If you want to take the gym on the road or be able to exercise any-where any-way. A TRX is for you.
I find the benefits of using a TRX go way beyond just physical. They’re also psychological. In this post I write about the physical benefits of using a TRX. From my own personal experience of using one for several years and from science. In my post here I write about the psychological and life changing benefits it can have. I know what you’re thinking “a TRX cannot have that much of a impact?” Well, hear me out my friend and read for yourself in my other post too. Here’s the six main contributing factors for the benefits of using a TRX:
When I’m training with a TRX I think about the setup to target the muscle area. The angle, my stance and my grip. This focus continues into the movement, mind to muscle connection.
How’s it different to dumbbells and a bench? I’m unstable on a TRX. I only have the stability I can create and hold, which forces me to take my time through the movement. I incorporate many other muscle groups that act as stabilisers whilst exercising the primary muscle itself. Science has taught us that the negative slow phase of a muscle contraction is where the damage is done. Taking your time through this phase, keeping the muscle under tension for time returns bigger yield.
With a TRX and the unusual movements used. I’m forced to hold myself at certain angles whilst working the primary muscle. This combined with the movement of the exercise means I get huge time under tension for the primary muscle. Along with the secondary stabilising muscles. In other words I get a larger bang for my buck doing TRX exercises. More muscles are worked and held for longer time under tension.
I explain a little more in my video below about correct technique to use with a TRX:
This leads me on to aesthetic physique. I feel more unusually developed. That probably sounds mental. What I mean is my muscles and overall physique are better shaped. More uniquely defined than I’ve ever had from standard gym routines. Key note. I’m still on the same level of calorie maintenance and weight as gym’ing 5 days a week. Naturally if I was cutting this could alter my perception. I’ve noticed additional muscles popping that I’ve never had before. My rear deltoid muscles are more pronounced. My obliques run all the way down my sides and my outer calf muscles have lengthened.
I haven’t been targeting them to develop that growth. I’ve simply found from the additional stabilising muscles needed when using a TRX. It’s developed other areas of my body without me intentionally focusing on it. Bloody great win!
A lot of TRX exercises, especially upper body. Involve a large stretch of the muscle at the peak of the movement. Combined with a stabilising hold before contraction. I’ve noticed this stretch is deeper and more accentuated than when using conventional weights. You have more elbow, forearm, head and leg room to manoeuvre. Combine that with the constant different angles when setting up and performing the exercise. Leads my muscles to under go constant varying stretches. Adaption is harder so the gains are greater.
Normally I find the positioning angle when using a TRX to perform an exercise already exerts a slight stretch on the main muscle. If not the secondary stabilising muscles, before I’ve even begun the action. It’s like I just can’t escape the constant TRX stretch. Fine by me.
Constant core development
As mentioned previously. I’m always un-balanced and compensating for that un-balance with various stabilising muscles when performing movements with a TRX. Nothing more so than with my core. Almost every single exercise I do with a TRX involves me needing to use different areas of my core. I don’t have a choice. It’s essential, thus the need for my core to grow and adapt to the load is essential. It’ constantly worked even when it’s not ‘stomach day.’
How it’s worked always varies too. Take for example a TRX chest press. I’m at an unstable angle of about 45 degrees with my body to the floor. I need to keep my whole body straight to perform the press. That’s my entire front core taking the load to maintain posture.
In contrast to a TRX Y for traps and rear delts. My back is at a 45 degree angle to the floor. My lower back region and gluttes are needed to stabilise and hold my posture straight. That’s the front and back of my core muscles stabilising me. Constantly working when they’re by no means the primary targeted muscle. I’ll take that freebie too.
The benefits of using a TRX are more than just physique. To put it simply. I’m working more muscle groups when using a TRX. Due to the instability of the movements compared to using a conventional bench and weights. More stabilising muscles are engaged from my head to my toes. That’s more muscles demanding more oxygen, more nutrient, more blood. My heart therefore needs to pump more blood around my body to compensate. Thus my cardiovascular system is challenged more and needs to improve to meet that demand.
I find I burn a lot more calories with a constant sweat when exercising with my TRX workout plans. Compared to when I trained in a gym. Granted it’s hotter in Mexico than London but I tend to train at 7am when it’s cool. So the temp doesn’t play to much of a differentiating factor.
Never thought I’d say this: My rotator cuff no longer clicks and grinds every time I rotate my left arm. It no longer twinges randomly with actions like reaching for a mug on a high shelf. I tore it 12 years ago benching heavy without warming up. Rushed back into training without letting it properly heal. A consequence I assumed I’d live with for life. Not now. My rotator cuffs and shoulder stability are rock solid. I can even hold a handstand without a wall, which is a massive bloody first. Slowly building up to the hand stand press.
I look less un-balanced across my traps and upper shoulders. I believe this was from unknowingly compensating for the rotator cuff injury. Lifting with poor form for years. The TRX training has set my shoulders back more, reducing the rounded shoulders look I used to have quite considerably. Again, I haven’t trained for this it’s added benefit from TRX training.
My hips and lower back no longer twinge. I don’t get that sudden trapped nerve leg collapsing pain. That made me jump out of my skin every once in a while. My IT band is less tight and the random pain that no physio could diagnose has vanished. An additional benefitting factor to that is that I don’t do heavy deadlifting building up to 200kg any more. Or heavy bench or squat. However, these are problems that have plagued me for years in and out of strength and conditioning. Is TRX the holy grail answer? Probably not, but I can say that it’s certainly helped, or at least reduced the problems.
The benefits of using a TRX conclusion
Whether you’re like me and want a way to stay fit on the road whilst travelling. Or perhaps you’re looking for something to use at home. As other life commitments don’t always allow you to use a gym. Maybe you’re looking for some of the benefits above or wanting to change things up as you’ve plateaued. Either way, I highly recommend giving a TRX a go. I understand it can be daunting at first but stick with it. I assure you once you get to know it you’ll see huge benefits. And never look back.