By: Jason Lewis
When it comes to athletic training, TRX has everybody covered. From the elite athletes to the occasional athlete, everybody can greatly enhance their fitness level by using the suspension training that TRX developed.
TRX was invented by Randy Hetrick while he was performing active duty with the Navy Seals. He needed to maintain his core strength and mobility, but he did not have access to a gym while in the field. Using a karate belt and parachute webbing, he developed a system that can be easily transported, used in close quarters, and engages all of the major muscle groups through functional training.
Even though it was developed for close quarters, its reach has extended much further. Nearly every professional and college team uses TRX, as well as boxers and UFC fighters. For elite athletes, TRX has become an important part of their workout routine, as they mix it in with their weight training sessions.
“Professional athletes still need to go through their weight training, or their power and strength-training phase,” said Dan McDonogh, Senior Manager of Training and Development at TRX. “A lot of the athletes that use TRX use it as a piece of the puzzle. Not as a replacement to everything else. You can use it in place of everything else, but what a lot of athletes find is that when they do their core training on the suspension trainer, they are finding that their bench presses and their squats go up because they have more stability in the shoulders and more stability in the hips. So it can be very beneficial when transferring to power lifting or weight training. It’s great cross training between the two.”
TRX requires the athlete to only have one anchor point, either the feet or the hands, on the ground, with the other anchor point being supported by the TRX. This creates instability where the person has to use stabilizer muscles to prevent the body from rotating recruiting more muscle fibers, and activating certain muscles that are not normally used in certain exercises.
On a normal push up, with both the feet and hands on the ground, the chest, shoulders, and triceps are getting just about all of the work. Because the ground is stable, the body can easily balance itself. But with the TRX, the straps that are suspended from above are not stable. Performing a push up now requires the abdominal muscles and glutes to become engaged in the exercise.
“This is really beneficial for athletes who need to work in unstable environments, because that’s what they face in everyday sport,” McDonogh said.
TRX works the entire body, and it improves overall athletic performance by enhancing speed, quickness, and agility.
“Once people have more stability and mobility through the hips, it allows them to react quicker,” McDonogh said. “First step acceleration is very important. When training on the TRX your body has to react to the instability as quickly as possible.”
As great as this piece of equipment is for the elite athlete, is can be a vital piece of equipment for many people who are simply looking to improve their fitness level to compete in weekend sports or to perform everyday tasks.
“For somebody who goes to the gym and just jumps on a weight machine or just picks up some dumbbell, they aren’t getting the best benefit in training for life,” McDonogh said.
For the weekend warrior, the TRX will improve athletic abilities for anybody competing in pick-up basketball games, adventure races, soccer, flag football, and several other sports.
“In the Tough Mudder, you’re dealing with a ton of instability through the ankles,” McDonogh said. “You want to make sure you have a lot of mobility in the hips, so that they are not getting injured when they are jumping over things or running up hills. People who are weekend warriors, the suspension trainer is a great tool because it really replicates what they will be doing in their sport.”
McDonogh also points out that women are getting the results that they are looking for by using the TRX because it does not build muscle mass, but instead tones the muscles that they already have. This is a piece of equipment that everybody can use.
“My mother or (New Orleans Saints quarterback) Drew Brees, who uses TRX on a daily basis, can use the exact same gear, and modify the exercises based on their level of ability,” McDonogh said.
One of the greatest attributes about the TRX is that it is easy to transport. It weighs two pounds, it is easy to pack, and it can be used just about anywhere. It can be used at home, the gym, a park, and even in a hotel room for people who travel a lot.
Whether working out at a gym, at home, or outdoors, TRX can be used anywhere benefitting and improving performance for just about anything athlete.