How important is strength training? The debate goes on whether runners need to sweat it out with weights in order to improve their performance in running.
Personally, I’m a big believer in strength training. I workout at the gym thrice a week with machines and free weights. My personal trainer also included stability and core exercises in my program (which I always whine about yet never manage to escape!) All of these exercises have one goal in mind: to make me a stronger, injury-free runner. The result? Full recovery from a six-month battle with various leg injuries.
There’s just one huge problem: TIME! For the past month, I’m lucky if I get to step inside a gym once a week. Finding two full hours for gym time in my schedule nowadays is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Solution: TRX Suspension Trainer. I got the TRX two weeks ago at Chris Sports. It’s a couple of nylon straps that can be suspended from the ceiling or a door, which allows you to perform various exercises using your own body weight or gravity. It promises to give you a good complete body workout in less than 30 minutes.
– TRX Suspension Trainer –
– TRX Door & Anchor –
– TRX All Body Express Workout Guide –
Initially, when I heard about it, it sounded like those disposable exercise machines they sell at Home TV channels. When I saw the product, it didn’t really impress me. I wondered how these straps, which looked slightly thicker than my luggage’s shoulder straps, could give me a good workout. But, I had heard a lot of good things about it—that triathletes in the U.S. currently use it to train and that Men’s Health recognized it as the “Best New Fitness Gear.” So, I took it home with me and gave it a try. With one 30 minute workout, I was floored—literally and figuratively. I worked out in my own bedroom floor and, after following the video that came with the product, I was completely exhausted and drenched in sweat. I was sold.
– Screenshot of TRX Website –
Funny thing is, I’m not the only one sold on the TRX. When I told my personal trainer about it, he yelled out in jealousy “You have the TRX? I want one too!” Word is, it is slowly finding it’s way to local gyms (I heard Fitness First may have classes using TRX.) A week after, I saw it suspended from my gym’s ceiling and I watched a man panting, his sweat dripping down to the ground, as he did his exercises. I told my PT “I’m getting tired just watching him!” but, ironically, I wanted to go home and use mine.
With the TRX at home, my PT reduced my gym visits and allowed me to use TRX once or twice a week. In time, I hope to learn more running-specific exercises to cut my gym visits altogether and leave me more time to run or cross train.
Overall, I highly recommend the TRX Suspension Trainer. Here are some pros and cons I took note of:
– Great full body workout. The program includes 4 lower body, 5 upper body, and 3 core exercises for a complete body workout. It’s not one of those namby-pamby workouts, this one really leaves you feeling spent.
– Quick. All I needed was 30 minutes to sweat as if I had ran a 10k. Unbelievable.
– Versatile. A beginner can choose to follow the program provided, but if you wish to progress, you can learn new exercises from its website or purchase sport-specific videos.
– Clear directions. The product comes with a video and illustrated workout guide which guides you from set up to workout. I use the video at home. But, I can see myself or my husband bringing this along for a trip using the portable guide.
– Time-based. I’m used to counting reps at the gym, but the training here is based on time. You are allowed to go at your own pace as long as you do an exercise for the specified time.
– Fits in a bag. The entire product fits neatly into a small bag (included in the box). So portable!
– Durable. The straps are strong and durable. You won’t worry about dropping to the floor even as you hang suspended upside down from it.
– No running-specific workout program. I was hoping they offered a DVD for runners, but there were only DVDs for golf, tennis, and team sports. I’m concerned that some of the basic exercises in the DVD may not be advisable for runners.
– No trainer to check your form. While the DVD gives clear directions, you still run the risk of performing an exercise the wrong way without proper guidance from a trainer. One must practice caution and make sure that the exercises may not aggravate an existing running injury or lead to one.
– Requires self-motivation. You don’t have a personal trainer at home to push you to workout. The TRX requires discipline and motivation to get you to pull it out of the bag, turn on the DVD, and get started. Ooh baby, that can be a struggle on lazy days.
– Pricey: P7,949 for TRX Suspension Trainer and P1,329 for TRX Door and Anchor (optional). But, if you think of it, for an initial investment of roughly 3 to 4-month’s worth of gym fees, you get a lifetime workout-in-a-bag.