TRX Suspension Training is rapidly becoming a mainstay at most gyms across the country. The ergonomic approach is designed to strengthen your body and increase your overall fitness functionality. It’s perfect for any level of exercise expertise – from professional athletes to newbies who have never stepped foot in a gym! However, that only stays true as long as the suspension is used correctly.
If you use the TRX incorrectly, you run the risk of injury. That’s why we’re here to help! So to maximize effectiveness, be sure to speak with your club’s trainer if you have any questions.
*If the following list reads like a foreign language, it’d be best to bookmark this bad boy and speak with a trainer who can help apply these tips to your TRX Training!
1. Thinking the TRX Will Do the Work For You
Mental stimulation is key when working with a TRX. Whether beginner or advanced, you need to apply the “mind to muscle” principle and think about the muscles you’re engaging or else you’ll severely diminish your end results. Unlike a machine you can set at a challenging weight and focus on strictly moving it, you’re moving your body so stay focused!
2. Placing Feet in the Wrong Spot
Your feet and where they’re placed play a major role in almost every single TRX exercise. Understanding where your feet should be placed is imperative to any TRX exercise, do this research before attempting. Furthermore, your feet and where they’re placed play a HUGE role in increasing or decreasing the intensity of an exercise. Lower to the ground in most cases translates to more difficult and higher elevation usually translates to less difficult.
3. Not Keeping Your Core Engaged
Sometimes we forget to engage our core but for TRX training, it is imperative to keep it tight and practice proper alignment! Act as if you’re a surfboard against a wall (rigid with no bend). If you feel your core sagging, imagine a string in the middle of your lower back and somebody is gently pulling it upward eliminating the “bowl” effect in your back altogether.
4. Straps Resting on Your Arms
Another easy-to-remember rule is, never let the straps rest on your arms. If you find yourself doing a push-up, for example, and the straps are rubbing against your shoulders, simply elevate your hands slightly until you can do the same movement free of straps-on-skin.
5. Uneven Pressure on the Sides
If your handles feel off-kilter, always be sure to check the center loop divider below the anchor point. If it is flat then you have an issue with your handle alignment (covered immediately after this). If it ISN’T flat however, flatten it out by adjusting the handles. Remember: Keep it even!
6. You Don’t Understand What the Yellow Line Markers Mean
Near the top of the TRX straps there is a single yellow line. Travel farther down the straps and you’ll see a double yellow line. These are to provide proper strap positioning so your handles are at optimal height. The yellow tab on the buckle is what you use to measure the alignment. The yellow tabs all the way at the bottom of the straps is referred to as “all the way lengthened.” When they’re at the double yellow line, that’s “shortened.” When at the single yellow line, simply “all the way shortened.” Know what the exercise you’re doing calls for!
7. You’re Not Using the Kickstand Modification
If your back starts to bug you during your workout (or started out that way) but you’re not quite ready to call it quits yet then it’s time for the kickstand. All you do is bring one foot forward and use it to provide additional support to your lower back while you rock out the rest of your push-ups, roll-outs, triceps extension, etc.
8. You’re Using Momentum
Similar to the reasons why the slack rule is so effective, throwing momentum around breaks your body’s functionality and could develop bad exercise habits in the future. No swinging, you’re in control!
9. The TRX Has Excess Slack
If there is one rule of thumb you can live and die by with the TRX, it’s that there shouldn’t be any slack on the straps no matter what exercise you’re doing. Once slack hits that means your body has become disengaged from the task at hand and you’re no longer consciously bringing yourself through the movement anymore, even if just for a moment. This is an easy fix, no slacking.
10. Joints Aren’t Positioned Correctly
Keeping with the theme of mind to muscle connectivity, it’s important to be aware of where proper joint positioning is. Flaring elbows, incorrect pelvic tilts, and roaming knees are the guiltiest culprits out there. If you’re ever curious about where you stand, ask a trainer to evaluate your form. They’ll be more than happy to do it!
11. Your Feet Are Too Small for the Foot Cradle
Do a double loop through! It minimizes the loop area providing more support for those with feet on the more petite side or those who like to train barefoot.
12. Overthinking and Overcomplicating
It’s easy to see a simple-in-principle piece of equipment capable of doing so much that it’s hard NOT to attempt the craziest, most complicated exercises you can find all in the name of “oh yeah, well can you do this?” Make sure to master the basics before trying to do the more obscure TRX exercises. If you don’t, it’s like seeing someone do a squat and then attempting a one legged pistol squat jump holding a kettlebell. Not pretty.
You will benefit much more by getting the basics down first then properly progressing when truly able. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, studs!