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Today in Health & Wellness
FITNESS AND FUEL

Women and Resistance Training

By: Don VelascoWomen and Resistance Training

Whenever we’d go to the gym, we’d often see a dichotomy between men and women. Men lift weights while women do cardio. This is usually because of the misconception that women will grow large bulky muscles if they lift weights. To be honest, the human body doesn’t really work that way; genetics, hormones, nutrition, and of course weight and rep range play large roles in muscle development. Nonetheless, we should respect that some people (girls and guys alike) don’t really want to lift weights in a traditional sense and instead want to do something different. This is where TRX comes in.

Total Resistance Exercise (TRX) has been around for almost two decades and is very popular among both genders and age groups. Suspension training, as it is generically known, develops your strength, core stability, and general mobility with very minimal equipment involved.

Here are a few reasons why TRX should be a part of your workout regimen:

  1. Easy to do in the convenience of your own home.

One of the main obstacles towards your fitness goals is time. Driving to the gym and back can often be a headache in itself – it’s one of the main reasons why people skip workouts. By making training more accessible and convenient, you’re allowing fewer excuses and better results! All you need is a small space, a ceiling/wall mount or a sturdy door frame, and you’re all set! The best part is, you can stow it away when you’re done to keep things nice and tidy.

  1. Adjusts to your fitness levels easily.

Have you ever joined a group class and felt lost and unmotivated? That’s because the first time can easily become overwhelming. Luckily with TRX, there are lots of instructional videos on how to get started. Not only will they guide you on proper usage, but these videos also tell you how to adjust TRX so it can “grow with you.” Depending on how you adjust the strap lengths, position your body, and perform certain movements, TRX can suit both newbies and veterans alike. The best part is no extra equipment is necessary!

  1. Sport-specific benefits (also known as functional strength).

I’m a huge believer in lifting weights especially since it has huge benefits for sports in general. However, there are also other ways where one can develop strength, stability, and power – one of which is TRX. Sports like running, cycling, swimming, and even pilates, and yoga can benefit from suspension training. It allows you to perform specific movements that are beneficial to your sport.

  1. Allows you to identify specific weaknesses and target them.

There are dozens of workouts that you can do with TRX. Each of these workouts utilize a certain muscle group or skill. There will be times where you’ll find certain exercises difficult or challenging. This usually means you have an underlying imbalance, weakness, or mobility problem. The solution is simple: train consistently, progress methodically, and do supplementary work to help resolve each issue. You’ll be nailing these exercises sooner than you think!

  1. Can be done on your own or as a group.

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, there are ways to incorporate TRX into your regimen. I personally use TRX as a way to squeeze in workouts in my busy schedule. I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything – I just hook it up and break a sweat! Some people would rather make it a social event and use it as a way to push each other. After all, camaraderie in itself is great but camaraderie towards a fitness goal is even better!

  1. Help you lose weight and tone down!

If you want to lose weight and tone your body, there’s no replacement for eating a healthy diet and doing some form of cardio. However, resistance training can also play a huge role in helping you reach your fitness goal. Resistance training, such as TRX, can help improve your body composition (i.e. your body fat percentage) by burning fat and building muscle. TRX takes it a step further by engaging your whole body. Most TRX exercises are compound (involving several muscle groups) and bilateral (involving both sides of the body). Not only will you burn a lot of calories while you perform the exercise, but you’ll also trigger muscle development. This allows you to increase your metabolic rate; you’ll burn more calories even while at rest. Remember that muscles burn more than twice as much calories as fat. It’s definitely something to consider when you’re thinking about skipping your strength routine!

If you’re wondering how you can get started with TRX, here are a few workouts that you could start off with:

  1. TRX Chest Press

Hold one strap in each hand, face away from the anchor point. Move forward until the straps are fully lengthened. Keep your core engaged and your body straight. Stand on your toes, lean forward, and allow your whole body to descend. Push yourself up once you’ve reached the lowest part of your movement. The straps should move with your hands. Breathe in as you go down, then breathe out as you go up. Repeat 8-12x for 3 sets. You can change the difficulty of the exercise by lengthening the straps to control your body angle. An angle more parallel to the ground will be more difficult.

  1. TRX Low Row

Hold one strap in each hand, face towards the anchor point. Move backward until the straps are fully lengthened. Keep your core engaged and your body straight. Stand on your heels (make sure they don’t slip), lean backward, and allow your whole body to descend. Pull yourself up once you’ve reached the lowest part of your movement. The straps should move with your hands. Exhale as you go down, then inhale as you go up. Repeat 8-12x for 3 sets. You can change the difficulty of the exercise by lengthening the straps to control your body angle. An angle more parallel to the ground will be more difficult.

  1. TRX Squat

Adjust the straps so that they’re right around your waist when fully extended. Take two or three steps back while holding the straps in each hand. The straps should be fully extended at this point. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and go for a squat. The downward movement should be controlled and gradual. Once you’ve reached the bottom of your movement, you can use the straps to help pull yourself up. Exhale as you go down, then inhale as you go up. Repeat 8-12x for 3 sets. You can change the difficulty of the exercise by relying less on the straps for support.

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