With beach season firmly upon us I guess we'd all love to look a little more like Izabel Goulart and a little less like Mr Blobby. In light of this I thought I would share with you something new to me, introducing TRX. Although I have always been a healthy size I know that with my wedding approaching I now more than ever feel the urge to tone up and get fit. I attended my first TRX class in Fitness HQ back in May and since then I've been hooked. Having never been one for the gym I was skeptical on whether I would enjoy it however the classes are so fun and effective I actually look forward to going! TRX is a workout system that leverages gravity and your own body weight to perform hundreds of exercises. You are in control how much much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise simply by adjusting your body position to increase or decrease resistance. Here is a sneak peak at some of my favourite exercises, many of which you can do at home!
At the beginning of any work out I always start with a stretch and some foam rolling pictured below. Foam rolling before a workout will help to break up or relax tight muscles and adhesions formed between the layers of our soft tissue. Foam rolling after a workout can assist in recovery by aiding in circulation and returning tissue to relaxed state. As with virtually all of the equipment I mention in this post you can purchase a foam roller online or from MC Sport Sandyford, www.mcsport.ie.
The first exercise we started with is one of my favourites; Ball Slams that work the full body. This involves holding a ball of a weight of your choice above your head with feet shoulder width apart, I use a 3kg ball. You then slam it down as hard as you can between your feet with your hands following through and finishing back between your legs. Don't worry as the balls are made of rubber and filled with sand so they aren't going to bounce up and hit your face!
Following the ball slams we then go into Goblet Squats using the ball again, holding it tight and close to the chest. The minute I start these I can feel the burn in the backs of my legs and bum-with both exercises I usually do between 10-15 reps. If you can't make it to the gym, at home this exercise can easily be done without a slam ball; just cross your arms and hold them at chest level as pictured below. Alternatively replace the ball with a bag of flour or a large water bottle. Remember to keep everything "tight" and your core engaged at all times!
The next exercise we do is using a simple elastic band you could also buy and use at home. It involves standing on the elastic and then twisting it and holding it taught with your two hands and waste level. The object of the movement is to keep the band tight, lifting one foot at a time and side stepping. This is a fantastic one for toning the outside of the thighs while also burning the bingo wings. I find the backs of my arms and my thighs are my problem areas so I love this move. Surprisingly fun too!
Next we moved onto the TRX bands that are suspended from a beam above you. They can be used for hundreds of different exercises and are so fun to work out with. The first exercise we did on them was TRX Rows . You are effectively pulling your body weight up using your arms so expect them to feel like jelly after. While targeting the muscle groups in your arms and back you are also working your chest and core at the same time. The same goes for the second exercise on the bands, TRX Chest Press. Think of it like a push up or chest press but much more difficult as you are having to hold your balance on the bands using your core stability. Following about 10-15 reps of each of these I move on to TRX Tricep Extras, horrific if you're weak like me but amazing for that area I think a lot of us hate. By brining the hands up and together in front of the face the backs of the arms become the main focus. I could literally only do two of these when I first started!
Next to work the legs and bum we started TRX Single Leg Squats. Standing with one leg raised slightly in front of you, you move down into squat position holding that leg straight out in front of you, toes to the ceiling. This is a hard one to master as its not only difficult to squat on one leg but also to keep your balance. None the less it is again fantastic for working the whole body and is worth a couple tumbles at the beginning!
Following this is it was down to the mat for the final few exercises. The first of which, TRX Hamstring Curls, involve having your feet suspended in the bands and beginning with your legs straight, hand on your rib cage. You then pull your heels in towards your bum and lift up the pelvis working the backs of the legs and keeping the core tight.
Next come the TRX Mountain Climbers that work the full body. Holding yourself up using your arms you pull each knee in towards the chest in a swift but controlled manor. This is a great move for the abdominals while also working your arms. Following this, my last move on the bands is a simple plank with my feet suspended. This I usually hold for as long as I can, start with what you can manage.
To finish off we take it to the mat for some side planks. Side planks are fantastic for shaping the waist and can be done anywhere. The first and perhaps easier side plank can be done resting on your elbow, placing your feet on top of each other and lifting your hips up off the mat. It's important to keep breathing and to hold your core tight while keeping your back straight. The second move is a little harder, lifting straight up holding yourself on an outstretched arm raise the other arm up towards the ceiling and hold. For both planks it's important to swap sides and repeat!
For anyone looking to try something new I highly recommend TRX and the gym I train in, Fitness HQ. The facility is brand new and has been fitted to the highest spec. Everyone in the classes is in the same boat so I felt totally at ease however if you do prefer to work out one on one they provide that option too.
My trainer Johnny is offering one lucky reader a free session along with some work out goodies, a Speed Rope and Massage Ball used in a similar way to the foam roller. To enter the competition simply follow @fitnesshq.ie on Instagram or like them on Facebook, then comment on my Instagram post to let me know you have entered! A winner will be selected at random next Friday, July 24th.
For more information on Johnny and his gym check out their website www.fitnesshq.ie. Good luck!