4 Reasons to Give TRX Suspension Training a Try

I can freely admit that the first time the TRX equipment came out during an exercise class at CCRP, I was a bit skeptical.  The loops and handles looked more like some crazy S & M set up than a legitimate way to work out!  However, I kept an open mind and put my hands on the handles and went along for the ride.

After a few classes, I soon realized that the TRX equipment was helping me to achieve many of the goals in the gym that I have for my patients in the clinic.  It was at that moment that I began to appreciate what different kinds of suspension training exercises can do for you.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that we should put down the free weights and exclusively exercise with the TRX, however I do believe that there is a place for it in many of our work out routines.

So why is TRX Training potentially beneficial for people with low back pain?

  1. Focus on endurance –The research has found that in order to avoid injury to the low back region, individuals must challenge the endurance of their back and abdominal stabilizer muscles with high reps and low weights.  TRX fundamentally challenges the endurance of the core stabilizers at all times.  Just about every exercise has an element of core engagement and stabilization which is excellent for people with low back pain.
  2. Functional movements – The TRX system allows people to exercise in functional, full body movements.  The research is steering us away from simple exercises that focus on isolation of one muscle group.  Muscle isolation is good if you want to build muscle bulk, but not if you are trying to improve fitness or avoid injury.  You can combine movements at the shoulder, trunk, and hip in order to create life-like movements which will carry over into functional strengthening.
  3. Deloaded Environment – The TRX allows the exerciser to exercise in a deloaded environment.  The means that there are less compressive forces being placed on the spine and will greatly decrease the risk of injury to your low back.  The TRX is unique in that you can exercise against varying levels of body weight in a deloaded environment.
  4. Focus on Postural Muscles – Anyone who has done a TRX workout for any length of time knows that the muscles between your shoulder blades get tired!  This is because holding onto the handles and leaning back greatly engages your upper back posture muscles.  This is great news because the research has found that increasing endurance particularly in the muscles of the upper back is crucial to maintaining a happy and healthy spine.

So the next time you walk by the TRX equipment hanging from the ceiling in the gym think about giving them a try.  Talk to one of the personal trainers to come up with a few ideas of movements that you can do on your own.  And know that the research is fully behind what you are doing!

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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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