Pure Testosterone #12: Straps of Death – TRX Training
If there’s any endeavor that can compete with music for the sheer volume of trend-hopping, it’s exercise. People are always looking for the magic formula that will allow them to drop the gut, beat depression, or chase a bus without blowing chunks. The missing factor, of course, is diligence: people want more results with less time. This is why exercise trends fade: people realize that in order to be successful you have to be consistent. Remember Tae Bo? Of course you don’t. And regardless, it’s been called shadowboxing for a century.
One of the reasons CrossFit is popular is because of claims that you can get insanely fit in under a half-hour. People love the idea of Spartan fitness in McDonalds time. And it’s true, to a point. Still, there’s fine print most people don’t read: unless you already have good baseline fitness, CrossFit is ill-advised if not dangerous. Working hard is great but I question executing Olympic lifts with poor form after years on the couch. Don’t like the idea of hemorrhoids from poorly executed cleans? Then ramp up slowly before maximal efforts. Been working your ass off? No problem, join a CrossFit gym.
Fortunately, other options abound. In addition to the amazingly versatile kettlebell (which I wrote about more than a year ago on IO), the heavy bag and the jump rope, I consider the TRX suspension trainer one of the few indispensable pieces of exercise equipment. Yet there is no doubt that the TRX trainer is a huge trend. Celebrity endorsements? Check. Classes up the ass at your local gym? Check. Selling a gadget the handy could assemble by visiting Home Depot for a quarter of the price? Double check.
Despite these drawbacks, the TRX is one of the best fitness tools. The exercises are hard, and they work. I’d say it’s a must-purchase for any touring musician or roadie who gives a shit about fitness but can’t get to a gym on tour. Throw it on a steel beam outside a venue or use the door frame anchor at your motel and work off all that Waffle House.
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TRX is worth the time for three reasons: versatility, core strength and portability. There literally isn’t any exercise you can’t perform on it: you can hit every muscle as hard as you want. The core workout is second to none; there’s nothing that will build torso strength like holding your weight in the air. And if you’re a metalhead and you exercise, chances are you’ve only been banging out bench presses and curls with a cursory set of sit-ups at the end. TRX workouts – which can be performed almost anywhere – will restore balance to Gimli physiques. As much as I love kettlebells, you can’t take a 35-pound monster in your bag. The best thing about TRX training is that you can customize the exercises based on your fitness level. You work hard but in a sensible way that allows your body to adapt. Chest presses can be easy or intense based on foot placement. Squats go from easy to nearly impossible by using single leg variations or compromising balance.
Of course, there is the cost (150 bucks). Nonetheless, I know most readers of this site have easily burned a few hundred bucks on records in one sitting. If you can do that, you can make this investment. And it was easier for me to just drop the dough and get a versatile tool rather than play Home Improvement.
Attached below is a baseline TRX workout for kultists willing to jump on a fitness trend most associated with well-heeled yuppies. Trust me: it’s not easy. There’s also a special Invisible Oranges playlist with some motivational speeches to get you through your workouts (TRX or otherwise) during the remaining summer months, as well as some dirty metal to account for all of the crap you’ll get on your knees and hands (unless you are working out in a hotel room). There is no pain in this Dojo.
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TRX Introductory Circuit:
Follow the hyperlinks to learn the appropriate form for each exercise. During the circuit, do as many reps as possible for 45 seconds, take a 15 second rest and repeat. There are short breaks included. The whole body workout will take about 35 minutes. Don’t perform the workout until you’ve studied the exercises and feel comfortable performing them. If you are working from a lower fitness level, drop the working time to 30 seconds and bump the rest time to 30 seconds as well.
TRX Squat: 3 sets
Atomic Pushup: 2 sets
Chest Press: 2 sets
Rows: 2 sets
Pikes: 2 sets
Power Pull: 2 sets
Rest 1 minute
Curls: 2 sets
Tricep Press: 2 sets
Y and Ts: 2 sets
Reverse Crunch: 2 sets
Sprinter Starts: 2 sets
Rest one minute
Supermans: 2 sets
One legged squat: (2 sets each leg)
Mountain Climbers: 2 sets
Stretch: 10 minutes