TRX a suspension training method, is not a novel exercise form. It has been around for years. Created for the US military by a navy seal in 1997. Suspension training was designed so people could sustain fitness with little equipment anywhere, any time. The TRX equipment is designed to be hung from doors, trees or from beams. It is designed to use your body weight and gravity as the resistance.
Like all training forms, TRX training can be modified in complexity to targeted goals like strength, muscle development, toning and power. For healthy training, the entire body should be trained in equal amounts to avoid muscle imbalances that can contribute to injuries. With TRX training this can easily be done.
The aim of TRX is to train the entire body in a short period of time, targeting core muscles while also training our global moving muscles.
Instability resistance training
TRX training or suspension training is a method of training that not only requires little equipment it also make you work harder. It is a version of instability resistance training (IRT). Meaning there is instability that the body has to control. IRT has shown to make the body work harder and challenging the body by improving muscle control. It helps work the stabiliser muscles in the body. This training is suggested to be useful for lower back pain and recovery from injuries such as ACL tears of the knee (Behm & Colado 2012, Behm & Colado 2013).
6 great TRX suspension training exercises worth trying
1. Single leg TRX squat
A single leg squat is a great way to get an all leg work out and getting the stabilizers to work including your major muscles. You can use the TRX / suspension trainer to just assist your balance or you can pull yourself up as you come out of the squat, working your arms as well.
The exercise is done by lifting one leg off the ground holding onto your TRX handles with tension on the suspension trainer. You then perform the squat on the planted leg, trying to keep good lower limb alignment.
2. TRX push up
The TRX push up adds that extra degree of instability making it harder for you arms. The advantage of TRX is that you can alter how close your body is to horizontal which changes the amount of effort you have to deal with.
To perform the TRX / suspension trainer push up put your feet on the ground hold the hands lean forwards as much as you can handle then perform the push up.
3. TRX Row
As with the TRX push up, the TRX Row adds that extra degree of instability which makes it harder for you arms. The advantage of TRX is that you can alter how close your body is to horizontal which changes the load or amount of effort you have to deal with. For more challenging styles you can widen your grip, making it more difficult that using bars. This was you have to use your own effort to keep your body horizontal. Also, the closer your body is to horizontal the harder it is for you.
With feet on the ground and your back to the ground, hold the handles and pull your chest towards the handles, pinching your shoulder blades together as you go.
4. TRX Bridges
A great way to work your buttock, hamstrings and core. Extra difficulty can be added by performing the bridge with your feet positioned further away from you. Single leg bridges also make it more difficult.
Laying on you back with your feet in the TRX loops. With your knees bent push you buttock into the air.
5. TRX plank bicycles
A great way to work the core, leg and arm muscles. This exercise can be done in combination with other exercises such as a push up. Increasing difficulty is easy to attain by putting a balance disc under your hands.
Planking on your hands or elbows, with your feet scooped into the TRX loops. While holding your upper body tight, alternate pulling a leg towards your head and bending at the knee and hip.
6. TRX Bulgarian split squat
A great exercise to work on lower limb control through full range. It is also very useful as a hip flexor stretch. This is a far more challenging exercise then the single leg squat.
Start with one leg in the TRX loop behind you and the other foot flat on the ground. From an upright position, squat and allow your back leg to move backward. Go down until you feel a stretch on the hip flexor. Aim to keep your torso straight throughout the movement.
Why not give it a go.
In conclusion, if you haven’t already realised it, TXR / suspension training is easy to perform anywhere. Most of all, it can be used to challenge all different fitness levels. Not only can it challenge everyone, it is a great method of improving overall strength and control of the body.
Behm, D. & Colado, J.C, (2012), ‘Clinical commentary: The effectiveness of resistance training using unstable surfaces and devices for rehabilitation.’ The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.
Behm, D. & Colado, J.C, (2013), ‘Instability resistance training across the exercise continuum’: Sports Physical Therapy.