As a health professional who often visits clients in their home I have been using the TRX as a part of my training kit for about the past 5 years. The TRX also known as Total Resistance eXercise was invented by Randy Hetrik, a former navy seal who developed the idea of a pair of straps that could be used out on the field to upkeep soldiers’ strength and conditioning training in the absence of a gym environment.
The idea behind the TRX is simple, it leverages a persons own bodyweight along with gravity to perform a number of resistance exercises. You are able to make an exercise more or less difficult by simply adjusting the angle at which you position your body.
Because you are constantly balanced at an angle when using the TRX, it is an extremely effective workout for your core and also helps to improve flexibility and mobility as well as build lean muscle.
Once I use my TRX with clients they often ask me where they can purchase one themselves. It is a lightweight piece of training equipment that can be thrown in a suitcase or even a weekend bag so you can always get a workout in even if there is no gym where you are staying. It comes with a door anchor that allows you to use it behind a door frame or it can be slung over a beam or even a strong branch of a tree.
In this first series I have demonstrated some beginner TRX exercises that work the whole body. All of these exercises can be made more challenging by changing the angle of your body. Keep in mind that the last few repetitions should always be a little challenging. If you are breezing through these movements then you should adjust the angle of your body. Remember adaptation only occurs when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
The TRX squat is performed in the same way as a regular squat. Avoid the urge to want to lean back with your body and use the straps for too much assistance. Keep a little softness in the straps so that you are still using your own core strength to perform this movement. Legs should be about shoulder width apart, weigh yourself into your heels and push the hips back maintaining a chest up position. The TRX is there simply to assist when needed.
TRX Reverse Lunge
Again maintain little softness in the traps with this movement. You want to use the TRX only to assist if you feel you are losing your balance. Take alternating steps backwards keeping the legs at a 90 degree angle and dropping the back knee as close to the ground as possible without allowing it to touch.
TRX Sumo Squat With Shoulder Press
Get your legs wide apart and turn your feet right out, while squatting down in this position bring your arms overhead in a semi circle motion to work the shoulders at the same time.
TRX Wide Arm Row
Keep a small distance between your feet and lean back on your heels gripping the TRX straps firmly in front of your chest. From this position pull yourself up with a wide grip keeping your elbows high and bending your arms to a 90 degree angle and squeezing the shoulder blades together. Try to maintain a strong straight line with your body while performing this movement and do not allow your glutes to drop down or lift yourself by using the lower back. By maintaining a strong midline with your body this will ensure that you use your core muscles maximally.
TRX Chest Press
Angle your body in this opposite direction to perform this movement. Keep a small distance between the feet and this time slightly balance on the toes. Like in the previous exercise, maintain a strong line with your body, not allowing your lower back to arch down or your glutes to stick up in the air. This time lower your body by bringing your arms by the side of your upper chest and bending the arms at the elbow to a 90 degree angle. Push back to start position and fully extend the arms so you activate the tricep.
TRX Tricep Extension
Angle your body as you did for the chest press. You may not need as much of a lean forward as the tricep is a far smaller muscle. The arms should be about 4-5 inches apart in front of your head area. Lower yourself down by bending your arms at the elbow and bringing your wrists as close to your forehead as possible. Finish by pushing your wrists back to start position and remember to keep your elbows tucked in.
The foundation movement for all the core exercises of the TRX is the plank. All other movements that are specifically for the core, are based on being able to perform this movement initially. Start by being in an all fours position on a mat. Gently hook both feet into the lowest stirrup on the straps and then lift the knees off the ground. Like with regular planks try and hold this position for as long a s possible.