seriously like a TRX playground. The facility had a ton of other equipment as well. You can see some battle ropes in the picture below, but there were kettlebells, Rip trainers, sandbags, dumbbells, and plyo boxes. All that good stuff!
We spent most of the morning on the TRX learning about set up, anchoring, and those dozens and dozens of exercises I mentioned earlier. Our instructor broke up the morning with learning sections on the lower body, upper body, core, and flexibility exercises. The best part was reviewing all the progressions. I was really able to see how incredibly versatile this tool is for all fitness levels.
Our instructor was fantastic! He has been a master trainer for three years now, and travels the area to lead TRX courses. He shared his own personal experience about his first encounter with TRX. After a particular period of burn out with his workouts, he opted to train solely with the TRX for ten weeks. He gave up all his heavy resistance training. He said that after ten weeks he was stronger than ever, and every single one of his lifts went up! While I am sure this would not be the case for everyone, it was still a unique story to hear.
Taking video during the training was actually encouraged since some of the exercises our instructor showed us were not in the training manual. Here is a video of my instructor showing how to progress a very basic TRX squat to a jump squat.
I took another video of my instructor demonstrating a great core progression sequence. I know the lighting is a bit off with these videos, but hopefully you can still get a good visual of what he is demonstrating!
The afternoon was then spent on programming. That part was very fun, since as you all know, I love to program. My group was given the task of creating a workout program for a 40-year old woman named Lois Lane who worked out three times per week and played lots of tennis. We had to come up with seven exercises that might be useful for her. My group came up with a push/pull/rotational exercise circuit. Then, we had to present it to the rest of the groups and demonstrate all the moves and cuing. Two people in our group did not like speaking in public, so I explained the first half of our workout and another trainer in our group explained the second half. I loved this part of the day! It made the afternoon fly by.
I am pumped to play around with the TRX more, and continue to expand my knowledge. This will be a great tool for me both personally and professionally going forward! It was a loooong day, but I am happy to say I am now a qualified TRX Level 1 Trainer.