If there is one area in fitness that has just about as many scams and rip-offs as “miracle diet pills” it’s “weird work out gear.” From Shake Weights to Thigh Masters, we’ve all seen the TV Ads and infomercials promising amazing results with “just minutes a day.”
Most of the time the only weight you lose with these products is the lightening of your wallet!
But when the TRX Strength training system was featured on “The Biggest Loser” and endorsed by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, I thought, here is a simple home workout device that may actually live up to the hype!
Looking at the TRX, it’s easy to sneer and lump it together with other simplistic looking devices that are long on promises and short on results. It is merely two nylon straps with handles on them and is used anchored to a door, wall, etc. But unlike similar looking rubberized “exercise bands” – that achieve their modest results through resistance training – the TRX accomplishes much more by using something known as “suspension training” to strengthen core muscle groups and build lean muscle mass.
What Is Suspension Training?
With TRX Suspension Training, the bands themselves do not expand and contract like resistance bands; instead your bodyweight – up to 1400 lbs—suspended from the TRX provides the workout. The bands allow you to do multiple reps of core strengthening activities, using your body weight as resistance, that you could not do as well, or as many reps, without the help of the TRX. Specifically, push-ups, squats, lunges, as well as dead-lifts, chest presses — just about anything you can do on typical exercise machines.
The TRX was invented by a former Navy SEAL to keep his team pumped, primed and ready, while deployed. So it is no wonder that it has been embraced by the military. According to Department of Defense statistics, use of the TRX system by forward troops across all branches of the military has shown a 50% increase in physical job performance in tasks such as forced ruck-sack marches, obstacle courses, and other physical training tests, and more than an 80% decrease in stress and strain related injuries, as compared to those not using the TRX in training.
Fire-fighters, SWAT Teams, and other law-enforcement agencies swear by the TRX for the same reasons, as do personal trainers and professional athletes such as UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, former NFL running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Mixed Martial Arts Champion Bas Rutten.
How to Use the TRX
There are almost a limitless number of exercises you can do with the TRX. The real beauty of the device is every movement you do with the TRX is also challenging your core strength and balance. It is progressive — the more you “lean” during exercises, the more body-weight resistance you use, and the less you lean, the less body-weight resistance you employ. So you can easily vary the intensity of your workout, and it gives you the ability to strengthen every major muscle group with one piece of equipment.
When you purchase the TRX, it comes with a DVD loaded with routines to follow for the beginner up to the pro-athlete.
TRX classes are springing up in gyms all over, and you can likely find one near you if you want to check it out.
Who Should Use It?
While pro athletes and military Special Ops are singing the praises of the TRX, what is great about the system is that it provides an intense, real workout that is totally scalable. Which means an all-pro linebacker, or a senior citizen who just wants to strength train for increased stamina and conditioning – can both get the workout they want and need – from the same device!
The Bottom Line
TRX Suspension Training consistently does what it claims. You can work a variety of muscles in all ranges of motion, you can tailor your workouts to your particular needs and goals, it’s fun to do, it allows you to get creative, and push yourself past your limits. For all of these reasons and more, I give the TRX Suspension Training a positive review.