TRX Suspension Training

TRX is a suspension training device that we are all familiar with at this stage I’m sure. It is a fantastic piece of kit that we incorporate frequently with out clients here in Ratoath Physiotherapy. In case you didn’t know (as I didn’t until I started this blog piece) TRX actually stands for total-body resistance exercise. The TRX and the majority of the basic suspension exercises we do with the TRX were the brainchild of a Navy Seal, born out of the necessity for keeping in shape during deployments.

The principles are simple with the TRX, hang it up, grab the stirrups, and work your body against gravity to achieve strength gains. By simply shifting the angle of your body you can make exercises more or less challenging by increasing / decreasing leverage of body weight and gravity. Ultimately you are in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise. This makes the TRX the perfect piece of equipment for people of all fitness levels. 

Additionally, the convenience of the TRX is also undeniable. The TRX can go and be used anywhere, and is ready to go in a matter of seconds, whether it is hanging if from the comfort of your bedroom door or securing it to a pole or tree if you want to get outside. It comes in a small mesh bag that takes up very little room in travel bags and is quiet light weight. As a result it is super easy to take with you on your holidays or work travels.

Training effects

Resistance

Having worked previously as a personal trainer the traditional approach to resistance training years ago was weight training programs that divided the body into its main muscle groups (chest, back, legs) and trained them individually. This was a particularly easy un-convoluted approach that helped to minimize the risk of injury particularly for beginners dipping their toes in resistance training for the first time. This approach however was always quite monotonous and in truth probably not ultimately the most efficient way to gain the most appropriate type of strength for the average joe.

Isolation strengthening of a muscle when executed properly can yield some nice muscle growth that is particularly useful for aesthetic appearances (think bodybuilders) or for effectively targeting strength gains in a desired muscle following a muscle strain (think sport rehab). However, in sport and every day life itself the demands on our bodies are quite different and the limitations of isolated machine based resistance exercises become quite apparent. The truth is we require our bodies to move in many different directions or planes of motion (frontal, sagittal, transverse), utilizing many muscles in symphony to effectively and efficiently create the desired movement outcome. 

Performing exercises in machines while sitting or lying down does have certain advantages as previously mentioned, however, it does lessen the opportunity to develop postural and stabilizing muscles that are vital for effective movement. The advantage of the TRX in this case is that it forces demands on the system to work in many different planes of motion, engaging the whole body, forcing the participant to control and strengthen the body’s stabilizing muscles. 

As a consequence, the TRX can be utilized to help promote multi-dimensional motor patterns and ensure the body is not just constantly challenged in the sagittal plane (i.e. front to back) think squats, seated knee extensions, seated shoulder press. This can help to develop a more rounded resilient strength base in many planes for the individual that could reduce muscle imbalances.

Core

TRX Suspension Trainer exercises constantly challenge your core. The work load required of the core muscles can be simply decreased by setting your feet wider apart, and to increase it, you can step your feet closer together or lift one foot.

Most movements with the TRX require you to brace or stabilize with your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles so you can leverage your own body weight as resistance. Unlike machine based equipment were the movement can be performed in only one direction effectively isolating the desired muscle/s, the majority of TRX exercises are functional movements that can help you increase your overall core stability and strength.

A recent study conducted by researchers in Spain aimed to shed some light on which instability training device does the best job at making push-ups into a more challenging full-body workout.

In the study, subjects performed push-ups on the floor; on a wobble board; on a stability disk; on a fitness dome; and using a TRX suspension trainer. Although the researchers found no significant differences between floor push-ups and unstable push-ups when it came to shoulder activation, each of the instability devices yielded increased activation levels in core, lower back, and leg muscles that were significantly higher than floor push-ups, and the TRX suspension trainer was found to exert the highest activation levels in the aforementioned muscle groups. 

Cardio / Plyo

Plyometrics are another important training effect to target. Due to the inherent nature of a plyometric exercise being explosive, requiring speed, quickness, power and proper biomechanics they are mostly used to train athletes or highly fit individuals. These type of exercises typically require high force and can be tough on the lower-extremity tendons and joints, especially the knees. It is this reason why intense plyometrics are not recommended for novice exercisers. However, with the TRX we can incorporate low level plyometrics for almost all clients where by the the upper limbs help offload and reduce impact on the joint and tendons by simply holding the straps of the TRX. 

Conclusion

The TRX is an incredibly useful and versatile exercise tool that can help you achieve multiple training goals or desired fitness outcomes. And with any number of exercise videos online for TRXs you will not get bored and stuck in the same exercise routine. We have plenty of TRXs in stock if you are ready for the TRX challenge. Additionally, if you have any queries about set up or guidance if you plan on purchasing a TRX just give us a shout here and we will gladly walk you through everything involved.

Yours in Health and Fitness

Ratoath Physiotherapy.

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