Two of my absolute favorite ways to train are Pilates workouts and TRX Suspension Training. For decades I was driven by Pilates – committed to a daily routine to strengthen my core, maintain flexibility, and develop overall total body coordination. Pilates helped me build a solid foundation from where anything else seemed possible. It is an amazing system for both general fitness and athletic performance. Ten years ago TRX arrived on the scene and it quickly became an important addition to my toolbox. The straps not only helped me to off-load my bodyweight but provided great variation to my practice, additional challenges and extra fun! The TRX straps are a perfect addition to the Pilates repertoire. I find it a win win with my own routine and with my clients! Here I share some simple variations using the straps with 6 classic pilates mat-based exercises; the Hundred, Roll Up, Shoulder Bridge Prep, Side Kicks, Swan and Spine Stretch Forward. Enjoy them! These moves are ideal for all levels. Start today building your strong and flexible core. You will feel successful right from the start. Straps: fully lengthened for all exercises HundredFocus: endurance of the spine in flexion while pumping the arms and breathing for 100 counts. Adjustment: Fully lengthened, heels in straps Position: Ground facing anchor with head under anchorStart: Arms long by sides hovering off mat, upper body flexed, legs in table topMovement: inhale pumping arms for five counts, exhale continue pumping arms for five counts and extend one or both legs out – repeat for 10 times Roll UpFocus: segmental articulation of the spine from neutral through flexionAdjustment: Fully lengthened,Position: Ground facing anchor with head under anchorStart: Hold handles, palms down, arms extended long overhead, legs ether bent or extended out straightMovement: inhale, bend elbows pulling straps to chest exhale, roll spine off mat , lengthening arms and reaching over legs, keep spine round inhale, begin rolling back exhale continue rolling bending elbows then lengthening them back out to the start position – repeat for 10 times Shoulder BridgeFocus: glute activation with stability of the spine in neutral.Adjustment: Fully lengthened, heels in straps Position: Ground facing anchor with head under anchorStart: Arms long by sides, legs in table topMovement: inhale to lift hips up off mat exhale to lengthen one or two legs out long inhale, bring legs back to table top exhale, lower hips to mat- repeat for 10 times Side KicksFocus: maintain torso stability while mobilizing the hip joint.Adjustment: Fully lengthenedPosition: Ground facing sideStart: both legs hinged at hip and extended out long, top foot in both straps (or go to single handle mode) bottom arm bent with head resting on arm or hand, top arm bent with hand on mat Movement: inhale swing top leg forward two times pulsing the leg exhale, swing top leg back maintaining form – repeat for 10 timesVariation: to increase the challenge, lift torso up off mat when top leg swings back Swan Focus: segmental articulation of the spine from neutral through extensionAdjustment: Fully lengthened,Position: Ground facing away from anchor with head under anchorStart: Hold handles, palms down, arms extended forward, legs shoulder distance apart, laterally rotatedMovement: inhale, bend elbows rotating palm to face body exhale, pull straps toward chest, extend spine off mat inhale, lower the body back down, lengthen arms back to start position – repeat for 10 times Spine Stretch Forward Focus: stretching of the entire spine and hamstringsAdjustment: Fully lengthenedPosition: Sit facing the anchorStart: legs extended long, feet under anchor, hold handles, palms down, arms extended longMovement: inhale, press into handles exhale, flex spine forward reaching arms over legs inhale, stay for the stretch exhale, roll back to start position – repeat 10 times About the author:
PJ O’Clair is a Senior Master course instructor for TRX® Training, a Master Instructor for Merrithew Health & Fitness and owner of ClubXcel and Northeast Pilates, an award winning STOTT Pilates(r) Licensed Training Center. She is the recipient of the prestigious IDEA “Program Director of the Year” award for 2008. PJ continues to be a sought-after speaker and consultant at fitness conferences and spas worldwide – and has written numerous articles for industry publications.