When you see the letters TRX placed beside one another, you might start to guess at what the letters stand for. Like me, you will probably stop once you get to the letter ‘X’ because not a whole lot of fitness related words begin with the letter ‘X’. In fact, not a whole lot of every day words begin with the letter ‘X’, either.
Surprisingly, it is not supposed to stand for the number 10, either. Before TRX became an international fitness tool, it started as the “Travel X”, a self-made piece of equipment invented by a Navy Seal who wanted a solution to getting in a workout on the go. Fourteen years after its humble beginnings of being sold out of the trunk of a car, it has become one of the most functional and popular training tools in the fitness industry. (For more on the history of the TRX Suspension Trainer, go to the website https://www.trxtraining.com/our-history).
Today, the TRX Suspension Trainer, or TRX for short, is a familiar piece of equipment found in gyms around the world and has even trickled into many homes due to its easy set-up and portability. Better yet, the TRX takes up little space because of its suspension mechanism. While other pieces of equipment typically sit on the ground, the TRX is suspended from either a ceiling or wall mount so that it takes up no floor space.
Not only is the TRX sought after for its ability to mount nearly anywhere, the real selling point stems from the results that are produced when training with it! Because the TRX uses nothing but body weight and gravity as resistance, the ability to use it as a training tool becomes possible for populations of people who do not prefer lifting, or who simply want a break from the weights while still getting benefits like increased strength and endurance. Those who do prefer weight lifting can find great benefits in using the TRX as well when used as a mobility warm-up tool or even an asset to their stretching routine. The idea behind the TRX is really simple, and getting a full body workout is possible for any fitness level – whether you’re an elite athlete or even someone who suffers from chronic knee pain.
Personally, I love introducing people to the TRX because they often are able to perform exercises with it that they may not be able to do on their own. For example, when someone has trouble going into a full squat due to knee pain, being able to have them hold the TRX handles while going into a squat position allows them to put some of that force on the TRX rather than directly onto the knee. Over time, being able to rely less and less on the straps will allow for a full squat without the dependence on the TRX!
There are other ways to progress on the TRX, too. Progression with the TRX can be done by stepping closer to the anchor point, which decreases the angle from your body to the ground; increasing the gravity acting against you. Another way to increase the intensity is by eliminating sources of stability, like balancing on one leg instead of two, or putting the handles into single strap mode. For more information or demonstration, check out our Facebook Live video where we take you through a couple of our favorite TRX exercises!
In a study conducted by researchers at Western State Colorado University, 16 healthy people between the ages of 21 and 71 participated in an 8-week study to determine the long-term effects after using the TRX 3x a week for an hour each session. The results showed improvements in areas of health and fitness including muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility while also reducing metabolic rates like blood pressure and decreasing body-fat percentage (Smith, 2016).
If you want some beginner exercises to try on the TRX, check out the video below, or try one of our 3 varying levels of TRX classes! I would love to help you find some exercises that you love, so please do not hesitate to attend one of our TRX group trainings – and be on the lookout for new TRX classes being added to our fitness schedule (just in time to try out our new TRX set-up in The Zone!)
References: American College of Sports Medicine (2014). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.