A new year means lots of new goals. For me, building some serious core strength is on the top of my list. Since I would rather get a root canal without Novocain than do planks and sit ups on my own, I went in search of a killer core workout in a class setting.
After some internet searching and talking with other athletes in my area, I decided that TRX workouts might just be the answer to my dilemma.
Last week, I attended my first 45-minute class at Rotations Cycling and TRX Studio and got my butt absolutely handed to me by the owner, Sandy. Check out my recap below of the awesome full body workout, and learn about the few surprises that I had during the sweat session.
What are TRX workouts?
In a few words, a TRX workouts are basically body weight workouts on steroids. A suspension system allows you to use your own body weight, and then scale the movements in a variety of ways to get an awesome strength training session that also promotes mobility and range of motion in the movements.
From their website, TRX says:
The TRX Suspension Trainer is the original, best-in-class workout system that leverages gravity and your bodyweight to perform hundreds of exercises. You’re in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise – because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance.
Their mission to deliver a fast and effective full body workout is what drives the programming of each class, and I can tell you for certain, the class I attended delivered.
In every TRX class you will be using the TRX Suspension Trainer. The Suspension Trainer consists of a strap system that is anchored to a rig giving you complete stability during your movements. The two straps are complete with handles, foot cradles, and are easy to adjust to different lengths for different movements.
In the class I attended, we also used a small yellow yoga ball that weighed about a pound to add resistance to a few movements, as well as a mat and a barre for balance. Truly, the meat and potatoes of the TRX workouts came from the TRX Suspension Trainer, and I was not disappointed with the challenging workout it delivered.
Upon entering the class, I was expected a Pilates-style core workout. I was completely unprepared for what the next 45 minutes would entail.
The instructor began with a quick intro to the class, taking a moment to say hello to me as a “newbie” and give me a few words of encouragement before we began. It didn’t seem all that important at the time, but later in the workout when I found myself completely unable to do parts of the movement, I remembered her encouragement to do what I can and find my own limits, and was grateful for it.
As it turns out, TRX workouts really live up to what it sets out to do as a full body workout. We began standing and working through a series of movements holding on to the straps including stretching, squatting, chest presses, ab-roll outs, triceps extensions and more. During each of the movements, there was loads of core involvement, but I worked up a serious sweat because of the continuous reps and whole body involvement. Every thing we did was a multi-joint move, and I quickly learned that the closer you bring your feet to the TRX rig, the more difficult the movement becomes.
After around 30 minutes of standing (which I’m not even kidding, felt like 5 I was having so much fun), we transitioned to the floor for “core work.” Considering my abs and lower back were already screaming, I knew that things were about to get serious.
And boy, did they ever.
During the approximately 10 minute core portion we performed variations of TRX workouts including planks, static holds, mountain climbers, pike movements and more. I pretty quickly learned that this would be my biggest limiter and felt like I was taking more breaks than I was actually participating here. But the instructor was SO encouraging, reminding me to do what I could, and even modifying movements for me so that I could participate with the class, just doing something that was at my current level of strength.
The core work included some serious oblique exercises, and left me literally laying in a pile of sweat.
We finished the class with a nice mobility piece, using the TRX Suspension Trainer to flow though some stretches for our hips, glutes, lower back and core. It was a great way to end the class and cool down from what ended up being a bit of a cardiovascular workout.
What I Liked
The thing I most enjoyed about the TRX workouts is how dynamic and fast-paced it was. I was a little worried that I might end up getting bored, but the 45 minutes completely flew by. I honestly couldn’t believe it when the instructor told us the class was nearly over and we were cooling down.
I believe that the variety of movements, and how we quickly transitioned from one to another kept it both interesting and challenging and made the time pass quickly.
What I Loved
I’ll be honest, I didn’t go into this class expecting to love it, but in the end, I really did.
I loved that it was a full body workout. I wore my heart rate monitor out of curiosity and actually found myself in Zone 2 (a low aerobic zone) for around 25 minutes of the workout, mostly when we were standing. While I would consider the movements to be predominantly strength training, I liked that my heart rate was elevated and I got a good sweat on during the class.
And I love love LOVED the amount of core action that was happening. Sure, everyone expects to feel their core work and engage during the core portion of a class, but I appreciated that during nearly every movement I felt my core’s involvement. That was exactly what I signed up for.
Finally, I really enjoyed my instructor. Sandy was knowledgeable and fun, and knew exactly when to encourage me to push harder, as well as when to offer an option on a movement I was struggling with. I think, like most group exercise classes, having the right trainer can really make all the difference.
Much like most small group fitness studios, in the research I’ve done it looks like every area is going to be priced a bit differently.
As a drop-in class at this location, I paid $12. They also have unlimited monthly memberships available for $75. The pricing is comparable to what most of the yoga studios in my area are charging.
That said, TRX is a definite fitness trend to keep your eye out for in 2016 as it’s catching on big time. My local YMCA offers daily classes that are included in the membership, and the gym where I teach, an Anytime Fitness, just recently installed a rig and will be launching the program in just a few weeks.
So if you’re interested in giving it a try, definitely do some research to see what classes and studios are available in your area.
All in all, TRX was a really great workout. It had some excellent body weight strength training and mobility components, and really engaged my core in exactly the way I was looking for.
I see this class as being a great compliment to any well-rounded fitness program, and while I wouldn’t use it replace heavy lifting, I could see it being a great compliment to a cardio day or a HIIT workout.
Have you tried TRX? What did you think of the class? Be sure to let us know! We love hearing your feedback.