But before you leave this page, hear me out.
In my own pursuit of muscle, I'm always studying the lifters, writers and coaches who are killing the game. These people not only know their stuff, but they also spend time in the trenches. And then they report back on what works and what doesn't.
A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram. I was consuming my feed with eyes wide shut until I got slapped in the face with a video from John Meadows. He was doing y-pulls on a TRX suspension trainer. It looked as though he had four rear deltoids in each of his arms.
Prior to this video, I hadn't given the TRX much credit. I knew they existed and had seen some ads on them, but there was nothing in me that wanted to incorporate suspension training into my game.
But seeing someone who I follow and respect use them, changed my mind. [imagemap id="22930"]
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TRX Suspension Trainer - A New Way to Add MuscleIf you're aim is to build muscle, it's likely that you've looked past the TRX and bee-lined straight for the dumbbells. Dumbbells will always be there, I promise. It's time to jumpstart your training routine with some bodyweight training.
If you believe that barbells and dumbbells are the way to pack on slabs of lean muscle onto your physique, you're partially correct.
All it takes is a quick YouTube search of an Olympic gymnast. Within seconds, you'll realize that bodyweight training can make you look like a monument of physical excellence.
If you don't believe me google search Phillip Boy or Nabarrete Zanetti. Unless you're a top level strength athlete, there aren't many men who wouldn't want to look like that.
If you dig into what these athletes do for their training, it's obvious that these guys have some serious strength.
Gymnasts start their training at very early ages and by the time they become competitive, they have had thousands of hours of training under their belt.
With hundreds of reps on done over these years, they build incredible strength; all with bodyweight movements. With strength, hypertrophy also comes along.
You may not be training to be a gymnast, but you may have been neglecting bodyweight movements as a means to add muscle.
The TRX suspension trainer will never replace barbells or dumbbells. However, it's great way to augment your training. Core work, pulling work and single limb work are a few areas where the TRX can really level up your training.
With a sound approach, you'll be surprised at how effective the TRX can be in your own muscle building pursuit.
Who is the TRX Suspension Trainer For?
#1 - The "get back in shape" personMaybe you were a stud in college. You were that dude who could clean 315 for reps. And then, life happened.
Far to many happy hour meet ups, late night pizza binges and 11 years later you've turned into something you thought would never happen. That stallion you once looked at in the mirror is now a tired, overweight dog who'd rather sit on the couch then go hunt.
But somewhere deep down, you have a flickering flame that hasn't been put out just yet. You want to get back in the game. You want to get up and go conquer something. You want to feel like that stallion again.
For this person, bodyweight training with the TRX is a great segway. Lets be honest, if you were deadlifting 600 pounds back in college, and you haven't touched a bar in while, charging into the gym trying to duplicate the effort is like stepping into the ring with Tyson with your hands tied. You're headed from some serious damage.
Lack of neural efficiency and compromised joint health are all at risk when you try to load too much weight after a long time away from the gym.
Instead, priming your body with TRX training will allow you to train for strength and hypertrophy with a much lower risk of injury. As this person build there muscular endurance and improves neural efficiency once more, gradually adding back heavier loads would be ok.
2. The "I don't have time" personWhile most will gawk at this excuse, I'm going to take a different angle.
If you look around at your immediate social circle; family, friends, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-workers, you'll notice that people are actually pretty busy.
Deciphering whether their busyness is actually yielding progression is for another article. But for the most part, people are busy doing stuff.
When we're busy, we tend to make a lot of decisions. When we make a lot of decisions, our brain gets tired. When our brain gets tired, we have a lower capacity to make good decisions. This is why skipping the gym and ordering take out is so popular.
Going to the gym after a long day, requires more good decision making (resource that you're typically running low on at days end).
Plus, the gym is a social scene these days too. You got to look good and make sure your fit is on point. This yields another decision, what do I wear to the gym?
Then you've got to deal with traffic. Which route can I take to get there the fastest? Deciding on what to do when you get there demands thinking power. Should I get on the treadmill, or do a few triceps pulldowns?
Going to the gym is more than one decision.
That's why it can be so hard to get your tail in there. The excuse we use is labeled as "I don't have enough time", but in reality the real culprit is that you don't have enough (mental) energy.
For this person, setting up a TRX suspension trainer in their garage, basement or spare bedroom relieves a lot of the decision fatigue.
You can get to your gym without ever leaving your home. You can wear that crusty, seven year old t-shirt you got at the Linkin Park concert if you want. And with the workout provided below, you don't have to worry about deciding on what to do for your workout.
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3. The tired lifterThis person has no problems with discipline. An F-4 tornado could be on its way into their home town and they'll still find a way to lift.
The problem is stagnation, not action.
Although this person never misses a workouts, they've stalled in their progress. Tired, spiritless and lacking that hungry-as-a-dog-on-the-back-of-a-meat-truck mentality, this person needs some time off from the monotonous nature of their training.
TRX training fits the bill for this person. Changing things up to bodyweight training will expose this lifters body and nervous system in an entirely different fashion. This method will set them up for new gains and allow them to recover from months, maybe even years of traditional, heavy lifting.
The TRX Suspension Trainer Workout ProgramThis program has taken the time tested methods from bodybuilding and fused it with functional training. It's a fresh take on the conventional approach to building muscle that can be used for different levels of trainees as mentioned above.
The program is a three day split: a push workouts that hits the chest, shoulders and triceps, a pull workout that attacks the back, biceps and traps and a total body circuit that serves as a metabolic conditioning circuit. I'd recommend running this program for four weeks and then depending on your desired training adaptation you can make an adjustment afterwards.
Each set in the workout should be performed as a superset, ti-set or giant set, depending on how many movements are listed. Once the required movements and reps are completed, rest 90-120 seconds between sets.
There are some movements that may come across as unorthodox. These movements have been listed with an asterisk next to them. I've included a short written description on how to perform them below each day of training.
One or two days should be dedicated to some type of aerobic acivity for 20-30 minutes. Choose a medium you enjoy. This way, you'll be more likely to stick to it.
If you hate walking on an incline on a treadmill at the gym, don't do it. Hope on your bike and hit the trail. If you you'd rather get a tooth pulled then go for a run, jump on a rower, throw in your ear buds and tune into your favorite podcast.
|TRX Wide Flye* - 90-120 sec||2||8|
|TRX Push Ups||2||12|
|TRX Incline Press||2||15|
|TRX Wide Dips - 90-120 sec||2||8|
|TRX Chest Press||2||15|
|TRX Lunge - 90-120||2||10|
|TRX Triceps Extension||2||8|
|TRX Deltoid Flye||2||8|
TRX Wide FlyeIf you mastered the push up, this will bring a whole new level of challenge. Doing flyes on a suspension trainer will increase the tension on your chest and hit your core at the same time.
You'll start in push up position with the stars lowered to the ground (about 6 inches from the ground). Assume a grip that has your palms facing each other. Then, push up to gain a position at the top of the push up.
From here you'll slowly widened the straps away from you while keeping a tight midsection. Your elbows should be slightly flexed. Once your face is almost touching the ground, recover to starting position by brining the straps together at the top of the push up position. [imagemap id="22945"]
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|TRX Inverted Row* - 90-120 sec||2||8|
|TRX Hamstring Curl||2||12|
|TRX Biceps Curl||2||15|
|TRX Wide Strap Chin Ups - 90-120||2||8|
|TRX Y Pulls*||2||12|
|TRX Squat to Row - 90-120||2||20|
|TRX Knee Tuck||2||15|
TRX Inverted RowWith the TRX inverted row, you'll hit the upper back and the biceps in one movement. You'll set the straps low to the floor (about one and a half feet from the bottom).
You'll assume a supinated grip (palms facing each other). Anchor your feet so they are planted on the ground with your knees bent.
To initate, you'll activate the lats to start the pull and follow through with the elbows. Pull yourself up until the straps are touching your chest.
TRX Y PullsYou want to pack the neck and eng.ge the anterior core so you ribs don't flare up and out. You also don;t want to go into over-extension in the back when you find this position.
You'll assume the position with a overhand grip. Your arms will be extended out in front of you as they assist your weight as you lean back.
With a tight midline, you'll pull yourself up while keeping the arms locked and flexed. The straps will travel out and above your head.
Lower the yourself and the straps to starting position and repeat.
|Full Body Circuit|
|TRX Three Way Row* - 90-120||3||12|
|TRX Overhead Squat||3||20|
|TRX Push Up||3||20|
|TRX Glute Bridge*||3||20|
TRX Three Way RowIf you're looking to bring up your rear delts, the TRX three way row must be in your approach.
You'll set the straps to hang at about your hips. To execute: Grap the straps with a palms up grip and lend back as far as you can while keeping your feet planted on the ground.
Then, row for four reps with the palms up grip. Switch your grip to have your palms facing each other and then row for four reps. Lastly, change your grip and overhand grip and perform for more rows.