For today’s Tone up Tuesday post I thought I would talk a bit about this TRX class I’m always mentioning. I have been taking a TRX class at my YMCA for the past two months 1-2 times per week, and I’m hooked. Not only do I enjoy the class atmosphere and my fellow classmates (I usually workout solo, it gets boring), but I also love the fast-paced, full body workout that combines cardio and body weight strength training. The first time I attended class, I was drenched in sweat and sore for several days (ohhh, poor booty). I was in love. I’m one of those weirdos that likes some soreness every once in a while- it let’s me know I’m actually challenging myself. So let’s talk more about this magical, mystical workout so I can try to get you hooked on TRX too!
Diagram of TRX Suspension System
So WTF is TRX? TRX stands for Total Rexistence eXercise and is a suspension training system crafted by Navy Seals. Essentially, TRX consists of two adjustable straps with handles that are attached to an elevated, sturdy anchor. These seemingly simple-looking straps carry a shocking $200 price tag. For this reason, many gyms (like mine) only make the TRX system accessible to patrons during organized classes (much to my chagrin). For this reason, the best way to check out this system is to put your brave big girl panties on and take a class.
If you do decide to invest in a TRX system, know that they are highly portable. The straps themselves weigh very little, and they can be attached to any secure surface- inside, outside, etc. I know someone that has one wrapped over a beam in his garage, while others secure theirs over doors or even on tree limbs!
So why does TRX make me say OMG? This suspension training system develops strength, core stability, balance, and flexibility in a single workout. TRX encourages compound exercise movements, i.e. those that work multiple body parts at the same time. Furthermore, one has a great range of motion on the TRX, and multi-planar exercises can be performed that challenge the body in new ways and new angles, challenging not only the large muscles, but also the often-neglected supporting muscles and the core. Many TRX exercises target the user’s flexibility, joint stability, and balance, making it a great workout for those looking to improve range of motion and coordination. Furthermore, it has proven a great rehab for getting “back on my feet” after breaking my foot earlier this year. My agility, balance, flexibility, and explosive power took a hit after my break, even after I started walking and working out again. I credit TRX with helping strengthen my broken foot, and I can now perform pylometric, agility, and balance exercises with ease (though I’m always working on improving!).
So now that we know WTF is it and why it’s OMG so cool, IDK what the heck do I actually do on this torture device/junglegym/swing apparatus?! There are hundreds and hundreds of exercises for the TRX, so I’ll introduce you to some solid basics to try out that won’t leave you upside down or face first on the ground.
Basic Squat and Jump Squat
Are you doing squats? No? Wrong answer. If you want a nice ass and you aren’t doing squats, you’re gonna have a bad time. The basic squat on the TRX is great- really focus on your form, not letting your knees go beyond your toes, and really sinking your butt down to the floor (the lower you go, the higher the booty goes). Once you feel comfortable with the basic squat, take it up a notch with some fat-burning plyometrics and add a jump to your squat! We do a lottttttt of jump squats in class. If you want the booty, you’re going to have to sweat for it!
I love me some chest press on the TRX. Normal chest press? Meh. TRX chest press? Hell yeah! Perhaps I like it because it’s reminiscent of a push up in terms of form, but you really get a nice workout fighting gravity on this one. Drop your chest between your handles until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Want more of a challenge? Step back and create a steeper angle with your body (i.e. closer to being “flat” on the ground vs standing up straight).
Did somebody say push ups?! I loveee push ups, hands down my favorite upper body exercise. TRX push ups are the bomb.com, and have your legs elevated creates an added challenge. For a modified version, you can still keep your knees on the ground- though try the legit version first! It’s really awesome, I promise! Not to mention you’ll feel like a total badass.
Rows- another solid exercise made more fun by the TRX. Again, you can slide forward to create more of an angle with your body to make the exercise more challenge, or stand more vertical to make it easier. Really focus on pinning your arms to your sides as you come up and squeeze your shoulder blades and back muscles together. We’re bringing sexy back. Yep.
Walk the plank, matey, for a strong core. Normal planks too easy and get boring? Try them on the TRX? You’ll really have to work on your core stability to keep your body from swaying when your feet are elevated- stable core, strong core, sexy core.
Once you’ve mastered the standard TRX plank, roll onto one arm and perform a side plank. Due to your elevated and swinging feet, the side plank on the TRX is quite the challenge. Really strengthen your core by focusing on balancing your body over your midline and stabilizing your core to keep from swaying.
There you have it! An introduction to the TRX suspension system and some basic exercises to get your started. Try these out, challenge yourself, and report back for more advanced exercises on the next Tone Up Tuesday! Hopefully the TRX will become your BFF too…. maybe even your booty BFF- BBFF?