Monday, January 12, 2015

Core Strength: TRX Straps & Pull Up Bar

Michael and I (mostly "I", ha) have worked the better part of the winter cleaning up our basement.  The best result was bags and bags, and boxes and boxes of donation material.  We were able to give a ton of stuff to Goodwill, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Society For Visual Impaired and Blind, and the Kansas City Humane Society just to name a few.  But to be honest, the reason we began cleaning 10 years of clutter was to make room for a home gym and workout space.  I'll write a full post on it later when it's completely finished, but it's coming along great!

Two of the coolest things we've added to the home gym is TRX Straps and a Pull Up Bar.  TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise and was developed by a Navy Seal as a way to increase strength and flexibility, using only suspended body weight and a nylon strap.  We've attached ours to the floor joists in the basement.  I'm so excited about both of new pieces of equipment, and I've already seen results in my core strength by simply changing my routine a little.

Of course a good strong core is essential for distance runners, and it simply helps with everyday life as well.  A healthy and sturdy core helps maintain good running posture all the way to the finish line of a long run, and should be part of every runner's regimen. I focus quite a bit of time and effort maintaining my core ... even though I hate every second of it, ha.  I typically do about 30 minutes of core work, five or six times per week, before my running workouts.  Here are a few of the core and upper body movements with the TRX Straps and Pull Up Bar that have not only changed up my old, stale core workout, but have also increased my overall strength as I use my body weight for resistance and stability.

Hanging Reverse Crunch with Ab Straps - arm straps (harnesses) are latched to pull up bar and used as leverage to perform the crunch, the trick is to keep from swinging, and then lift the legs by tightening the core muscles
Hanging Reverse Crunch No Strap - Strengthens arms, grip, and of course abs, this movement is quite a bit more difficult without the straps, I'll also mix in hanging side crunches for oblique work
Hanging Leg Raise/Pike - Really works lower abs and hip flexors, similar to the reverse crunch, but a little more difficult, legs should be straighter than mine are here, bending only at the waist
Wide Grip Pull Up - These a work in progress, my shoulders are very weak and I'm conscious of avoiding injury since pull ups and bench press are two of the main exercises men over 40 injure themselves doing
TRX Suspended Crunch - The straps force stabilization from the entire core while performing the movement, I'll also alternate from side to side to work the obliques
TRX Suspended Pike - Similar to the suspended crunch, this increases flexibility and abdominal strength, as I grow in this exercise I'll keep my legs straighter and bend only at the waist
TRX Oblique Side Bends - Another work in progress, my form is not great but it will get better, this is one of the more slightly advanced movements and will greatly help with my obliques
TRX Reverse Fly - works posterior shoulder groups, which helps maintain posture during long runs, this is also a great exercise for people who stay hunched over a desk all day, good for keeping shoulders back
TRX Push Up - suspension forces stabilization from smaller muscles groups during the movement, quite a bit tougher than a standard push up without cables and helps with upper body strengthening
So there's a few of my new core and upper body movements.  There's about 1,000 different things you can do with the TRX Straps, but I'll start with these basic movements for now.  I won't do the same ones every day, rather, I'll  mix in a few here and there with my current crunch, plank, and stability ball work. But hopefully adding a few new exercises to my morning routine will confuse my core a little, and stimulate growth.  Have a great week!
... Be Great Today!


  1. I have a TRX thingy but it attaches to a doorway and I don't remember to use it very often. Your gym space looks great. I need to do that in my basement.

  2. Thanks Christy - it's really working out well for us! I'd always seen the TRX straps and wanted to try them, I'm so glad I did, it's such a great workout!

  3. Wow! I so need more than a home office space for my gym equipment! I'm jealous!
    and it is GREAT to see you incorporate all of these exercises in your training program!!!!!!!!
    keep it up!!!!!!

    1. Ha, I think you're doing "okay" with the space you have Melissa!

  4. I love my TRX system! It really does give me a good workout. I find that when training from Ironman, trying to find time to get to the gym to life is impossible!

    1. Yeah I'm really loving it J - I'm thinking about throwing it in my suitcase and carrying it with me on the road as well

  5. That looks like more than a home gym. Very impressive. You could almost sell memberships.

  6. First thought: very impressive set-up! And I hear nothing but good things about TRX (one of our local gyms even has TRX classes).
    Second though: Ain't nobody got time for that!

    1. Yeah, my local gym is the first place I ever saw them, they were having a class too

  7. Cleaning out the basement is on my bucket list for Spring. You are making me hurt. Ive gained so much weight over this winter I might break the trx straps. Lol. That is some cool stuff with the home gym.


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