What are the Benefits of TRX Training?
There is a huge variety of exercises that you can do with the TRX that will help you gain strength, tone up and add muscle to your whole body.
One of the key selling points of the TRX is its training versatility. The straps can be adjusted so you can perform different exercises and the variations of the exercises can be scaled to your ability.
TRX training is suitable whether its your first day at the gym or whether you are an elite athlete. Watch any training montage of Antony Joshua - 6’6 tall and 250 lbs boxing heavyweight champion of the world- and it will feature exercises with the TRX such as assisted one leg squat or body weight rows.
This is because not only does the TRX improve strength and muscle tone but also improves other athletic qualities such as:
Balance and joint stability
Maximal, explosive and endurance strength
These are all qualities that are essential for sports performance and highlights the diversity of uses there are for the TRX. Here is a video of the Top 25 best TRX exercises for some inspiration.
If that all looks a bit intimidating then check out out this YouTube video of TRX exercises for beginners. Like I say TRX exercises can be scaled for beginners who are looking for some achievable exercises to build a base of fitness, all the way to the elite athlete. Whatever your ability there is a TRX training routine that is suitable for you.
All TRX Exercises are Compound Movements
All the exercise within TRX training system are compound exercises. Compound exercises are movements that engage multiple muscle groups in one exercise.
So for example, with TRX you can do push ups, rows, assisted squats, planks with your feet in the foot cradle etc. All these exercises require all your muscle groups to work together and contribute to the exercise either by generating force or assisting with stability.
Exercising with compound movements is the best way to train for most people, rather then isolation exercises which, as the name suggests, try to isolate and work one muscle at a time. For example, smith machine, preacher curl, peck deck and typically most machine based exercises are isolation exercises.
Compound exercises performed with TRX are better then isolation exercises because:
Time saving. With the TRX you can perform a variety of upper and lower body movements and hit every muscle group with just a few exercises. With isolation and machine exercises you are likely to be hitting one muscle or muscle group at a time. This takes far longer to do and therefore is a far less time efficient workout then using the TRX training system.
TRX Promotes proportional development. As the TRX workouts out multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the muscle and strength you build is going to be far more even and proportional. Performing workouts with the TRX places tension on all muscle groups so that you develop in size and strength without neglecting or over developing certain parts of the body as you can with isolation exercises.
TRX training emphasises and improves other athletic qualities.. such as muscular coordination, mobility, balance and proprioception. This is in part due to the compound movements performed with the TRX but also because of the instability element. Your body is learning and improving your balance and coordination in synergy with your strength training. This leads to overall improvements in athletic performance. Isolation exercises can often lead to reduced mobility and poor flexibility whereas the TRX actively emphasises these qualities.
TRX promotes functional strength for everyday natural moment. The compound exercises of the TRX teaches different muscle groups to work in unison to contribute to overall body movement. Training full body workouts with the TRX ensures different muscle groups are coordinated and work together for more fluid movements. Your body performs better working as one unit and not in isolation in sports and for every day life.
Compound exercises are better for stimulating muscle and strength increases. Working out with the full body movements of the TRX will effectively target multiple large muscle groups all at once, and if trained at the correct intensity, this will stimulate muscle growth and increases in both maximal and endurance strength.
Develop a strong core and 6 pack abs with TRX. Every single exercise with the TRX involves maintaining stability and balance whilst applying strength. This means that your abdominals are always under some tension as the core is one of the key muscle groups responsible for keeping the body stable. There are also countless core specific exercises such as, planks, crunches, pike and mountain climbers that directly target core strength and increase muscle tone. TRX has the best repertoire of exercises for developing a beach ready 6 pack.
Suspension training: Advantages of TRX Instability
One of the distinctive, key features of TRX training is that it is a form of suspension training (much like gymnastic rings training).
The TRX is suspended high from an anchor point with one central strap that divides in a V-shape into two straps with handles and foot cradles on each end.
The unique advantage of this is that the equipment is not fixed into the ground as with conventional training and therefore the body has to stabilise itself to a greater degree throughout the course of the exercise.
This fires up the stabilising muscles in the body, in particular the core and the muscles that surround the shoulder joint (in particular the rotator cuff).
The rotator cuff is group of four muscles that are responsible for the stability of the shoulder so you can raise and rotate your arm in every day life and for stability during pushing and pulling exercises.
The TRX can specifically target and strengthen these stabilising muscles, (with exercises such as rows and push ups etc) in a way that other exercises can’t do as effectively.
Thanks to the TRX V-shaped straps and the fact there is only one overhead anchor point, the instability element of TRX is far more tolerable for beginners then gymnastic rings which has two anchor points (one for each ring).
But whether you consider yourself a beginner or advanced, there is still more then enough of an instability stimulus to challenge the stabilising muscles which transfers into improved performance in other forms of exercise and athleticism.
Adapting to the stimulus of instability, by strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff will ultimately make the shoulders stronger and more resistant to injury.
This directly dove tails into another advantage of the TRX system…
TRX helps to Correct Muscle Imbalances
If you have only trained with weights in the past or perhaps you have’t done much resistance training before, there is a good chance you will have developed some muscle imbalances between your primary movers and your stabilising muscles.
Machine weights such as the chest press, smith machine squat rack or leg press can do an effective job at isolating a specific muscle or muscle group.
However with a machine, the resistance moves along a set the plane of motion and therefore removes any stability element from the exercise (think of a smith machine bench press or squat).
The target muscle will get stronger but the muscles responsible for stability do not increase in strength proportion to the joint or muscle group that they are supporting.
For example, with a chest press your chest and triceps are gaining strength but your stabilising muscles now proportionately much weaker.
This strength imbalance can lead to injury and does not promote the sort of functional strength that is required for sports or in every day movement.
TRX training is essentially the opposite approach to this. With suspension training the user provides the stability for the exercise rather then the equipment.
The muscles responsible for joint and core stability are strengthened proportionally with the exercise you are doing.
The adaptive response to the free moving nature of the TRX is to strengthen the whole body as a unit rather then isolate specific muscles. With consistent training using the TRX you will equalise imbalances in strength between the stabilising muscles and primary movers, for a stronger, more stable and injury resistant body.
Cheaper then the Gym and Saves Time
The estimated average cost of a commercial gym membership in the US is $58 dollars per month. In New York City the average rises to $134.50 per month with many gyms charging considerably more then this. Over the course of a year this could mount up to around $1614 in gym bills if your in a big city.
That is a lot of money to stay fit, healthy and strong on top of other bills and a high cost of living.
It also takes a considerable amount of time in an already busy day to:
Pack a bag and go to the gym
Execute the workout
Commute home again
Post workout meal
Whereas if you have a TRX, you can anchor it safely and easily to a door frame and get in a full body workout in a very short space of time, particularly if you are doing a high intensity workout.
Not only that the TRX itself does not take up much space when you’re not using it and only weighs only 1.6 lbs, so you don’t have to designate a large place to store it, unlike other bulky home gym equipment such as dumbbells.
You can hit every muscle group with the TRX too so it may be the only home gym kit you need to invest in. The TRX branded product is also of a very high quality (unlike poorer quality replica versions which tend to break down quickly) so it can be your own personal gym for decades without degrading in quality. This is important as you are trusting the equipment with your body weight so always go for the official TRX to be safe when your working out.
Being fit and healthy should not cost the earth. You could be saving well over $1000 dollars per year and countless hours of your life in commuting time by getting your workout done at home.
Even if you wish to remain a gym member it is useful to have a TRX as an option for when you are too busy for the gym and for when you have to hit the road for work or on holiday and want to stay active.
Also if privacy is a concern or perhaps your self conscious about working out in public then the TRX is a great choice.
Save money and time with a TRX.
Can be used Indoors and Outdoors
To set up your TRX takes less then 30 seconds to anchor and adjust to your individual height. This is done with a carabina and two adjustable cam buckles to alter the height of the straps.
Thanks to its design you can hang it from any solid anchor point such as a weight rack, trees, climbing frame etc.
To use inside on a door frame is easy too, and you don’t need to buy any extra accessories because even the cheapest version in the TRX range comes with a door anchor. There is no screws or complicated set up with the TRX so to set it up is very simple.
The door anchor is a very clever design that fits any door securely and solid metal anchor is surrounded with padded nylon so that there is no risk of scuffing the paint work on the door or any abrasion mark on your home decor. There is no screws or complicated set up with the TRX.
If your concerned about this check out this YouTube video which shows exactly how to set up your TRX at home or in a hotel with the door anchor with step by step instructions.
The TRX only weighs 1.6 pounds so you can sling it in your suitcase and take it on holiday without it taking up much room in your suitcase or weighing you down. Only, 1.6 lbs in weight for equipment that you can train your whole body with is a great way to stay in shape if you are at home or travelling on the road.
Easier on the Joints
One of my personal favourite aspects of TRX training is that the exercises are very easy on the joints.
This is thanks to the TRX free movement nature of the handles. As the handles are suspended with straps, they are able to move and rotate in any direction.
When you are using the TRX for exercises such as push ups and rows the handles are able to rotate to the most comfortable angle for your joints rather then your joints forced to stay static as with a conventional push up or row.
The equipment adjusts to the body’s natural movement rather then the body adjusting for the equipment so the joints remain healthy and aren’t taxed with every workout.
This will proactively prevent joint discomfort that can occur whilst using more conventional exercises, especially if you are doing a high number of reps, or if you are exercising several times per week.
If you experience wrist pain through push ups or general elbow and shoulder discomfort when exercising then the TRX versions of push ups, rows and planks are a lot easier on the joints so its definitely worth a try.
Advantages over Gymnastic Rings
Features a foot cradle
Gymnastic rings and the TRX naturally have a lot of similarities as they are both forms of suspension training.
However there are some interesting features that distinguish TRX, that are arguably better then gymnastic rings training.
The TRX has a foot cradle where you can comfortably rest your feet, whilst they are elevated off the floor. This opens up the possibilities of different exercises that you can’t do as effectively with gymnastic rings and exercises that are unique to the TRX.
For example, now you can do exercises such as elevated planks, lunges and decline push ups with your feet in a comfortable position.
The fact that you can place your feet in the TRX and not just use your hands adds the element of instability to these exercises for an increase in intensity and a new stimulus for your body to adapt to by becoming stronger and more toned.
The option for more varied and difficult exercises keeps your body and muscles challenged with consistent options of progressively more difficult and interesting workouts.
Doing the the equivalent exercises with gymnastic rings is just not practical as they are not designed for such use and the rings quickly become too uncomfortable on the feet for any reasonable duration of a workout.
Great for Beginners
The TRX is great for men and women of all abilities thanks to the scalable options of the workouts, from beginner to advanced.
The suspension element of the TRX allows for some instability without it being overwhelming as it can be when using gymnastic rings.
Crucially the gymnastic rings are suspended from two separate anchor points (one for each ring). The TRX is hung from one point, but the main adjustable strap then divides into two and the straps are then adjusted for your height or to the optimal height for a specific exercise. This makes the instability much more tolerable and far more practical for a wider variety of exercises.
The TRX gives you the benefits of suspension training without having to devote the time and skill it would take to master gymnastic rings training which is considerably more difficult.
Therefore TRX is a far better option for beginners (and advanced) workouts then gymnastic rings if your are looking for varied workouts rather then developing gymnastic skill, although rings do have many benefits of their own.
So What are the Benefits of TRX Training?
TRX is a great exercise tool that has a diversity of exercises to suit every level from beginner to elite athlete.
The exercises are all compound movements so that you can do a full body workout and develop your strength and muscle proportionally.
The TRX can save you time and money not to mention avoiding the crowds at the gym. Workout any place, any time.
Training with the TRX is easier on your joints thanks to the fact the handles can move and adjust to the angle that is most comfortable for your wrists, elbows and shoulders.
The TRX will naturally help you improve muscle imbalances, particularly those of stabilising muscles that support the joints compared to your primary movers. You’re body’s adaptive response to the instability stimulus of the TRX suspension trainer is to improve your body’s stability by strengthening the core muscles and the muscles that support the shoulder (the four muscles of the rotator cuff).
With TRX training, you not only increase in strength and muscle but also develop, balance and coordination whilst in movement and applying force. This will contribute to improved overall sports performance.
The TRX is only 1.6 lbs so its an entire gym that you can fit in your suitcase and use anywhere there is a door frame or anchor point.