TRX HOME SUSPENSION WORKOUT SYSTEMS
My quest for the perfect workout system and I found it in the TRX HOME SUSPENSION WORKOUT SYSTEM.
I am a USAC Level 2 coach, bike fitter and certified personal trainer. I am also certified in power-based training as well as a bicycle skills instructor. I coach numerous cyclists including those that race to win and those that just want to have fun staying up on their group ride.
Through my coaching and bike fittings, I have been assembling a list of common cycling issues. The main cycling related issued I see include
- wrong size bicycle frame (ex., usually way too large),
- wrong size equipment (ex., usually saddle too narrow, stem too long, cranks too long),
- bad bike fit (ex., usually knees and feet in the wrong position on the bike, saddle too high, bad cleat fit),
- bad posture on the bike (ex., hips not rotated forward, arched/curved back, slumped shoulders),
- pedaling incorrectly (ex., usually stabbing at the pedals),
- lack of good bike handling skills (ex., can’t ride/maneuver the bike slowly, can’t pedal through a corner).
The above can be addressed through different equipment or mentoring through coaching. The list below represents physiological issues that can be addressed through strength training and stretching routine. Note that it is very important to utilize the right equipment, the right form, the right weight, and the right exercises.
- lack of flexibility (ex., most cycling muscles are tight/stiff, sometimes overuse injuries),
- weak core,
- weak hip flexors,
- weak glutes,
- weak back (lower, middle, upper),
- weak shoulders (rear deltoids, traps)
This article will address this second list of issues by evaluating the TRX Home suspension system.
It turns out that this list is more difficult to fix. Why? Because cyclists hate going to the gym. Cycling is all about power-to-weight-ratio and cyclists think that if they go to the gym, they will bulk up with big muscles that will slow them down.
So, my thought was to write a series of eBooks assisting the cyclist and triathlete, from weekend-warrior to hardcore racer, to get more flexible and stronger so that they can be fitter, faster and have more enjoyment of the sport of cycling and triathlons.
Our first best-selling eBook in the series is entitled “Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Triathlete” and discusses in detail the stretching and strengthening of those muscle groups that are the most important in propelling the bicycle forward.
Our second eBook in this series is entitled “Strength Training for the Cyclist” and has just been published. The goal of this eBook was to create simple exercises that anyone could do in the privacy of his or her home with only a few pieces of equipment – Stability ball, PT exercise bands, a couple of dumbbells and a yoga mat. This eBook goes one step further than out first eBook by showing simple and effective exercises that any cyclist can do.
We are currently in the process of writing a third eBook in the series that will add more (and specific) exercises for the cyclist. This 3rd eBook will be based on the TRX suspension system.
In preparing for a 3rd eBook, I started looking around for a cost effective ‘gym’/gym equipment that would be (a) easy to use, (b) inexpensive, and (c) wouldn’t take up a lot of space in the home. The best solution that I found was TRX and their suspension trainers.
TRX makes cost effective/exercise effective solutions that I believe cyclists & triathletes will be able to use and enjoy. With TRX, all you need is a space about 7 feet (2.1m) high to mount a hook.
Setting them up is easy. Just unpack the TRX suspension straps and attach them to your pre-installed hook. Next, adjust the foot cradles so that they are about 6” (15.2cm) or so off the ground.
That’s it! You are now ready to workout with your new TRX suspension system. The TRX takes up very little room and makes the perfect solution for the cyclist and triathlete.
TRX SUSPENSION SYSTEMS
TRX offers many different suspension training systems and even creates custom commercial models for the corporate world. For the rest of us, the entry level TRX GO or the TRX HOME GYM is all that is needed.
For comparison, here is a summary of the main suspension training systems listed on their website along with a brief explanation as to how they differ.
Also available from TRX are a full line of Kettlebells, Slam balls, Medicine balls, Conditioning ropes, strength bands, mini bands, foam rollers, mats, and numerous anchoring systems for the commercial gym.
WHAT IS SUSPENSION TRAINING?
Suspension training uses your bodyweight, straps and gravity to perform exercises. Changing your body position relative to the straps changes the leverage required by your muscles to move your body. Changing your position can make these exercises easier or harder. All it takes is a slightly different stance to add or decrease resistance. Changing from one exercise to the next is also extremely easy.
SO, WHAT’S THE BEST TRX SYSTEM FOR ME?
If you are new to working out and might not know if you will like to continue working out, I recommend the TRX GO Suspension trainer. You can find it on the TRX website or Amazon for $99. It’s a great lightweight starter system.
But, for a few dollars more, the TRX HOME Suspension trainer is built using 40% heavier straps and includes access to their website for more workouts. In my opinion, the HOME Suspension system provides the best value.
WARNING BUYER BEWARE (OF KNOCK-OFFS)
If you do search through Amazon, you will notice that there are quite a few knock-off/counterfeit products which are about half the cost of an equivalent TRX system. They are listed as GYMSTUFF, WOSS, EMERGE, DYNAMITE POWER, POWER GUIDANCE, FIT ACTIVE, NEWOX, BOSS FITNESS, the list goes on and on and on.
For those that are thinking about buying any of these since they are cheaper, it’s been my experience that the quality and workmanship of Chinese knock-offs is subpar to a genuine article.
The LAST thing I would want to happen is when doing a ‘chest press’ using one of these ‘counterfeit’ systems is to have a strap, fastener or the sewing fail … immediate face plant into the floor! Bottom line, I recommend that you stick with the original item.
The TRX HOME system includes a quick setup/getting started guide. This guide contains 10 workouts to get you going as well as a ‘how to setup and use’ section.
Anchoring – this is the most critical and there are several anchoring attachments that come with the TRX HOME system. Several others anchoring options are available on the TRX website as well as at your local hardware store.
You can anchor the TRX HOME system to a door with the provided door anchor or around bars, poles, beams, fences, trees, etc. using the included Suspension Anchor Strap.
Since I want mine mounted more permanently, I went to the local hardware store and picked up a ¾” x 4” Screw Eye and installed it right into an exposed beam in the garage. My other recommendation is the XMOUNT anchoring plate from TRX. Either one of these is a great solution. See photos above.
For the baseline installation;
- Mount your anchor (shown above) 7 feet (2.1m) to 9 feet (2.7m) off the ground so that the TRX suspension snap fastener is located 6 feet (1.8m) off the ground.
- Shorten or lengthen each of the 2 TRX straps so that the foot cradles are 3 inches (7.6cm) off the ground. The straps are very easy to adjust but just make sure that they are the same length after adjusting.
From this location, it is easy to set the strap lengths for any exercise. For
- Ground exercises (feet in the cradle exercises) – adjust the TRX strap length so that the bottom of the foot cradles is at mid-Calf (8” or 20.3cm) off the ground. This strap length lets you do both face up and face down exercises.
- For all other exercises – use the 3” (7.62cm) – 6” (15.2cm) foot cradle above the ground adjustment.
HOW EASY IS IT TO USE?
Listed in the startup guide, the TRX HOME system comes with four basic workouts to get you started. These are TRX Chest Press, TRX Hamstring Curl, TRX Bicep Curl and TRX Crunch. Next, you will want to create an account and login with your provided license key.
This gives you access to many more exercises as well as how-to videos. Once you have gone through the 4 basic workouts, there is an actual workout plan with 6 TRX workouts to get you to the next step.
From here, the TRX website includes many more specific workouts per muscle group; chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, core. You can see what works for you and it’s a lot of fun doing these workouts. Again, 15-30 minutes a day is all you need to get started. In the amount of time it would take you to drive to your local gym, you could already be done with a great workout.
HOW IS THIS APPLICABLE TO CYCLISTS?
We believe that the TRX Home Suspension System is the best exercise equipment a cyclist or triathlete can use. For the cyclist, specific exercises can be created so that the cyclist can move from one to the next with minimal time wasted setting up and tearing down big barbells, or waiting for someone to get off the machine you want to use at the gym.
For example, one area that a cyclist should work is the mid-back. Because of the position on the bicycle, cyclists tend to have very poor posture, i.e., they are bent over when they are off the bike. Using the TRX suspension system to specifically target the mid and lower back not only helps you when you cycle but corrects your posture as well. These exercises can be easily done in quick succession one right after the other.
You can target those muscles as well as target flexibility exercises. No converting or setting up a machine from one exercise to the next. Just change your body position and you are targeting another muscle group or stretching for a flexibility exercise.
Again, our new eBook will have these exercises in it. This new eBook will be located HERE.
I’m a USAC cycling coach as well as a certified personal trainer. As a concerned coach, I always want the best for my athletes and it makes me happy when they succeed. But, what makes me unhappy is to see their lack of flexibility and their fairly weak cycling muscle strength.
When athletes first contact me, they know how to ride a bicycle and they know the importance of nutrition and rest. But most don’t know about the importance of stretching, flexibility, and strengthening their deep stabilizing muscles, like Gluteus Medius, lower trapezius, transverse abdominis, etc.
Looking for a solution to further help my athletes, I came across the TRX Suspension System line of products. Keying in on the HOME suspension system, this was the PERFECT solution for my athletes. Affordable, compact, very simple to setup and very easy to use.
It is simple to superset and simple to perform any exercise you need! TRX was the perfect solution for at home strengthening. There is no loading on or taking off plates, no grabbing and replacing dumbbells, and no waiting for someone to get done with a machine so you can use it.
All you have to do is hold onto the handles and move yourself to a different position in order to perform a different exercise. Take a step away from the attachment hook and the exercise is easier. Take a step towards the hook and its harder.
You want to superset chest and back? It literally takes 2 seconds to switch from one exercise to the next. Want to work more core with your normal exercises? Just offset your balance a little and you will be working those deep abdominal muscles. How about stretching? With TRX you can easily adjust your weight allowing deeper stretches which leads to greater flexibility.
A test: After hooking up my TRX HOME suspension system, I spent the next week creating a core set of cycling specific exercises. Now, when I do one-on-one coaching, I have my athletes run through several of these exercises.
They are amazed at how easy and how effective these exercises are. They are also surprised that they are not as strong as they thought they were – and that’s the key point! They also mention how much they can feel their core working. I usually show them how to stand a little different so that they are off-balance, working their core even more.
By this time, they are sold on TRX and they always ask “Where can I get one?” which I tell them to go to the TRX website http://trxtraining.com/shop/gear and click on TRX HOME GYM.
Now I can give my athletes quick and easy workouts that will give them more strength and flexibility than their nearest competitor. This is a win-win-win for everyone!
TRX – invented by a Navy SEAL, folds up into a small 6” x 6” x 6” package that can easily be taken with you on business travel and vacations. A great workout system that’s high quality, inexpensive, easy to use, and easy to get great results! The exercise and stretching options available to you with the TRX suspension system are endless!