I was recently asked by Goodlife to check out suspension training. It's done with TRX, a webbed nylon strap with a loop and a spongey but durable handle. The TRX is attached to pretty much anything you want to attach it to, from a pole, goal posts or fence. But at the gym, about eight of them were hung on a giant rack. It looked like a swing set without the seats.
I met with Sekh Samuels just before his TRX Suspension Training class, as part of transformationchallenge.ca. He asked me if I had done suspension training before, but never a full class. I’ve had group fitness and spin classes that incorporated a few moves. But that was it. He tells me that TRX is a great workout because it gets all the muscles in the body working.
It was an hour and a half class – not the standard 30 to 34 minutes of exercise I was used to. But it was totally doable. Especially when you feel so much more elegant on the straps (like a Cirque de Soleil performer) than if I was sweating out rows or pushups on my own. You see, these straps force you to keep your form: your core tight, the line from your head to your heels straight, and so on. Any flinching and I’d be falling on my face! So, I imagine each rep to be done as poised as possible. It sounds cheesy, I know, but you can’t hate a girl for wanting to look good while working out.
Here’s a sample of we did that day (30 to 1 minute for each), with notes from Sekh: Glute stretch: With one knee placed on the other, use the straps to keep you balanced. Sit back as far as you can go. Do the other side. • Feel a light pull all along the glute from top to bottom, as you hold the position longer you will feel a stretch at the hip flexor.
Upright row: Lean back with arms extended and then row the body up to your hands. • Activate the muscles across the mid- and lower-trapezius and rhomboids (mid back/scapular region). You should not feel any tension or work being done by the upper trapezius muscle. Done correctly you will also feel the core working from being properly engaged.
Single leg lunge: With one foot hooked into the loop handle, lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. • The outer quads will really fire up on this one. You will also feel the hip flexors working as you step out. Keep the core tight, too. On the static leg you will feel a very nice stretch in the inner thigh and groin area.
Knee tucks: On your hands, with your feet in the loops, you’re in a plank position. Then, bring your knees up to your chest. Try not to curve your back too much. • Your core along with the triceps are working as you keep yourself stable. As you bring your knees in you will also feel the hip flexors working to help you move through the motion. Done correctly you should feel absolutely no pain or work in the lower back. If this is happens, it means your core is not engaged. So at this point rest and try another set with a lower rep count or do a regression to this exercise.
Single leg squats: Holding on to the straps, stand on one leg. Lower your body until the thigh of your working leg is parallel to the floor. • Keep your core, hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves tighten as they work through the move. If proper posture is being maintained the mid- and lower-trapezius muscles will be well contracted.
We also finished the workout on the rowing machines, pumping out 1,000 metres.
Happy TRXing. Let me know if you do this workout in the comments below and what you thought about it.