motion blurred imagery of yellow leaves on white barked aspen trees

TRX Vs. Weight Training: Which Is Better?

Your time in the gym is limited. You want to maximize it. Should you stick with traditional strength training exercises (think lat pull-downs and squats)? Or jump on the TRX bandwagon?

Originally developed by a Navy Seal, TRX—also known as suspension training—is a system of straps with handles that allows you to use your body weight and gravity to boost strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, core and joint stability. It’s gained popularity in recent years, but how does it measure up to good, old-fashioned weight training?

When it comes to building overall muscle strength and power, traditional resistance training and TRX work equally well, according to a 2013 study in Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. In another 2013 study in the Journal of Fitness Research, which included both young and older adults, results varied based on participant's ages and area of the body–with TRX proving slightly better for some, traditional strength exercises for others.

Not surprisingly, a 2014 study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that suspension training provides a better core workout. Researchers tested four suspension exercises (hip abduction in plank, hamstring curl, chest press and 45° row) and found core muscle activity higher than with similar exercises performed on stable and unstable support surfaces (like a weight bench or stability ball).

Because it works various muscle groups synergistically, rather than in isolation, TRX helps build functional strength that can enhance your performance and way of life. It can deliver an incredible total-body workout for all ages (including older adults!). To get results and avoid injury, however, you must know how to use the equipment and perform the exercises properly.

Fortunately, you can learn the ropes in an upcoming clinic–TRX Basics with Yvette—to be held three consecutive Tuesdays, September 15-29, from 9 to 9:45am. Cost is $45 for members and $60 for non-members. Click HERE to sign up.

TRX does require a base level of core stability and joint integrity. If you’re weak around your midsection, you should work on developing core strength before diving in. If you suffer from a bad back or joint injuries, TRX may not be your ideal workout. Talk to a Zenergy trainer for advice. 

Remember: If you aren’t up for a new challenge or don’t have time to learn something new, traditional strength training is still a great option. Our September clinic, Build a Custom Workout with Brenda (Tuesdays from 12-12:45pm, September 15-29), will help you choose the best exercises to make the most of your gym time. You’ll come away with four complete workout plans and many exercises to pick and choose from with proper form and function. Cost is $45 for members, $60 for non members. To sign up, click HERE.