Strap in for a suspension-training workout that will carve your core and slash fat fast.
TEXT SARA ANGLE PHOTOS JAMES FARRELL
If you've used a TRX or seen one in action, you know that it’s no joke. The hanging straps ratchet up the resistance of body-weight moves by leveraging gravity and make each rep a balance challenge. This constant stabilising forces multiple muscles to work – on top of the ones that the move itself is meant to target. Combine that with some speed and you’ll not only sculpt double time but torch fat too.
You can supercharge basics like the plank when you do them with your hands or feet in the straps rather than on the floor, because you’re using more muscles, especially your core, to keep your body from swinging, says TRX instructor and Nike master trainer Joselynne Boschen, the founder of Alpha Sport LA studio in the US, who uses the TRX with celebrity clients such as Elizabeth Banks.
Science proves it: One study in the journal Human Movement Science found that the abs were activated 184 percent more during a suspended push-up (with hands in suspension devices and feet on a platform) than during a standard one, while researchers at the University of Central Lancashire in England discovered that suspended planks engage your six-pack muscles far more than regular ones.
Experience this bodychanging tool with Joselynne’s 17-minute routine on the next page. The trick to maximising your burn is not to rest between moves. (Don’t be afraid to go all out; you’ll get breathers between sets.) Some exercises may feel difficult, but if you need to make them easier, plant your palms or feet farther apart on the floor, or adjust your body angle, which will make your body feel lighter.
“Just don’t give up,” she says. “There’s always an adjustment to make a tough move less tough.” Plus, the tightening and toning results you get are worth every drop of sweat.
INTENSITY Moderate to hard (RPE*: Shoot for a 7 to 9 out of 10)
TOTAL TIME 17 minutes
YOU’LL NEED A TRX Suspension Trainer. Most gyms have them, or you can buy your own ($99, www.trxsingapore.com).
HOW IT WORKS If you’re home, fasten the TRX to the top of a door frame with the door anchor (or to a fixed point overhead – like a tree limb that’s 2m to 3m high and strong enough to hold your body weight – with the suspension anchor). Warm up, then complete the first set of exercises. After that, you’ll rest for one minute, then repeat the set. You’ll do this same process with the second and third sets of moves (after a quick adjustment to the strap settings). Do this routine three times a week on alternate days.
CALORIES BURNT 102 (this calorie burn is based on a 63.5kg woman).
*Rate of perceived exertion; see www.shape.com.sg/rpe
Do one minute each of squats, jumping jacks and a plank on your forearms or palms. Next, loosely holding TRX handles for balance, stand on left leg and swing right in front of and across body for 30 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat.
Fully lengthen the TRX straps.
SQUAT TO REVERSE FLYE Stand facing TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding handles with palms facing in, arms extended forward at chest height. Lean back until straps are taut and hands are at shoulder height (body forms a 45-degree angle) to start. Squat. Return to start. Squeeze shoulders together and open arms out to sides until they’re slightly in front of shoulders. Return to start. Continue doing squats and flyes for 45 seconds.
SUSPENDED SQUAT Stand facing away from TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding outside of handles with palms facing in, elbows bent behind you with hands under armpits. Step feet back until straps are taut and weight is in toes (body forms a 45-degree angle) to start. Bend knees until upper body is parallel to floor, keeping arms fixed. Return to start. Repeat for 45 seconds.
SPRINTER’S START Stand facing away from TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding outside of handles with palms facing in, elbows bent behind you with hands under armpits. Step feet back until straps are taut and weight is in toes (body forms a 45-degree angle). Drive right knee towards chest. Immediately switch legs. Repeat. Do this for 45 seconds.
Rest for 1 minute, and repeat this set.
Adjust the straps to mid-length (yellow tab at the doubleyellow hash mark on the black straps).
OVERHEAD EXTENSION Stand facing TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding handles overhead with palms facing away from you. Step back far enough so arms are completely straight. Keeping arms and legs straight, hinge from waist as you rock back onto heels until body forms a pike position. Reverse movement. Repeat for 45 seconds.
SPLIT JUMP Stand facing TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding handles with palms facing in. With arms slightly bent at shoulder height in front of you, step back until straps are taut. Step right leg into a reverse lunge, both legs bent 90 degrees. Jump, switching legs in air to land in a lunge with left leg back, keeping constant tension on straps. Repeat for 45 seconds.
SINGLE-LEG SQUAT ROW Stand facing TRX with feet hip-width apart, holding handles with palms facing in, arms extended forward at chest height. Lean back until straps are taut and hands are at shoulder height (body forms a 45-degree angle), and lift left leg off floor. Bend right leg 90 degrees, extending left leg straight forward. Straighten right leg, bending elbows behind you, pulling handles to chest. Continue squatting and rowing for 45 seconds. Switch sides. Repeat. Rest for 1 minute, and repeat this set.
Adjust the straps so the handles are at knee level.
FORWARD LUNGE Stand facing away from TRX with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Put arch of right foot in foot cradle of right strap. Bend right leg 90 degrees to start. Bend left leg 90 degrees, sending bent right leg back. Return to start. Repeat for 30 seconds. Keep foot in cradle.
KNEE DRIVE Start on floor in plank on palms with right foot in cradle, left leg raised next to it (feet under anchor). Pull left knee up to touch right elbow. Return to start. Repeat for 30 seconds. Keep foot in cradle.
BURPEE Start in plank, then step left foot between hands, rising into a runner’s lunge. Stand on left leg, draw right knee forward to hip height. Reverse movement back to start. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Rest for 1 minute, and repeat all exercises on your other side.