Have you ever wondered what those strange-looking yellow and black straps are at the gym? I did too. When I first became a personal trainer, I was a bit intimidated by the TRX Suspension Trainer – the proper name for those funky nylon ropes. Allow me to share why I learned to love the versatility and benefits offered by TRX in my comprehensive review of TRX Suspension Trainers, as well as touch on the benefits of suspension training, a comparison of TRX models, and basic safety tips.
What is TRX?
TRX is short for “total body resistance exercise.” It’s a suspension training system developed by Navy SEAL Squadron Commander Randy Hetrick as a way to keep his troops in fighting form during long deployments.
Suspension training utilizes straps firmly fixed to a ceiling, door, or other sturdy object, handles, and foot loops to assist in a variety of suspended bodyweight movements to challenge exercisers’ balance, strength, coordination, and stability. The original TRX prototype was fashioned from a martial arts belt and parachute webbing, but today’s version is more streamlined. The remarkable ability of TRX training to challenge the body with minimal equipment remains unchanged.
Why I Love TRX
One avid user found 75 different exercises that can be performed with a TRX trainer and says he’s still continuing to discover new ones. As a personal trainer, I love finding equipment that can be used in a variety of ways. Not only is TRX great for strength and stability, I use it to challenge my clients’ cardiovascular endurance – they hate when I say it’s time for TRX jump squats! Then at the end of a tough workout, TRX can also be used to assist in stretching.
Best of all, my clients are always looking to target the abdominal muscles and this equipment’s ability to strengthen and stabilize the core muscles is unparalleled. This is due to the abdominal recruitment and stability required throughout each TRX exercise. This makes suspension training great for toning the abdominal muscles, improving posture, and promoting a strong, healthy back.
TRX suspension training utilizes your own bodyweight, which means you’re engaging your overall body as opposed to only focusing on one muscle group. For example, when you’re using a leg extension machine, the quadriceps muscles are working, but most of the body remains relatively relaxed. Conversely, during the dynamic bodyweight movements you perform with TRX trainers, the entire body is working synergistically, improving overall strength and burning more calories than most traditional exercises.
As a personal trainer, I am fond of the portability and lightweight of TRX trainers too. They’re great for use in gyms of all sizes. My clients can also purchase TRX trainers for home use, even if they live in a small apartment, to give them a good workout when they can’t get to the gym. I recommend the TRX GO, which is a basic version of the TRX Suspension Trainer geared towards home exercisers.
Despite being a personal trainer and having consistently exercised for more than a decade, TRX never fails to leave my muscles screaming. There’s always a new movement or varied position to increase the intensity and leave me feeling sore the next day.
Types of TRX Trainers
TRX suspension trainers come in four basic models:
TRX GO: Created for use while at home or traveling, this model is considered a “light-weight, entry-level” suspension trainer that is perfect for beginners. TRX GO comes with 2 printable workout plans.
TRX HOME: This model is the company’s best-selling suspension trainer. The TRX HOME set includes everything you need to suspension train at home or while traveling. Plus, TRX HOME includes 7 printable workouts and 6 video workouts to get you started.
TRX PRO: This model is the heavy-duty version often used in public gyms. TRX PRO includes 12 printable workouts, 9 video workouts, and 3 anchoring devices.
TRX TACTICAL: This model can also be used in public gyms and comes in a unique army green color. TRX TACTICAL includes 3 anchoring options and unlimited access to a smartphone app offering randomized workout plans, fitness tests, workout videos, and a timer.
Who Should Avoid TRX
Though TRX was invented for Navy Seals, it can actually be used for all fitness levels. I often use TRX to help new exercisers perfect their squatting form. Most TRX movements can also be modified by shifting positions to make them more or less challenging. As a certified personal trainer, I assist my clients in finding the right modifications and exercises for their personal fitness levels.
TRX suspension training is an amazingly versatile workout system, but it’s not right for everyone. Those with joint issues (shoulder, knee, and hip) should consult a doctor before attempting suspension training, as many movements place pressure on the joints. Suspension training can stress the lower back, and those with back conditions should always seek medical guidance before using TRX trainers. Lastly, TRX requires balance. For those struggling with medical issues that affect balance, such as vertigo, it would be wise to avoid this type of exercise.
The Final Word in My Review of TRX Suspension Trainers
TRX is a versatile workout system that is excellent for improving strength, balance, stability, and coordination. This training system can be used in a variety of ways for all fitness levels. However, regardless of fitness level, a personal trainer should always be consulted before beginning a TRX program, as this type of exercise is vastly different than traditional programs and good form is critical to preventing injury. Even after perfecting your form, it is always wise to perform TRX movements near a mirror, so you can ensure that proper form is maintained, protecting your back and joints. With careful attention to form and proper instruction from a certified personal trainer, TRX training can deliver amazing results and make a great addition to your fitness routine.here.