As a runner, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. So, when a friend told me I had to try TRX (total body resistance) suspension training, I wasn’t exactly quick to register for a class. Not because I was scared. Rather because I didn’t want to “waste” an hour of my precious time if I wasn’t going to get a good workout.
Well, I didn’t get a good workout from TRX – I got a great workout.
As soon as I walked into the studio I saw these long straps with two handles hanging from the ceiling. The instructor told me to grab onto the handles and face the “anchor point”. I didn’t know what an anchor point was, I started off holding the handles incorrectly, and as soon as we started our warm-up sequence, my muscles screamed. I was totally out of my element and had no idea how I’d survive an entire class. I loved every minute of it!
TRX suspension training is a form of strength training using suspended nylon ropes that allow you to work against your own body weight. TRX was developed by Navy Seals in 1990s who were looking to get a total body workout in a small space.
The TRX is a long piece of rope with two moveable handles on the end. The middle of the rope is securely attached to a structure so it doesn’t move – this is called the anchor point. To do the workout, you engage your core and do traditional strength training moves – like squats, rows, and planks – while holding onto the handles in different positions to target specific body parts. You increase and decrease the resistance by moving your body closer to and further away from the anchor point.
TRX can be done at home (using an at-home TRX kit similar to this one) or through a class at a gym or fitness studio taught by a certified instructor. The workout is completely customizable. There are specific classes for runners, baseball players, and seniors, just to name a few.
Doing TRX regularly can strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, improve balance, aid in weight loss, and boost your running performance. The workout is especially beneficial for the abs and back because all movements require the core muscles to be engaged. TRX training can also help ward off injuries by evening out muscle imbalances that occur from running.
Perhaps best of all, TRX training stops your body from plateauing. There are hundreds of exercises you can do, and you can take the intensity level up or down based on your fitness level – so your body is always guessing.
For instance, in my class, we started with a regular squat. Then we moved on to one-legged squats and eventually a one-legged squat with a jump (I could only make it through a handful of reps of the latter – talk about tough). We also did planks with our feet secured in the handles. At first, we faced away from the anchor point – and the planks were challenging but doable. But then we turned towards our anchor point, and I couldn’t even hold the plank for more than a couple of seconds.
Any TRX fans out there? I’ll definitely be back – I was sore for three days after my first class!