The multipurpose TRX Suspension Trainer can add a challenging new dimension to your ab training.
By Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC
The TRX Suspension Trainer is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment on the market today. It can be used by gym-goers at all levels, from beginners to advanced; it’s lightweight and portable, so it can be set up almost anywhere; and it requires you to constantly remain engaged throughout your entire body. Almost every exercise performed on the TRX (and there are hundreds) demands some kind of core recruitment. Here’s a simple yet challenging circuit that you can perform two to three times a week. You can use other forms of suspension trainers, such as Blast Straps or even gymnastic rings, but I find the TRX to be the most versatile and user-friendly.
Three-Movement TRX Suspension Trainer Circuit
Get into a suspended push-up position with your feet in the cradles, your torso braced and your spine neutral. Initiate the movement by driving your hips up toward the ceiling without bending your knees. Return back to the starting push-up position and repeat the hip lift for the desired number of reps.
2. Pendulum Swings with Knee Tucks
Start from the same push-up position. Keeping your knees close together, initiate the movement by tucking your knees up toward one elbow. Return back to the push-up position and immediately swing both knees back up, this time toward the other elbow. Repeat this controlled back-and-forth swinging movement for the desired number of reps.
3. Body Saw
Start from the same push-up position (or from your forearms if it becomes uncomfortable on your wrists). This exercise requires very little movement. You simply push your body backward from your hands, about 6 to 12 inches. There is no up-and-down movement involved. Think of trying to push your feet to the wall behind you. Every time that you extend back your abs will engage to help keep you in neutral alignment. Be sure not to drop the hips and dip into any sort of lumbar extension — this is a sign to stop the exercise.
Beginners should shoot for two rounds of this circuit, completing 15 pikes, 20 swings and 15 saws. More advanced trainers can work up to three rounds of 20 pikes, 30 swings and 20 saws. Slot this circuit in at the end of your workouts two to three times per week and your core will become stronger. Guaranteed.
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, has been the strength coach for dozens of pro athletes and was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter reality show. DBstrength.com