You know what they say: “Variety is the spice of life.” This is especially true in fitness, as our bodies are super crafty at adapting—before you know it, your “normal gym routine” just isn’t cutting it anymore. Enter TRX, a device consisting of two adjustable straps with handles*.
TRX is another way to mix it up, so it’s a nice addition to whatever you’re already doing…or, not doing, as the case may be.
Meta-mixing-it-up. I’ve been doing TRX for over two years and I still discover new movements periodically. You shouldn’t get bored doing the “same old thing” with TRX, as there are hundreds of moves and counting to try.
More bang for your buck, wherein your buck is your effort. TRX movements typically work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, so you can hit all the muscle groups faster and get on with your day.
Up the ante. It’s extremely easy to increase the difficulty when doing TRX. Walk closer or further away from the anchor point and voila, your workout just got harder or easier. The closer you are to the ground, the harder you’re working. So don’t be afraid to try TRX. You can make it incredibly easy when you’re starting out by simply performing each movement in a more vertical position.
Portable and light. You can use your TRX in pretty much any location. You just need a sturdy anchor point. It’s not too heavy, so you can easily bring it along on vacation. It’s nice to do a few rows or planks while waiting for others to get ready for dinner or if you wake up before everyone else. Which reminds me…
It’s quiet. Unless you’re one of those people who grunts when working out. In that case, that’s one benefit down for you.
It’s great solo or with a group. The YMCA and many other gyms offer TRX group fitness classes. I prefer these—a little friendly competition definitely helps push me to work harder. Plus, I love how the instructor provides the tunes—one less thing I have to think about! For your first attempt at TRX, I strongly recommend attending a class. The instructor will constantly check your form and teach you the simple modifications so beginners need not be intimidated. This is much easier than trying to position your TV or laptop near your anchor point. Simply Google “TRX class + [your zip code]” to find classes in your area. If you want to try the at-home method, here are some exercises. The main tips on form are to always stay in a straight plank position (no bending at the hips) in rows and such, and to be sure your knees don’t go over your ankles in squats and lunges.
Improves balance and coordination. Thanks to easy modifications, you can start TRX being uncoordinated and not great at balancing. You’ll find though that soon you don’t need the modifications. Eureka, you have improved your balance without even really trying—you were too busy having fun playing with the TRX!
Improves flexibility. While most people easily see how TRX is a great tool for building strength—I mean, you’re lifting an increasingly larger portion of your body weight as you progress— the TRX is also super helpful for stretching. Many Pilates and yoga instructors also attend TRX classes for this reason. Your TRX instructor will teach you some stretches if you attend a class. If you can’t attend a class, watch this space as I’ll be posting TRX stretches soon. Want to find a movement to stretch a particular muscle? Please post it in the Comments below!
Cost. The TRX typically costs about $190. This, of course, is much cheaper than a home gym. You can truly get a solid complete workout with a TRX and easily mix up the seemingly endless movements from day to day so there’s no need for additional equipment. Do note, however, that if you don’t have a sturdy anchor point already in your home, you’ll likely need to delegate about $40 for that**. In warmer months you can go outside and use a sturdy tree branch or fence.
Want to learn more? Watch this brief video.
*It’s a bit difficult to see in the image provided on my homepage, but the straps are similar to the thin adjustable straps on backpacks (you know, the straps that hang by your sides typically); however, they’re wider on the TRX. The straps are attached to a carabiner, which you then attach to an anchor point like a sturdy tree branch, fence, or horizontal metal bar attached to the ceiling. (The latter is found in most gyms as well as some CrossFit boxes.)
**You can purchase an anchor point here.