Group exercise participants love core training, so it’s no wonder that TRX® Suspension Training has become a favorite in fitness and wellness facilities. What is this type of body leverage training, and how does it work? By suspending either your hands or feet, while the opposite end of the body is in contact with the ground, you displace your center of gravity, activating your core muscles during every exercise. So even a biceps curl becomes a core move!
You can increase or decrease workout intensity quickly and easily to suit the goals and abilities of each person in class. For standing exercises, simply move the feet closer to the anchor point to increase intensity or farther away to make the move easier. Adjust ground-based exercises in a similar way by moving your body behind or in front of the spot on the floor where the TRX is hanging neutral (i.e., straight down). To further fine-tune the level of difficulty, challenge stability by increasing or decreasing the base of support, or add speed variations to power things up or down. In this way, your most advanced students can work side-by-side with your newbies, and everyone gets a customized, individual workout.
Because this mode of training is “all core all the time,” you could justifiably do any TRX exercise in your core conditioning class. However, some exercises specifically target the core. If you have enough equipment for each person, your whole class can work together. If equipment is limited, add a TRX exercise or two to a core circuit that includes other exercises and equipment. Following are two favorites to try on your own:
TRX Crunch/Mountain ClimberKneel facing away from anchor point, feet in foot cradles, hands aligned beneath shoulders. Lift knees off ground and come into plank position. Raising hips slightly, bring knees toward chest. Maintain body alignment as you return to fully extended start position. For mountain climber variation, alternate legs while maintaining equal pressure through both foot cradles. Modifications: Perform from forearms to increase stability of exercise. Once perfect form is maintained, increase speed of concentric and/or eccentric actions.
TRX Kneeling Oblique Roll-Out
Kneel facing away from anchor, hands on handles, body upright. Turn lower body to “10 o’clock” or “2 o’clock” position; upper body faces front. Slowly drive arms up and lean forward from knees, keeping core engaged. Do not roll out so far that you put unnecessary stress on shoulders or break alignment at hip—keep work in core. Return to start position, maintaining body alignment. Modifications: Face front to target rectus abdominis, or stand to increase challenge. As you progress, increase range of motion, and experiment with speed.
For a third TRX exercise for the core, please see “The Body Leverage Advantage” in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2011 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Photo credit: TRX®.