So you have just bought yourself a TRX and are looking to use it to help you get fitter and stronger. Here are some helpful guidelines to assist your progress and make sure that you are working out safely and effectively.
The TRX is one of the better fitness products out there, its simplicity and lightweight build enable it to be taken anywhere and will help you get a rounded workout in any situation. Essentially it is just a support mechanism, this will help you progress with any exercises that you are struggling with due to balance and body awareness issues. To put it simply, in the early stages it helps support you whilst your body gets the idea of where it needs to be in positions such as the squat and lunge etc. If you haven’t yet got the right amount of muscle or coordination to do the exercises correctly then this is the tool for you, or perhaps you are recovering from an injury and would like to work up slowly towards training again. The TRX will allow you to manage how much weight you deliver to your legs, arms, back etc so that you can train safely and progressively under your own control. Once you have gained the correct awareness of your body and feel that all your basic movements are safe and efficient you can progress to putting them into more challenging workouts, the fact that you can use the support now means that you can combine exercises like pullups and squats and rep them out for a few minutes in a High Intensity Interval Training style. This now puts you in a position where you could perhaps squeeze a full body, strength and cardio workout into a very small timeframe. Below is a breakdown of how I feel a beginner should start with there progression. I am basing this on a person that is untrained and has not yet mastered squats and lunges etc.
Get to know your weak points = My advice here is to see a fitness professional and have a full biomechanical assessment, this will help you understand where your weak points are and allow you to structure your initial training accordingly. For argument sake I will assume that person A will have an inability to squat due to body awareness issues and there inner thigh (adductors) are tight. There lunges are very unbalanced due to knee instability and they have a overly flexible upper body causing a weakness thoughout.
Start with the basic movements = Once the above has been established, utilize the TRX to assist you in the basic movements (Squats, Revers Lunges, Pullups, Tricep extensions, Abdominal roll outs, Rear Deltoid Flys) You will need to use the TRX to guide you into these movements and as confidence, awareness and strength builds, learn to use the support less, aiming towards being confident in essential movements with very little/no support needed. You will also at this stage be advised to work your abdominal area with movements such as the plank and abmat exercises along with pushups to help build strength and stability thought the whole body. This process could take a while but will set you up with a solid foundation so that the more complex movements and workouts will be easily and safely approached. With regards to your structure at this stage I would say that all movements need to be done at low repetitions and form needs to be perfect. If a set progresses and your technique starts to go down hill then stop, rest and start again when recovered with good technique again. Once you are confident in all movements and can efficiently perform around 20 reps with good, safe technique then you can move on the the next stage.
Put some structure to it = Ok so you have got your new found list of movements that you are confident with, its time to start combining them and making the most out of your time. Below is an idea of how to structure a basic routine. Obviously this is not the only way to do it, its a good idea to prioritize your week points and leave the ones your confident at in the background until the others catch up, on this note if you have a weaker side, then always work to it, so if you can only do 6 lunges on the left side then make sure that your stronger side does the same until things start to look a little more balanced. I have included some links to people doing the particular exercise but please note these are not my videos, they are just there to remind you of the basic movement that hopefully your trainer has taught you.
Basic TRX workout must be performed minimum 2-3 sets aiming for a total workout time of 45 mins
- Squat Pull ups = 20 repetitions
- Assisted squats = 20 repetitions
- Pushups = These are to be done with good form throughout alway from the floor and always starting from the feet and then the knee you are aiming to get to a point that 20 reps is possible
- Rear deltoid flys = adjust the distance of your feet to the TRX so that 20 reps is possible
- Reverse lunges = 20 reps each side
- Lying down pull-ups/Row = 20 reps using the flutes and hamstrings to assist the movement when tired.
- Ab Roll outs = 20 reps make sure your core is in control of this movement.
- Tricep extensions = 20 reps make sure your core is working hard.
- Single arm pull = 20 reps each side
Once you Have performed this do the below routine to finish your core training
4 sets total
- AbMatt crunches = 20 reps
- Plank = 1 minute
So the above is a very basic foundational routine that will set you up for the million and one crazy exercises that you can find on you tube, you must be strong and functional thoughout your body before more complex movements are safe and possible. There is no point trying to perform something within a routine that you are incapable of doing correctly as the only thing you are going to get from it is injured. Once you have completed all the above steps you will then repeat everything with more complex movements allowing your body to progress and your strength and conditioning to elevate. Understanding how your body works and what muscles you are using will greatly assist your understanding of how the movements should be safely performed, seeking advice from a professional will always help you understand what needs to be done, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet and finding someone who understands body mechanics will make your progress efficient and safe.