Back in 2006 a client threw what looked black and yellow straps at me in the studio and said, ‘’I saw these at a recent fitness convention in the States and they look really good but I cant remember how to use them – do you want to try?’’
So I watched the instructional DVD, checked out the then very limited information online at the time, had a little play myself and my affair with suspension training began.
This piece of equipment, the first commercially produced of its kind, is known as a TRX. It is the ultimate piece of home gym equipment. It folds down to the size of a small hand bag and you can take it anywhere with you. You can hook it onto the top of a door, or outside over any bar or tree branch and get a challenging full body workout including cardiovascular intervals, core work and great stretches which is how we mostly use it at BBD but it is also very popular with Pilates instructors.
Since this first innovation other companies have taken the idea of 2 straps resembling trapeze straps (hence ‘’suspension training’’) further and developed it in various directions. Rather than 2 handles you can often see a trapeze type bar or hanging silks or hammocks and other such apparatus attached to straps or the ceiling. This has led to gymnastics, yoga and other forms of exercise being performed suspension style.
In the last few years more and more trainers are becoming properly certified to work with the TRX as it grows in popularity and while fitness has fashions and fads this is one which will be a staple of exercise for many due to its versatility, relatively low cost, endurance and size. It is suitable for most people, whether the recovering injured, the more mature exerciser or the athlete.
The TRX works the entire body but there is a lot of emphasis on the core which is usually a primary goal for most people. A push up can be simplified by performing it standing holding the straps or made more challenging than the standard push up by placing feet in the straps instead of the floor. Both variations massively challenge the core.
The only drawback is when performing some of the upper body exercises is there is often a high percentage of stress placed on the rotator cuff muscles. If you have healthy shoulders the instability challenging these muscles is actually a benefit as the rotator cuff muscles are strengthened. However if you have old or existing shoulder injuries you need to be selective and to take care. There is a great deal available on the internet for you to put together a TRX routine but BBD still recommends you find a trainer qualified and experienced to work with this piece of equipment to teach you correct technique and to construct the best possible routine to achieve you specific goals.