Suspension Exercises: 2 for the Core

by Leigh Crews on Oct 20, 2011

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 Climber

Kneel 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®.

IDEA Fit Tips , Volume 9, Issue 11

© 2011 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Leigh Crews

Leigh Crews IDEA Author/Presenter

Leigh Crews is the IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year award winner for 2011 and the founder of Dynalife, Inc., a company dedicated to innovative fitness education. She is a Senior Master Trainer for ...

2 Comments

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  • Hannah Mich

    These are great advanced core exercises that I have used with clients before. However, due to the stability required of the shoulder complex, make sure your clients have good upper body strength and stability prior to utilizing these exercises. I am glad to see more stabilization exercises coming into the forefront with core training. I believe it should be the primary focus in any core training program.
    Commented Nov 03, 2011
  • JJ Confalone

    These are great core exercises for balance and core stability. The TRX is an awesome tool because like you said it can be modified to suit the experience or fitness level of each individual. I use these movements often for core strengthening with my clients. For those who don't know the core is more then just the aesthetic abdominals but consists of everything from the muscles surrounds your pelvis and spine. They include the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae (sacrospinalis) especially the longissimus thoracis, and the diaphragm. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, and trapezius. JJ Confalone howsgym.com
    Commented Nov 03, 2011