If you haven’t heard the word TRX at your gym yet, you are likely to soon.
TRX stands for total body resistance exercise. The TRX system utilizes a strap and two handles hooked to a stationary device. Feet or hands are put into the strap handles, and body weight is used to complete exercises and develop strength. For example, to perform a push up, feet are placed into the handles and hands are placed on the ground.
According to Jimmy Violand, TRX suspension offers weight training without the weights. Violand is a personal trainer at the Rio Sport and Health Club in Gaithersburg, Md., and was one of the first trainers at the gym to coach a TRX team. Not only does Violand act as an instructor, but he has also been using the TRX system to prepare for a body building competition in April.
The classes at the gym are structured as a team. The team meets twice a week for an hour, for 6 weeks. Each session progresses in difficulty. Team members are encouraged to motivate each other throughout the workout, and take an active roll in counting our repetitions.
Each class begins with stretching on the TRX system. Then, the class moves off of the device for a cardiovascular warm up utilizing exercises such as jumping jacks, speed skaters, and up downs. The team then moves back to the TRX system for the first round of exercises that could be anything from push ups, bicep curls, or squats to side planks and sit ups. The class moves up a pyramid that increases in intensity and number of repetitions, and then works its way back down. Between each set, the team moves off of the TRX system to perform more cardiovascular exercises for about 3 minutes. The class ends with more stretching to cool down and a TRX “break down” as trainer Violand calls it.
Team member Jason Phillips recently ran a marathon and said, “I firmly believe that if I hadn’t done TRX in advance of the marathon, I wouldn’t have been able to complete it.” He said he also plays racquetball and has noticed an improvement in his game since beginning the program.
Another team member, Kevin Wales, said “TRX is a lot better than the other classes because you go at your own pace. If you want to make the exercise harder you lean into it a little more and it is harder. You use your own body weight. It is much better than having a whole group of people doing the exact same thing with the exact same resistance.”
Wales has been participating in the TRX program at the Rio Sport and Health Club since it began last October. He said that it keeps his body toned, and he has noticed an increase in his energy level during the day and he sleeps better at night. He said one of his favorite exercises, and one of the most challenging, is the atomic push up. It is a push up using the TRX straps with a crunch in the middle (bringing the legs to the chest).
The TRX craze flared in fitness clubs on the West Coast when personal trainers began using the system with their clients. However, the TRX program is now gaining in popularity on the East Coast. The TRX website offers a trainer and facility search page to help to find trainers using the TRX system.
Navy Seal Randy Hetrick developed the original TRX with parachute webbing so he and his teammates could stay in shape while away on missions. Today’s system weighs less than 2 lbs., so it can easily be taken anywhere.
For people that prefer to workout in the privacy of their own home, hotel room, or even in a park, the TRX straps are available for purchase with an instructional video.