TRX Suspension Training

Ann Angell demonstrates the TRX Suspension Training system.

Ann Angell/Special to the Star

TRX Suspension Training: It’s what I wanted to do more of in 2017.

I have done some, but need to be doing more. Why? Because it is an excellent way to gain strength and function for your whole body.

What the heck is the TRX Suspension Training anyway? TRX stands for “Total Resistance Exercise.” You know it must be an awesome tool because a Navy SEAL invented it.

Randy Hetrick is the man who dreamed up this ingenious way to work out with straps connected to a super-stable wall, pole or even a tree. Plus the straps roll up into a small ball so you can go anywhere with them.

Suspension training was invented out of necessity to keep the Seals in “physical readiness” for anything. TRX Suspension Trainer systems came onto the market in 2005 and have been tried and tested in many fitness establishments, including the YMCA. Many facilities have classes devoted just to TRX Suspension Training.

The great thing about suspension training is that it challenges you to think in many different planes. For instance, a push-up on the floor feels completely different than a push-up with suspension straps. The floor doesn’t move, but the straps do.

Depending on the placement of the wall connector, you can do pushups in midair at many different angles. The straps are continually moving so they recruit many more muscles.

Depending on foot placement, you can make the push-ups easy to difficult.

Other typical exercises that can be transferred over to the straps are planks (straps and handles can go on feet, too), pikes, mountain climbers, squats, one-legged squats and rows.

This workout is a superb way to functionally train because it is quite a challenge for the core. The core gets fully worked, and at the same time your balance is challenged.

You can do yoga poses, Pilates moves as well as a perfect squat.

The straps can also be used for deep stretching.

At all times, part of your body is on the floor. You are not truly suspended. If the straps are in your hands, then your feet or toes are on the floor. If your feet are in the straps, then your hands or forearms are on the floor.

Many people have called this type of training “yoga on ropes.”

It has become extremely popular with fitness directors and personal trainers all over the world because it is such an awesome full-body workout, but also because it is so portable and easy to set up. You can take 10 of these units to the park and have a boot camp.

The suspension trainer also helps remind us of alignment. Because of the strap angles, you can utilize the angles of your joints so they are as protected as they should be.

You can purchase one of these kits for about $100-$150, depending on the types of connectors for different angles.

Safety should always come first in fitness, so make sure you are connected a very secure wall, tree or flagpole. Where you choose to connect will determine the angle you will be working at – medium or high.

Make sure to consult a trainer to get a good feel for how suspension training works. There are also good videos online from the inventor.

Suspension training is a great way to think outside the box, which will ultimately help you to be more functionally fit.

Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer and  manager of the Oxford YMCA. Her fitness column appears the third Sunday of each month.