TRX Group Course Review

7:00am.  Sunday.  My alarm clock goes off.  I’m meeting fellow MFF trainer Geoff Hemingway on the A train at 7:50am.  We’re heading to Union Square for a day long TRX Group Course at Nimble Fitness.

Wait.  What?

That’s right, the first continuing education experience of the year was a group exercise course.  The TRX has long been a part of my training arsenal, and one that I use in my online coaching.  We use a number of  suspension-specific exercises in MFF’s training armament.  A renewed interest in coaching-based learning has piqued the interest of the MFF team, and we can’t pass up a NYC-based class.  It was the perfect time for me to get off my health & fitness high horse to learn some new things.

Joined by Geoffrey, Elizabeth Stacey, and Mark Fisher, Sunday was an adventure in making the TRX Suspension Trainer simple and scalable.  Here’s how the day started:


That’s right, the day started with us sitting down.  We were told the TRX creation and company creation story, in fact.  Our instructor, Susane Pata, has been with TRX since the beginning, and her knowledge of their evolution was something that I don’t take lightly.  Let’s check my mindset:

I’m not that interested in simple fitness tools.  I’m slightly interested in well-branded products.  I’m incredibly interested in how systems are built and have evolved, and Susane satisfied that curiosity to my nerdy brain’s pleasure.  The ‘branded’ TRX course comes with some pretty neat verbiage that helps you understand how to adjust exercise intensity.  It’s this system that I really enjoyed.

More on this later.  First, about the Suspension Trainer itself:

The suspension trainer allows you to manipulate your bodyweight in space against a single fixed point.  The fixed point lets you anchor almost anywhere, but not quite to the “Train Anywhere” motto that TRX uses.  If you’re not setting it up correctly, it could come crashing down.  It takes a cinch the anchor carabiner along the suspension anchor, but it’s necessary if you want to get it done.  Here’s an example from my youth:

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 11.52.11 AM

The beauty of the suspension trainer is that you can bring it anywhere.  I often throw one in my trunk when I’m driving somewhere may  workout along the way.  TRX has matched the possibilities with their own “principle” based system to adjust exercise intensity.  It seemed like a rather complex system for using a relatively simple implement, but I appreciate their ability to take a a physics and kinesiology course and wrap it up with some simple ideas:

The Vector Resistance Principle states that as your body angle steepens, you’re holding a greater percentage of your bodyweight, and therefore an exercise becomes harder.

The Pendulum Principle states that you can assist or resist an exercise by changing the starting position relative to where the TRX naturally hangs.

The Stability Principle states that stability is maximized with a large base of support, or stability decreases as the base of support becomes smaller.

These principles fall in line with some training rules that have long been found in the sports performance or strength & conditioning worlds: stand to train, perform integrated, multi0joint exercises, and train in three planes of motion.  There you have it.  My kinesiology professor should be proud.

Once we refreshed this, we moved on to the TRX exercises themselves.  You can find a boat load of them on the official TRX YouTube channel right HERE.  Let’s move on to something more important, and that’s our instructor, Susane.  Here she is giving a specific cue to a classmate:


Everything about Susane’s teaching was exciting.  My teaching and communication nerd was thrilled. She learned every attendee’s name, set and managed expectations the entire time, and did a brilliant job of answers questions without bogging us down with information.  It was those pointed answers that I loved.

Susane noted that in the group training environment, we don’t have the luxury of answering every question with deep, complex answers.  We have a few seconds or a few sentences, and then we’re onto the next thing.  Practicing this very skill has been a goal of mine since I’ve been at MFF, and one that I’m still working.  Her reminder was a sign that I’m on the right track.

After our lunch break, Susane let us know about the some of the secondary TRX courses that we could take, along with advice for our career paths.  It was another teachable moment that I loved.  She was welcoming each of us with open arms.

Look at Mark, cheesin’ for the camera.

We were able to spend the day learning some new exercises from Susane, teaching exercises to our coaching partners for the day, following a class workout that followed the beat of the music, and then building and completing a circuit training workout with the class at the end of the day.

You can check out some highlights from the day below:

If you have a chance to check out a TRX course, I’d recommend it.  They offer a simple system to learn exercises and build workouts that let’s you engage clients or athletes in a new, exciting way.  That new-ness can be implemented as quickly as your broader training education can allow, and I believe more serious fitness-types need to appreciate that.

I had a blast at the TRX Group Training course, and you should expect more of that information as I continue to unpack it!  If you’re interested in picking up a TRX for yourself, get one HERE.  If you want to learn more about how I’m already implementing it in online coaching, go HERE.

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