Stretching the Ropes of Strength

Ride on the boom of suspension training TRX that will help tone your body and improve your endurance. Here’s the lowdown by Pete Manuel on what the hype is all about and what you need to get started.

Born in the Navy SEALs, suspension training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of one TRX Suspension Trainer, which is a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s bodyweight to complete hundreds of exercises. You can even attach it to a door or tree, and it’s great for exercising at home or when traveling. You get to be in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise – because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. It’s that simple.

This efficient and highly effective tool creates variable instability, which makes it essential to engage the core throughout, working the transverse abdominis and other stabilizing muscles during every exercise. Remember, if any move is too easy or too hard, a simple change in body position alters the intensity, guaranteeing you get what you want out of every session.

The benefits of the TRX Suspension Trainer
• Delivers a fast, effective, total body workout
• Helps build a rock solid core
• Increases muscular endurance
• Benefits people of all fitness levels
• Can be set up anywhere

How to get started
As mentioned earlier, the TRX is a very portable piece of equipment, which packs down into a small bag and is easily packed and transported. So, once you have invested in it, then it goes with you everywhere, and saves you the hassle of finding alternatives to get your workout.

But maybe the solo, self-driven workout isn’t for you. Then most gyms and personal trainers will offer TRX training as part of their exercise regime and, even better, they will guide you through all the correct exercises and techniques most suitable for you and your fitness level. This is key to being successful on the apparatus, achieving results fast and being motivated while doing so.

7 basic moves
Again, the concept of TRX is to utilize your own bodyweight and gravity as the source of suspension for your core muscles to endure. Both pre-warming up and fit physique are necessary before you undergo any training. Flexibility is equally crucial, hence consultation necessary if you have suffered from a muscle-related issue
recently. While there are over 300 possible motions to do with TRX, here are several basic moves that are not to be missed:

• Mountain climber
Start in a push-up pose with your feet hanging on each of the rope. Slowly you imitate a mountain climbing motion, kicking back and pulling the leg forward, one at a time. This routine really stretches your abs muscles. After several minutes, you will soon feel the burn in your arms, too, which makes it worth the sweat.

• Chest press
The chest press begins by grabbing the handles behind your back. Then bend your elbows like you’re prepared to do a regular push-up. Lower your chest as far down as you can, simultaneously keep your legs and body straight. This sets to work your entire upper body and core, and increase the heart rate. It is vital for any good workout program.

• Tricep extensions
Time to work the other side of your arms. Face away from the TRX and take hold of the handles. Lean forward onto your toes and extend your arms overhead. Once you bend your arms and bring them forward, you will feel all the muscles contracting. This might be slightly more challenging than other tricep workouts – all the more reasons to do it, don’t you think?

• Jump squats
Move on to the lower body with a series of jump squats. Pull the straps at about chest level. Take a slight back so that you put the body support all on your heels. Start the routine by lowering yourself into a squat; and jump as you come up with hands holding onto the TRX ropes at all time.

• Bicep Curls
Strengthen your biceps with this easy training. First, hold the handles before you and let your body hang. Then perform a bicep curl by bringing your hands in towards your face. Make sure that you only bend your arms at the elbows.

• Inverted Rows
Similar to bicep curls, this one focuses on your back – not the biceps. So once again, hold the straps and extend your legs out straight. Let your body fall back a little, and from there power your back to advance forward so that the chest is at the same level as the hands. Repetition is a must.

• Split squats
If you still have energy to continue on, the split squats might just be another cardiovascular boost you need. Facing away from the TRX, place one foot in the strap and the other forward – stay in a lunge position. Lower the back knee to the floor and then come back up. A few sets per leg would be enough, but you are welcome to put in more counts.

Images: Courtesy of 3VFitness

Pete Manuel is a master personal trainer who specializes in general fitness and cross training as well as rehab and injury prevention. His sports training certifications include TRX, Bootcamp, Boxfit, PadWork, BodyCombat, BodyPump among all. He’s currently based at 3VFitness, and you may reach him via email: For more info the training schedule at 3VFitness, browse