Last summer, I went on vacation with my family, and instead of using the time as an excuse to forget about my fitness routine, I discovered a new way to use one of my favorite pieces of workout equipment: TRX.
I had seen videos online of people using TRX in parks, so was happy to have something to motivate me to exercise outdoors, even on a weekend trip! TRX suspension training straps are lightweight, easy to transport, and versatile for most exercise programs.
While getting certified to teach TRX earlier this year, I learned that the straps were invented by a Navy Seal, who wanted to help his team stay fit while living in close quarters. The original model was made from a Jiu-Jitsu belt and parachute webbing! When our gyms closed for the pandemic, I realized TRX was a great skill to keep learning and sharing- not just for athletes or secret agents, but for a variety of general fitness and health goals.
When I first heard about suspension training, I didn't know what it was. The straps seemed complicated, like something only professionals would know how to use. To be honest, it all seemed a little "extra."
When I started working with older adults as a personal trainer, I quickly realized some of the benefits of using TRX for their workouts. The straps are great for supporting balance during basic movements like squats, lunges, rows, and stretching. Since the user has complete control over how much resistance is added to each exercise, TRX teaches body awareness, coordination, and intuitive movement.
I quickly began playing with TRX for my own workouts at gyms that offered them. Online videos introduced me to some of their basic moves, and I enjoyed the challenge of learning something new! TRX especially helped me focus more on my back strength and shoulder mobility, something I had neglected in my own routine for years as a runner. The basic row technique was easy to progress from standing to a more challenging position, like a single-arm row or inverted row. I had fun creating my own circuits too, combining different moves for both the upper and lower body.
Using the foot straps offers new ways to challenge the core, legs and upper body. I learned how to do mountain climbers, planks, pikes, and push-ups with my feet elevated, which really builds stability and endurance across muscle groups. Like I said, it's a good way to work the shoulders!
Some instructors integrate TRX into yoga too. I am still working up to doing a TRX-supported handstand and am inspired to keep growing my skills, seeing people post creative flows online.
When I ordered a set of TRX straps to use at home, I chose the door anchor option. With a rented apartment, I didn't want to drill any holes in the wall or ceiling. The door anchor is simple to attach and move around, and it works well in my office space!
What makes it easy to travel with TRX is the other strap that comes with it: this setup is made to attach to a pole, tree, or bar that can hold body weight. After we wrap the anchor strap tightly around the base, the main carabiner clips onto the loop. The straps are made to support up to 350 lbs.
Wherever we set up TRX, we need to test and re-check the anchor before starting our workout. I learned this the hard way, after forgetting to secure my carabiner once and falling on the hard gym floor!
Still, research shows that TRX is one of the safest and most effective ways to train the mid-back without stressing the low back, an area where some people already have injuries or that they worry about straining. For this reason and others described in this post, I love introducing TRX to my clients and friends, and I plan to keep using it during lockdown and beyond!