Below is a review that I wrote up sometime last year, of a local TRX class in Oakland that I loved. As it turns out, the personal trainer who taught that class is leading a workshop on the ABC’s of TRX! If you’ve ever been curious about TRX, now is the time to try it!
“Roll-out, come back, roll-out, come back, now triceps presses…lean forward with a flat back, arms bent overhead like so, now push back, don’t let your elbows flare out, good, just forty more seconds!”
As I was stretching my arms the day after this workout, I realized that I’d forgotten how intense it could be to isolate one muscle at a time. With the current focus on functional movements, that is, moving the body as a unit instead of breaking it down part by part, it’s easy to forget about the actions of our individual muscles. While it’s true that training multiple muscle groups to work synergistically most closely mimics the movements we do in athletics, if each part of the system is strengthened, then any functional movement will be stronger. You can think of this as cross-training for your cross-training.
The workout I’m referring to above is one involving the TRX suspension system. It’s a portable strength-training device that allows you to leverage your own bodyweight to do both exercises that target individual muscles as well as those that engage your core and multiple large muscle groups. You choose how easy or hard you want to work based on how much body weight you apply. You can buy these for your home use or attend group and/or private classes. You’ll probably fare best with the at-home option if you have a solid foundation in weightlifting technique, knowledge of some anatomy, strong internal-motivation, and access to a mirror to check your form. Taking a class is great if you are not comfortable performing exercises from a chart or video and/or prefer some external motivation.
The personal trainer (or other expert) leading the class can help you set up and adjust the system, check and correct your form, and provide instruction, direction, and motivation. Rocky Patten at the Flying Yoga Shala teaches the class that I’ve been enjoying recently. In between sets on the TRX system, she throws in spurts of cardio…lunges, jumps, jump-rope drills, burpees, and pushups. Those exercises sound torturous to me if I were to have to do them on my own, but I find them fun to do in class with music and a timer, with encouragement, and with a group of fellow sweaty athletes. In one hour or less, you’ll get an amazing, fun workout that leaves you energized throughout the day (and probably a little bit sore the next). Check it out sometime and see if TRX workouts would make a good ingredient to mix up your fitness routine.