The question: My gym has TRX classes. What is TRX and should I try it?
The answer: The TRX is a black-and-yellow rope with handles on each end that hangs by being looped through an anchor point.
I like the TRX. It spices up traditional favourites like push-ups and lunges. Plus, by simply manipulating your foot positioning, most exercises can be adapted to match any fitness level.
Take TRX rows: Hold one handle in each hand. Walk your feet forward and lean backward. From this position, engage your upper back and core to pull yourself up. Too easy? Walk your feet further forward. Too hard? Walk your feet backward.
That said, stabilizing your body while using the TRX does require decent body awareness and core strength. If you are brand new to the fitness scene, do four to six weeks of basic training before trying the class. Or, buy a solo session with the teacher to learn good form.
Also, since the TRX relies on body weight for resistance, if you are strong but light, and your goal is muscle hypertrophy (size), you may need to wear a weighted vest, do single-leg or –arm variations or do additional dumbbell exercises to achieve your fitness goals.
One of my personal favourite exercises is the TRX overhead squat: Start with your feet parallel. Hold one handle in each hand. Keep your arms straight above your head and keep the TRX taut as you sit into a squat. Engage your bum to stand up. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
So – final verdict – give the class a whirl. Trying something new is a great way to avoid boredom, challenge yourself and stay motivated. Whenever I want to skip my workout, I know it is time to mix things up.
Trainer's tip: The TRX is portable, versatile and can be attached to anything ranging from a tree to your hotel-room door. If you travel a lot and you don't want to lose fitness, consider buying a TRX. Then, "steal" your favourite exercises from the class so you can work out in your hotel room. The TRX is not cheap. If you only travel occasionally, consider splitting it with a friend or colleague who also wants one.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.
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