Use body leverage training to target the core from all directions.
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 adding 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. For a change of pace, or if equipment is limited, add a TRX exercise or two to a core circuit that includes other exercises and equipment. Following are three favorites to try on your own—a mover, a stabilizer and one for the posterior chain.
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.
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.
Stand facing anchor, arms pulled overhead and back as far as range of motion will allow; palms face forward. Keeping legs straight, lower hips until you are in hip-hinge position. Arms are now in front of you. Using hips and shoulders, drive back to start position. Keep core muscles engaged through entire movement.
Modifications: Increase or decrease angle of body in relation to floor to change intensity. Once perfect form is mastered, lower body slowly and drive back to start position with increased speed.
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