World’s Ultimate 20-Minute Home Workout
A TRX Suspension Trainer workout to fine-tune the core muscles your body calls upon late in a race.
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When the TRX Suspension Trainer first came out, in 2005, it quickly became a cult hit among gym rats for its deep library of strength exercises and its ultra-portability—allowing you to work out anywhere from a hotel room to a beach with one palm tree ($190; fitnessanywhere.com). But more recently, elite endurance athletes like 2009 Ironman runner-up Chris Lieto have begun turning to the system to supercharge traditional body-weight strength routines. TRX uses a pair of straps hanging from a door or beam to slightly destabilize your body as you run through variations of classic lunges, push-ups, and crunches, fine-tuning the stabilizing muscles your body calls upon late in a race. “The TRX forces you to strengthen muscle as it relates to the movements you’d be doing in your sport,” says Matt Dixon, Lieto’s coach. “It makes it more real-world.” Here’s Dixon’s four-move core-strength recipe for endurance athletes
Core Strengthening: Sprinter’s Start with Knee-up
WHY: “This move strengthens the hip muscles used by runners and cyclists and also engages the core,” says Dixon.
HOW: With feet below the TRX anchor point, lean forward with the handles near your shoulders and one foot forward, like a sprinter. Keeping tension on the straps, push forward on your front leg and bring your rear knee through as high as your hips. Repeat.
How to strengthen your core with a suspended pike.
Core Strengthening ExerciseSuspended Pike
WHY: “It engages the lower and upper abs, the lower back, and the hip flexors—the muscles at the top of the legs and groin—which is a general weakness in both cyclists and runners,” says Dixon.
HOW: Place feet in straps and get in a plank position on your hands. Pull your feet toward your shoulders while lifting your hips high in the air, keeping your legs straight. Return slowly to start.
Suspended Oblique Crunch
How to strengthen your core with a suspended oblique crunch.
Core Strengthening ExerciseSuspended Oblique Crunch
WHY: Builds the oblique abdominal muscles, which keep you steady during the final stages of a hard run or ride. “If you don’t have strong stabilizers, fatigue will set in even more quickly,” says Dixon.
HOW: Place feet in straps, toes down, and assume a perfectly flat plank position on your forearms. Pull your right knee in toward your left elbow. Return to start and repeat toward right elbow.
Core Strengthening: Power Pulls
How to strengthen your core with power pulls.
Core Strengthening ExercisePower Pulls
WHY: “This improves your rotational core,” says Dixon. “You’re not just working on a pulling action that strengthens the back; you’re forced to engage your core at the same time.”
HOW: Hold both straps in one hand, lean back, and reach for the anchor point with your other hand. Bending your knees, reach toward the ground on the same plane as the straps. Pull yourself up, focusing on your back and core, not your arm muscles.