Even if you’ve been active for a long time, suspension training works your body very differently. These tips will help you get the most out of your workout and ease you into this new kind of training.
Back when I posted about getting our TRX, a lot of people mentioned that they had been meaning to try it. I thought it might be helpful for today’s Fit Tip to share some tips for beginners.
1. Foot placement. Where you place your feet when you are using the TRX makes a big difference. That’s because the amount of weight you are lifting changes depending on the angle of your body, and your foot position is what changes that angle. As a general rule, to make an exercise easier, move your feet away from the anchor point. To make it more difficult, move your feet towards the anchor point (so your body gets closer to horizontal).
When you are first starting out, stability is extra important. Don’t force yourself into a steeper angle just because you think you “should” be stronger. Make sure you feel stable and secure so you don’t get injured.
No matter how far you are from the anchor, you can create more stability by separating your feet. This is helpful if you’re having trouble balancing or your core is fatiguing (see tip 2).
Keeping your feet together will make an exercise more difficult, separating them will make it easier. Again, when you are first starting out, I suggest erring on the side of stability and separating the feet.
2. Keep your core engaged. Part of the reason I love TRX is that your abs are engaged the whole time. Even if you aren’t specifically targeting your core, your abs are working. To maintain proper form, keep your body in one straight line, just like you would in a plank. This may seem obvious, but as you fatigue, you may start to arch your back to try and swing your weight up, or drop your hips back because your abs are tired.
3. Keep your shoulders down. Again, this one may seem obvious, but it’s harder than you think. I find it especially difficult during bicep curls, so I used that exercise to demonstrate. As you fatigue, your shoulders will start to hunch, so focus on pressing them down away from your ears.
4. Setting the TRX height. If you’re holding the straps in your hands, the length of the straps doesn’t matter very much. You may want to adjust them based on the amount of space you have, but no matter how long they are, you can just change your distance from the anchor point as needed. However, when you are putting your feet in the straps, the height is important. Adjust the straps so that the bottom hits you roughly mid-shin.
5. Keep your grip loose during lower body exercises. When you’re working your legs, you want to really work your legs! Your grip on the TRX should only be for stability, you don’t want to be supporting your weight with your arms. The best way to ensure you have a loose grip during lower body exercises is to hold on with just one or two fingers from each hand.
This will keep you stable but prevent you from pulling, forcing you to use those legs.
6. It will feel different. This may seem like a cop-out tip, but it’s the truth. TRX is very different, so it’s important to keep that in mind. For example, in certain exercises, you pull your bodyweight up towards standing, so you aren’t really lifting much weight at the end of the motion. This makes a lot of the exercises look deceptively easy. It may also get frustrating because it will feel like it should be easy, but it won’t be. You are moving a lot of weight at the beginning of the motion, and you’re challenging your body in a new way by incorporating balance/stabilization. You may feel like you aren’t doing it right, but chances are, you are, and you’ll feel it tomorrow! Don’t get frustrated. You get used to the feel of it with practice.
The first time I did TRX I was sore for four days. It wasn’t because I wasn’t strong, it was just that different. That’s what I love about it though, so I hope these tips will help you love it too!