Friday, December 28, 2012

TRX...What the Heck is That?

I suppose we might as well start off with ruling out what TRX is not: it is NOT a torture device, even though sometimes participants of the TRX Strength Training for Endurance Athletes will claim it so.

Believe it or not, this isn't torture. Image courtesy of TRX.
As you can tell from the photo above, the heart of the TRX system are the two straps that come down from an anchor point. In our Maine Running Academy classes, we've installed a metal pipe to serve as the anchor for the TRX system. The straps then can be elongated or shortened, based upon the exercise. The straps are easy to adjust to the proper point, as they have markings denoting where specifically the straps should be set to. For the majority of the classes, the straps are set to the mid-length setting.

TRX is a body-weight based workout. There's never any additional weight added. Instead, it is controlling your own body-weight through the range of motion in the particular exercise. Again, referring to the photo above, the participants are rowing themselves upwards. The only weight involved is their own.

However, there are rules to TRX:

  • Keep the core engaged: you must keep yourself in alignment at all times.
  • No sagging straps: the straps need to be taut from the anchor point at all times. This means that you're keeping control of the range of motion at all times.
  • Don't let the straps drag: The straps, outside of your hands/feet being on or in the handles, should never be dragging along your body.
One of the great parts about TRX is the versatility of the system: there are over 300 different exercises that can be performed through the use of those two straps. It's nearly impossible to get bored, as you can always mix it up. The other great thing is that you can generally change the difficulty of a particular exercise based upon how far away from the anchor point you are, or how wide you space your feet out beneath you. This makes it a great option for beginners and TRX veterans alike.

So, what should you expect if you decide to enroll in TRX Strength Training for Endurance Athletes?

Classes usually start off with some warm-up stretches and lunges to get the body going. Then, expect the unexpected. Although a lot of similar exercises are used each week, there are often new variations to them, or are placed in different spots during the course of the workout that changes their intensity. Atomic push-ups midway through the workout are one thing; doing them as the last thing before the cooldown is an entirely different scenario.

Keep in mind that Kelsey (instructor) structures the TRX Strength Training for Endurance Athletes class for those who are either coming from a running/walking or multisport background. If you're looking for a class looking to simply bodybuild, this isn't it. Instead, the focus is on functional and core strength: giving you power and stability in ranges of motion similar to the stresses of your sport/activity, training your body to better handle that stress.

Overall, having been involved in this cycle of TRX, I highly recommend it. After every class, I feel some type of benefit; whether it's establishing the neuromuscular connection of a particular range of motion to the activity that I want to be doing, or the simple power that comes from strength training. It's been a revelation to my training, and is sure to continue to be one of my season's staples.

This current session of TRX lasts until January 11, 2013. Drop-in spots are available for $12. Contact Denise Goode for more details.

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