Using a TRX, Red rope or any of these rope devices is “Strength Training” don’t fool yourself. Training to failure with any of these type devices is a bad as training to failure every time you go into the weight room.
Just because these devices don’t look like your standard barbell or dumbbell don’t be fooled, the body still treats their use as progressive resistance just like the BB and DB.
Can they have their benefits and if used properly can be a benefit? definitely. It’s understanding them and using them properly is what I would like to go over in this article.
Any of you who have followed my work with strength training you know I have one main obsession. The basic of “all” strength training is Progressive Resistance. My investigation has always been “Defining what it means”
Progressive-resistance exercise is a term you probably have heard and will hear a million times. It’s also known as the overload principle, and it’s the concept on which all strength training and weightlifting is based. The definition goes something like this: Progressive-resistance exercise is the process of applying an increasingly heavy training stimulus that is sufficient to induce positive physiological changes without exceeding your body’s capacity to safely adapt to it.
In other words, you must achieve an appropriate balance between training and recovery. Weight trainers usually explain this idea in extremely general terms, as follows: If you stress your body a little bit more each week by increasing the weights, your body will react to the stress by getting bigger and/or stronger.
In the sports worlds, aerobics type training there has been no question about following this philosophy for years. Entire companies are based on helping with the type of training, such as Polar.
In strength training this still seems to be a mystery to most people.
In the first part of this series I spoke about defining progressive resistance. I explained the history of Tudor Bompa, Phd considered by many the father of periodization and the first person to actually bring some sort of reasonable definition of “PR”. I further explained how I took this methodology and refined it so it could be easily used for modern day teams and bodybuilders with the use of MS Excel spread sheet.
This is a must to read if you have a strong interest in this subject PART 1, “Defining Progressive Overload, The Heart of Strength Training”
In part 2 of the series I took this defining progression on step further with bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups and pushups. Always keeping in mind that training to failure in these type exercises doesn’t give the best results. ”Blast your Pull-ups and Pushups through the roof.”
Now I come to part 3, because there is always one more gimmick that wants to redefine the basics.
With the popularity of the TRX type training devices it became clear to me that this ugly road of training to failure on what the body still considers progressive resistance was starting all over again just like doing pushups and pullups ever time you trained did before.
As I said in the beginning of the article, training to failure with a TRX, rubber band or any of these new devices can lead to the same overtraining mistakes as with any other type of progression training.
The TRX looks like a simple easy to use device to train with, and it is. Its’s great for home training or in a group. BUT and I mean BUT. You cannot train to failure and expect to get the best gains.
Defined the progression you will use here.
So let’s get into the answer. The answer is simple. We need to find a way to take a test and then increase the resistance in one form or another over a period that we can Plan the progression, Monitor the workouts as we proceed and finally Review and Analysis the results after a test at the end.
As we did with the pushups and pullups using bodyweight with are really limited about how much weight we can use. So with the TRX what we came up with was measuring the distance from the wall or the angle of the test and then defining the progression by increasing the reps while keep in the distance from the wall or angle the same.
I have put together an example hear to show you have easy it is to use this system with a TRX and MS excel spread sheet.
- You find the correct form for a push-up with your TRX.
- Find the distance from the wall that you can do between 10-20 reps. This will give you your current strength level.
- I use 10-20 reps because when I take the % of reps for each set during the training period it comes out to a rep range that is for strength. Say you do 20 reps as a test. When you take 50% for the reps on set on it comes out to 10 reps. Thus, you can see when you do 60%…70% etc. it comes out within the range of strength we can get stronger with.
- Set the number of reps you did in the MS excel spread sheet and the distance from the wall. See tape.
- So .You may have a starting point of 80 cm from the wall for 12 reps.
- When you put this in the spread sheet and print you will have a planned increase from week to week on how many EXACT SETS AND REPS you will do and what increases you will do each week. Spread sheet download ( THE SECRET)
- At the end of the training period you will take another test at the same distance from the wall. Now you will be able to see the increase in your strength.
- You can place this in your blank result sheet and get the % increase and also a graph of your increases. Below is an example using 2 exercises.
TRX Group Training using time:
In a group we can increase the progression by increasing the time used. So if you are using the TRX for example in a group environment you can just have the group do for example a pushup at a certain distance from a given point for 25 seconds the first week, then increase to 30 seconds the second week. See the progression step below. Just like in normal group exercises some may be 10 reps and others 5 but you are giving each person a pre-determined progression to work with. Use the same test and result sheets as provided for individual training.
Especially in groups such as the military where there are so many other physical elements in a days training overtraining with items such as the TRX can cause real problems
With group training you should test your beginning strength level much the same way you did above. Just find a distance from any start point with your feet where you can do 10-20 reps. After a few weeks of training for time you can always take the same test again.
The most important thing with any kind of strength training with one of the many devices on the market. You must not train to exhaustion ever training time. You must find some way to define your progression….monitor it… and evaluate it when you are done.