October 2, 2013
Do you like to work out in the convenience of your own home? Do you enjoy exercising outdoors? Whether you are interested in starting an exercise program or creating new workout options to do at home or in your favorite outdoor space, you might want to consider using an extremely versatile, portable and effective piece of equipment like the TRX® Suspension Trainer (TRX).
Specialized athletes like gymnasts, circus performers and mountain climbers have been climbing ropes or using various suspension apparatus as a form of strength training for years. In fact, a photo on the Oldtime Strongman blog of the U.S. Naval Academy gym from 1899 looks remarkably similar to modern minimalist training studios. This type of strength training remained relatively obscure until Fitness Anywhere, the parent company of the TRX, launched their product in the early 2000s and increased the popularity of the exercise mode known as “suspended body-weight training.”
As an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, the TRX is one of my favorite tools to use with clients because it is completely portable and allows you to do a number of different exercises at any level of difficulty. The fun thing about using a suspension-training device is that the only resistance is your own body weight against gravity. Changing the intensity from easy-to-hard or vice versa simply requires making slight adjustments to one’s body position. For most exercises, the more vertical or the closer to the anchor point you are, the lower the intensity. Simply moving to a more horizontal position or away from the anchor point increases the challenge.
Training with the TRX effectively develops both strength and increases cardiorespiratory endurance. The cool thing is that because you are using your own body weight, your muscle tissue becomes thicker—technically called myofibrillar hypertrophy—as opposed to bigger, which occurs when using standard weight machines. Focusing on strength simply requires doing more challenging exercises for fewer repetitions. Improving endurance involves less-intense exercises for more repetitions and shorter rest intervals.
If you’re looking for a fun but safe and effective option for a home-based workout, I highly recommend giving the TRX a strong consideration. Using the TRX is simple and the home kit includes a workout card and video to help you learn some challenging and fun exercises. You can also follow along to the video featured above for the 10-minute workout I went through with TRX inventor Randy Hetrick!
Looking for even more ways to use a TRX? Check out these four total-body exercises and give this complete TRX workout a try!
Pete McCall Contributor
Pete McCall, MS, CSCS, is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and long-time player in the fitness industry. He has been featured as an expert in the Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Runner's World and Self. He holds a master's degree in exercise science and health promotion, and several advanced certifications and specializations with NSCA and NASM.More Blogs by Pete McCall