Thursday, January 24, 2008

Review - TRX Suspension Training System

Late in 2007 I was using the rather meager fitness room that my company provides for doing some free weight work and the more I used it, the more I wanted to have some sort of resistance training equipment at home so I turned to my good friend Google to help me find something. I wanted to keep the price low, $200 max, and I wanted something that would fit in the very limited space in my basement where I would wedge rollers, trainer, computer/DVD player & monitor in amongst the boxes of "necessary" items (like the boxes that haven't been opened from our move into the house 10 years ago) and the washer/dryer.

One of the first pages I came across was entitled "Home Gym Reviews" on a blog called the "Exercise Equipment Expert." This looked promising. With a little digging I found a page Best Home Gym Under $200. That page seemed made for me! With an eager eye I went to read and what a great read it was! Watching the video of the "system" in action it looked simple enough, small enough and was priced right - I was very intrigued.

Now, of course I don't believe everything I read on the web, so I went to the website at Fitness Anywhere and looked around. They have articles about pro athletes using the system, health clubs and rehab clinics. They have articles by major sports magazines. I was sold.

I received my TRX Home Training Bundle on Tuesday and got to really put it through it's paces today. The bundle comes with the Suspension Training System itself, a door anchor, workout DVD, Quick Start Guide, Core Workout DVD (with 2 different routines), mesh bag for packing and fold-out exercise guides.

I watched the DVDs on Tuesday and I was immediately impressed with the quality of the instruction provided. Each exercise is very clearly shown by a knowledgeable expert who talks you through the mechanics and important points. Of course the instructional videos make everything look easy - more on that later.

Yesterday I went through one of the core workouts and with only 10 minutes devoted to figuring out the movements and doing the exercises I made myself suitably sore today. Yesterday was supposed to be an easy day so I didn't work these exercises as hard as I could and don't really consider it a true test of what the system can do.

The TRX Suspension Training System uses one's body as the weight, varying the difficulty of the exercise by leaning more or less against the straps. Fitness Anywhere calls this "functional strenght training" meaning you are exercising your body in a much more true-life way. Weight lifting trains each muscle in a linear fashion but suspension training utilizes the small muscles that help stabilize the body to a much greater degree. This burns more calories and improves balance, flexibility and joint mobility better than traditional weight training. The system was developed by a Navy Seal for use by people who have to maintain top fitness in cramped quarters.

For tonight's workout I was trying to work the same muscle groups as the Friel-suggested training I've been doing. Specifically I was trying to simulate:

  • Squats
  • Seated rows
  • Leg press
  • Chest press
  • Deadlifts
  • Lat pulls
  • Hamstring curls
  • Crunches
I had to make a couple of substitutions. For leg press I opted for one-legged lunges and for deadlifts I swapped a jackknife-like maneuver. For the crunches, I did them face down, feet suspended, pulling my knees to my chest.

VERDICT: This is one very tough workout. I set my sights on doing the same 30 reps that my workout calls for and I wanted to do 3 sets. Most of the exercises I got close to 30 reps but at the end of the second set I knew I was done. As I move around tonight I feel the same level of muscular exhaustion that I would from regular free weights. The added dimension of having to balance while doing the exercise is a level of complexity that I knew would increase difficulty but I didn't know how much. I thought my balance was good and was perhaps a little overconfident. I was quickly shown the error of my ways.

Overall I am genuinely impressed. I feel completely confident that this system will fulfill all my home gym resistance training needs and have no reservations in recommending it to anyone that will listen.

Shameless Plug: After trying the TRX I liked it so much and I believe in it as a training system so much that I became an affiliate. If you find my review helpful and do decide to buy a system, please click my link or one of the banners to get to Fitness Anywhere. It costs you nothing and makes me a couple of bucks. Thanks!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

have anyone hear about

i find this site from google, they sell trx suspention very cheap

is it reliable?