A new way to work out

What is TRX?

You may have heard the name. Or you might have noticed people in your local park using these strange yellow and black pulley devices. And because you see so many fitness fads come and go, you might be a little suspicious.

Are they on to something? Or is this just the latest gimmick?

We take a look at the origins of TRX and see if it has any practical benefits.


What is TRX?

What is TRX?


What is TRX? And where does it originate from?

Although it seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, TRX (or Total Resistance Exercise as it is otherwise known) has its origins in the late-1990s.

Randy Hetrick, a US Navy Seal, was serving in South East Asia in 1997. He had become frustrated by his lack of access to traditional gym equipment and was looking for alternative exercises to the standard body weight exercises such as squats and push-ups. He used what equipment he had at hand, ju-jitsu belts and parachute webbing, to trial his new inventor ideas of suspension exercising.

The idea was to utilise gravity and the participant’s own body weight to create challenges to the body. Because the resistance was not fixed in place by a machine, the thought was that the individual would need to work harder to control the movement. In theory, this would mean that there was a greater need to recruit the core muscles. It was also devised to improve strength, flexibility and balance.

Opponents to TRX suggest that some of the exercises may be overly challenging to the recreational gym user. They also suggest that without well-developed core muscles the exercises will be too difficult to perform.

Certainly, as a Navy Seal, Hetrick could be considered an elite athlete. And the system does seem to require a fair amount of underlying co-ordination and ability. As with most training devices though, the benefits are proportional to how well (and safely) the equipment is being used. It is always worth getting the input and guidance of a qualified professional.

But because the field of exercise science is such a minefield these days, it is always helpful to know if there is research to back up the hype.

TRX is backed by research

As TRX grew in popularity so rapidly, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) was keen to look deeper into the burgeoning exercise phenomena.

In 2014, ACE enlisted the help of a team of researchers from the Western State Colorado University to carry out the research for them.

The participants in the research were put through an 8-week programme utilising the TRX system.

The research team concluded that the programme had a significant impact on improving body composition and increasing cardiovascular health. They also noted that it had a positive impact on muscular fitness, and could see its value in helping with flexibility and balance.

All in all, the research was a ringing endorsement of the TRX training system.

So if you fancy a challenge, and something a bit different, why not give TRX a try?

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