Intro and Definition of Posterior Chain
Effective glute training enhances performance both on and off the field, whether you are a competitive athlete, a weekend warrior, or just someone who likes being active. The glutes make up a piece of interconnected segments in our body collectively known as the “posterior chain.” Many fitness and rehab professionals define the posterior chain as all the muscles on the backside of your body from the head to the feet (neck and back muscles, lats, glutes, hamstrings, and calves).
As you read through this blog, do a quick assessment on yourself. As you look at a profile view of yourself in the mirror, take note of your upper back (rounded?), how about at the hips (is your upper body leaning forward?), moving down how do those glutes look (flat?) and those hamstrings and calves (scrawny?). If you were any of the cues in parentheses then you likely would benefit from more posterior chain training.
Why Train the Posterior Chain
With all of the muscles involved, and all the actions they perform—core stability, power production, functional movement, and activities of daily living (ADL’s)—it makes sense that we should pay particular attention to this area of our body. Not only does the posterior chain aid our bodies as athletes or even weekend warriors, but it continues to play a huge part in our day-to-day activities and overall function. Not training the posterior chain can lead to its own issues that can range from scapular dysfunction to thoracic or low back pain to knee pain, depending on where the weak link is in the chain. So, while it might seem to be a lifelong commitment to training this area, it also doesn’t have to be overwhelming to even the average fitness person.
Regressions and Progressions
When training he posterior chain, a good place to start is to think of how you might progress through exercises, setting up the movement patterns and then adding load once you are comfortable with the basic movements. Two excellent movements for the posterior chain are the hip hinge (at the hip joint) and a hip extension (lying on ground or bench). For the hip hinge, begin with a body weight hip hinge (good mornings) and progress to a deadlift or a Kettlebell swing (also a hinge movement). For the hip extension movement, you can begin this with body weight glute drive (floor or bench) and you can move to body weight single leg. Once you are ready to add load, the Hammer Strength Glute Drive is the ideal choice. This allows you to execute the glute drive movement loaded but it is much easier to get in and out of than a barbell loaded hip extension, much more comfortable, and safer as you progress to higher loads. The hip hinge and glute drive are two extremely effective movements. Familiarize yourself with the movement patterns and then challenge yourself with the loaded options.
I hope that we have made a compelling argument how important the posterior chain is to your health and well-being. While it may look nice to spend an extra five minutes on those biceps and triceps, it may be a better investment in yourself to devote 2-3 sessions per week perhaps picking 1-2 exercises devoted to the posterior chain. We hope that we’ve given you some insight on training and why we should be thinking about training areas that we may not have linked together. Until next time. Happy training.
Since TRX® introduced Suspension Training to the world more than a decade ago, we’ve championed the idea that the TRX Suspension Trainer® can be a one-and-done tool. If you only have space for one piece of equipment in your home or on the go, the straps deliver a full-body workout.
But the Suspension Trainer doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s also easy to incorporate other equipment, like weights, into your Suspension Training routine to level up your strength training. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce TRX Dumbbells—the latest addition to our full-body lineup of tools.
Why TRX Dumbbells?
From weights to resistance bands, TRX has spent years branching out beyond our signature straps to outfit your gym with the highest-quality fitness staples for any type of workout. We’ve developed the best kettlebells, weighted vests, power bags, and glute bands, and now we’re excited to debut the ultimate fixed-weight dumbbells.
Ranging from 5 pounds to 50 pounds, (or 2.3 kg to 22.7 kg, for the metric-minded folks),TRX Dumbbells have durable, rubber-hex ends—so they won’t go rolling away—and ergonomic handles with a knurled textured grip to encourage proper form.
Get Reacquainted With a Classic
The dumbbell icon is synonymous with strength. While many people may associate free weights with mental images of bodybuilders and CrossFitters, dumbbells aren’t just for bulking up and building mass. They can also be used for strength and toning.
Curls, rows, presses, squats: many moves you do with your TRX Suspension Trainer can also be performed with dumbbells. And you don’t have to choose between tools. Sometimes, you can have it all!
How To Add Dumbbells to Your Suspension Trainer Workout
To ease into adding dumbbells into your TRX routine, we’ve developed two mini-circuits demonstrating different approaches to the combo.
The first set pairs similar movements on both the TRX Suspension Trainer and TRX Dumbbells, and the second set incorporates dumbbells into your favorite Suspension Trainer exercises.
Let’s get started!
Superset Cardio Burst
For this superset series, we’re letting the TRX Dumbbells and TRX Suspension Trainer shine individually by pairing slight variations of the same exercise using each tool. Our three combos are:
- TRX Jump Squat + Dumbbell Loaded Squats
- TRX Sprinters + Dumbbell Stepback Lunges
- TRX Hamstring Curl + Dumbbell Hip Thrusters
You’ll be doing each move for 45 seconds, followed by a 15 second break to reset with the next move. Total circuit time: 6 minutes. Feeling feisty? Double the set for a 12-minute burn.
TRX Jump Squat + Dumbbell Loaded Squats
Start with your straps adjusted to mid-length. Stand facing the anchor, heels planted hip distance apart, and lightly grip the handles. Drop low into your squat, and drive back up into a jump, lifting off from your toes and landing on your toes. Keep the movement fluid for maximum benefit.
For the Loaded Squats, you’ll once again start with your heels planted hip-distance apart. Rack your dumbbells on your shoulders—we suggest a set of mediums or heavies—and proceed to drop into a squat, and fire back up to full extension. For your safety, keep your heels on the ground for this move. (In other words, no jumping!)
TRX Sprinters + Dumbbell Stepback Lunges
Fully lengthen the straps, and stand facing away from the anchor point with the straps threaded under your arms. Keep your chest forward, and walk your feet back until your body is forming a 45-degree angle with the floor. The angle may feel a little weird, but the Suspension Trainer will support your bodyweight.
Next, pick one foot to be your planted or forward foot: that foot will stay connected with the floor as your other foot steps back into a lunge. Return to your neutral position—feet standing parallel—by driving off your forward, planted foot and activating your front quad.
Once you get the hang of that movement, you can add a balance component by not letting your “free” foot touch the floor at the front of the movement. Finally, you can either speed up or add a hop to each rep for an additional challenge. Don’t forget to spend equal time on each leg!
For your Loaded Stepback Lunges, you’ll hold either one dumbbell in each hand by your sides, like a suitcase, or grab the rubber ends of a single dumbbell and hold it next to your chest, under your collarbone. Keep one foot firmly planted, and step back into a lunge with the second foot. Both knees should bend to 90-degree angles, and your back knee should hover just above the floor. Drive forward to standing through the planted, front foot, and repeat the move, alternating between sides.
TRX Hamstring Curls + Dumbbell Hip Thrusters
For the TRX Hamstring Curl, adjust your foot cradles to the mid-calf position, and start lying on the ground, face up, with your heels resting in the foot cradles. In this move, you’ll begin firing through your quads and posterior chain to lift your backside off the ground. Once you’re flexing and floating, pull your knees in toward your chest, and then fully extend your legs.
If the back of your body feels like it’s on fire, you’re doing it right!
You’ll return to land for your Dumbbell Hip Thrusters. Again, you’ll lie down, facing up. Bend your knees to form a triangle with the ground, and keep your feet flat on the floor. Load one or two medium or heavy dumbbells on your hips, and be careful to hold them in place.
With your shoulder blades firmly connected with the floor, engage your glutes and press your hips—weights and all—up toward the sky. (You’ve reached the top of the movement when you’ve straightened out your hip crease.) Drop your booty back to the floor, and repeat!
It Takes Two
In the second circuit of our workout, we’ll incorporate dumbbells into three Suspension Trainer exercises.
Don’t breathe a sigh of relief too soon: this isn’t a shorter series. Since these are single-side moves, you’ll have to complete them on both sides of your body. The exercises in this set are:
- TRX Dumbbell Power Pulls
- TRX Lunges with Dumbbells
- TRX Plank with Renegade Rows
TRX Dumbbell Power Pulls
For the TRX Dumbbell Power Pulls, adjust your straps to the fully shortened length. (Pro-tip: If you want to keep the free handle from swinging while you work, you can thread the free handle through the triangle of the handle you’re using.)
Start with the Suspension Trainer handle in your left hand, with your left elbow pulled back and tight to your body. Your left palm should be facing inward while holding the handle. In your right hand, you’ll be holding a light or medium dumbbell.
Keeping your body squared with your anchor point, extend your left arm completely straight, then pull the left elbow all the way back. As you pull the left elbow back, you’ll reach the right hand and dumbbell up toward the anchor point. When you release and extend the left arm, you’ll rotate the right hand and dumbbell out and back to your right side for an opener.
As you complete reps, maintain your plank: your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be in one line. After 45 seconds on the first side, take a fifteen second break, switch which hand is holding the Suspension Trainer handle, and which hand is holding the weight.
TRX Lunges with Dumbbells
Adjust your Suspension Trainer to the mid-calf length, and stand facing away from the anchor point. Place a medium dumbbell or set of dumbbells in front of you on the floor.
Choose which foot you want to suspend, and thread that foot through both foot cradles. Pick up your weight or weights. If you choose two dumbbells, you’ll hold them at your sides, like you’re carrying a pair of suitcases. If you opt for a single dumbbell, hold it in front of your chest, under your collarbone.
From your standing position, lower down on the planted, front leg to an almost-seated position, extending your suspended leg behind you. Then, pressing your front heel into the ground, drive up to straighten your front leg and return to your standing position.
Repeat for 45 seconds, then place your dumbbells on the ground and switch legs during your 15-second break. (If you need more than 15 seconds to transition safely, take your time.)
TRX Plank with Renegade Rows
We’re beefing up the TRX Plank by adding a Renegade Row using our TRX Dumbbells.
Adjust your straps to mid-calf length and kneel facing away from the anchor point. Place a medium weight or weights at the top of your mat. Thread your feet through the foot cradles, and—using either your palms as your base or your TRX Dumbbells as handles—push up into a TRX Plank.
Whether you use the floor or a dumbbell as your base, one arm will remain straight, braced on the floor or dumbbell, while the other will rep out as many rows as possible for 45 seconds.
Choose your rowing arm, and pull your dumbbell off the floor in a low-row motion—elbow tight to your ribs—while maintaining your TRX Plank. After 45 seconds, take a 15 second break and switch sides. This is an advanced move, so feel free to take breathers as needed during your 45-second active interval.
If the traditional TRX Plank is too challenging, you can lower down to the floor, slide both of the foot cradles onto a single foot, and suspend only one leg while using your unsuspended foot as a kickstand on the floor. (Both legs will still be activated to support your plank and Renegade Row.)
One of the many strengths of TRX Dumbbells is they can be paired with so many tools in the TRX lineup—such as the Suspension Trainer and Glute Bands— to create more challenging workouts.
Can you use TRX Dumbbells on their own? Absolutely! And you probably will. But when you’re ready to test the theory that two tools are better than one—when you’re ready to challenge yourself with more demanding workouts—these TRX Dumbbell exercises will help you unlock next-level strength potential.
Take a look around the TRX® “weights” category, and you’ll see a lot more than just kettlebells and dumbbells: there are wall balls, slam balls, discs, powerbags, and weighted vests to spice up your workouts. Certain TRX tools, like medicine balls, even come in a Kevlar® upgrade option. At first glance, it may seem like the only difference is the price tag—Kevlar gear is more expensive—but the durability and versatility of a Kevlar medicine ball more than justify the extra investment.
Why is Kevlar perfect for workout gear?
DuPoint scientist Stephanie Kwolek developed Kevlar in 1965, and the material hit the commercial market in the 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Kevlar was revolutionary because it was lightweight, flexible, heat-resistant. It’s five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. The tight weave of Kevlar fibers is incredibly hard to penetrate, so it’s resistant to bullet and knife damage. That’s why military and police personnel often wear Kevlar vests and helmets.
Before you get any crazy ideas: Don’t run around trying to deflect bullets with a Kevlar Medicine Ball. But when it comes to finding the best possible material for workout tools like medicine balls, Kevlar is it.
What makes a Kevlar Medicine Ball special?
The Kevlar Medicine Ball’s very long, very official name is the TRX® XD™ Kevlar™ Medicine Ball. (How’s that for a bunch of symbols?) All those extra registrations and trademarks mean there was a lot of research and development that went into making this the best medicine ball on the market—something you can toss, throw, or slam.
TRX Wall Ball
There’s debate in the fitness community about appropriate ways to use a medicine ball, and that’s because most medicine balls are what TRX calls “wall balls,” meaning you can throw them overhead for a standard wall toss—you know, the kind CrossFitters love to do—or wind up laterally for throws or passes. But throwing a wall ball down to smash it into the ground? Not a good idea. Wall balls are usually made from leather or a leather-like material, and slamming them into the ground will destroy the exterior shell.
TRX Slam Ball
For slamming, you typically need a slam ball, which is squishier than a wall ball, and lands with a super-satisfying “thud.” (Seriously, the next you’re having a rough day, do a few slam ball throws. It’s a great stress reliever.)
Slam Ball Pros: The TRX Slam Ball has a grippy rubber surface, and it won’t roll away or ricochet.
Cons: As the name suggests, it’s meant for slamming. You could certainly use it as added weight for a squat or a Russian twist, but it’s not aerodynamically-optimized for overhead wall-ball-style throws or partner passes.
TRX’s Kevlar Medicine Ball, however, can do it all. The Kevlar shell is comfortable to grip and catch for overhead or lateral throws, and it can stand up to the pressure of repeated contact with your floor or driveway. Available in both 10” and 14” diameters, in weights ranging from 4 lbs to 20 lbs, you can choose the Kevlar Medicine Ball that feels best for your hands. It may be more expensive than the slam ball or wall ball individually, but it gives you more workout options with just a single piece of equipment.
What do you actually do with a Kevlar Medicine Ball?
Holding your Kevlar Medicine Ball at chest level, you can add weight to many of the strength exercises you probably do all the time—we’re talking squats, lunges, overhead presses, sit-ups with an overhead press, or Russian twists. You could also counterbalance and challenge your control in skaters, or add more burn to a run-of-the-mill push-up by offsetting one hand on top of the medicine ball. (For an extra treat, slide or roll the ball under your body and switch off-set hands after each rep.)
On the cardio side, you could use a Kevlar Medicine Ball for football-style toe taps, shoulder-burning wall balls, partner-friendly chest passes, or stress-burning ball slams.
Weights and kettlebells may last you a lifetime—assuming you avoid rust damage—but tools like medicine balls usually have a limited lifespan. When these types of equipment eventually fall apart, it’s because of the way they’re used. The impact of slams, the constant friction of sliding—it’s too much for most materials. The TRX® XD™ Kevlar™ Medicine Ball is the most durable option on the market, so you can slam, scoot, throw, and roll it longer than the standard tools.
There’s no way to gloss over it: weights are an investment. When you’re ready to add a medicine ball or two to your collection, buying durable equipment is the smartest way to stretch your dollars further. Kevlar may not be the material you automatically think of for creating gym equipment, but it should be. Stronger than steel is strong enough for your next workout.
If your TRX Training ClubSM workout calls for Strength Bands, do you automatically know which elasticized accessory to grab?
There are lots of bands in the fitness world, and most people don’t know which one’s which. That changes now. We’re doing a deep dive into everything you need to know about TRX Strength Bands, Glute Bands, and Exercise Bands. In just a few minutes, you’ll be a band expert.
Oh, the Many Bands You’ll Meet
The smallest, lightest bands on the block are the Exercise Bands. They’re a continuous loop made from rubber latex, and are about 10 inches in diameter. (Think: giant rubber band, specifically made for fitness.) Exercise bands are usually reserved for low-impact training, rehabilitation, stretching and mobility.
While you can easily program a full-body, 30-minute workout using only an Exercise Band, you’ll usually spot these being used for isolated hip work and rotator cuff targeting. For example, you could place a lightweight Exercise Band around your forearms while planking, or slide a medium or heavy Exercise Band around your thighs to drive up the intensity of squats or planks.
For a booty-boosting workout, TRX Glute Bands are your new best friend. Unlike the Exercise Bands, our Glute Bands are made from fabric and they’re velcro-adjustable. Available in light, medium, and heavy resistance, they won’t pull at your skin or hair.
Also, did we mention they’re crazy-effective for toning the glutes and hip flexors? Even the “light” Glute Band delivers enough burn to make you double check the label.
Rounding out the collection are the Strength Bands, which are approximately 3-ft. long, continuous, heavy-gauge rubber loops. They’re the ones usually hanging on the wall at the gym because, frankly, most folks find them uncomfortable. Even TRX founder Randy Hetrick, a former Navy SEAL, admitted that he used to avoid Strength Bands because they pinched his hands. That’s why he created the TRX Bandit, a universal handle that lets Strength Bands finally—finally!—realize their potential.
Slip the Bandit over (almost) any Strength Band, and you’ve got a high-impact, low maintenance system for squats, curls, presses, and rotational power.
Before we move on from identifying bands, let’s not forget about that other on-the-go tool that we all love: The Straps! The TRX Suspension Trainer™ is not elastic, but it’s still a one-size fits all strength training superstar. When you’re looking to add extra burn to your Suspension Training® workout, try adding Exercise Bands to TRX Rows, Bicep Curls or Tricep Dip, or Glute Bands to any of your TRX Planks.
Why are people obsessed with bands?
Resistance bands are affordable, portable, and efficient—a triple threat that can appeal to any fitness enthusiast.
First, let’s talk affordability. We’re not saying that bands are the best or only way to workout, but they’re the cheapest option that doesn’t cut back on quality.
Next, there’s the portability factor. Maybe you’re the person who brings a collection of kettlebells wherever you go, but the average person doesn’t want to lug extra weight. Resistance bands produce similar benefits to weights, but they’re lightweight and compact. You want a gym you can squeeze into a fanny pack? Invest in bands.
Finally, there’s the efficiency consideration. Whether you opt for Exercise Bands for light toning, or Strength Bands outfitted with the new TRX Bandit as a substitute for cable-powered lifting, bands give you the freedom to crush serious workouts absolutely anywhere.
Ready to move?
You didn’t think we could tell you everything you need to know about resistance bands without sharing workout suggestions, did you?
Exercise Band Extras
In a plank position, try adding TRX Exercise Bands around your forearms (in a high plank) or above your elbows (in a low plank) to challenge both your upper body mobility and your core stability. Trust and believe, the burn will set in fast. You can also try slipping an Exercise Band over your feet—around midfoot—for an amped-up Mountain Climber, Bicycle Crunch, Dead Bug, or Slow March.
Bonus Points on the Straps: Remember you can add the Exercise Band around your forearms when using your Suspension Trainer for upper body exercises like TRX Rows and Tricep Dips!
Glute Band Burn
Whether you’re squatting with bodyweight or loaded weights, adding a Glute Band will shred your bum in the best way. Start with a basic squat, then experiment with jumps or lateral squat steps. When it’s time to hit the mat, you could also use the Glute Band to drive up the intensity of Fire Hydrant Lifts or Donkey Kicks.
Bonus Points on the Straps: Slip on a Glute Band before you rep out your TRX Front Squats, Planks, or Pikes. Warning: May result in extreme soreness and bragging rights.
Strength Bands For the Win
Armed with your Bandit handles, there’s no limit to what you can do with Strength Bands. Consider super-setting exercises, first with your bands, then with your Suspension Trainer to compare how different tools affect your movement. Start with a Bandit Squat paired with a TRX Squat, then try a Bandit Chest Press with a TRX Chest Press, and finish with Bandit Lateral Raises followed by TRX Y-Flies.
There’s plenty of room in the fitness world for weights, Suspension Training®, and resistance. Look past the “either/or” dilemma when choosing gear, and embrace introducing tools like resistance bands to keep your body guessing. Remember, change makes your workouts interesting and enjoyable, and increases their overall effectiveness.
Still looking for more tips and tricks with bands? Don’t forget that you can filter TRX Training ClubSM on-demand videos for the specific equipment you’re using, including Strength Bands, Glute Bands, Exercise Bands, Bandit, and—of course—the Suspension Trainer.
All kettlebells are not created equal.
It seems silly, right? A kettlebell is a ball of weight with a handle attached. It should be simple.
But the best products come from repetitive testing and obsessive attention to detail. That’s exactly how TRX developed our Gravity Cast Kettlebells. That’s why we’re confident they’re the best kettlebells you can find.
What does “gravity cast” mean?
There are a lot of terms that can be attached to a product to make it sound more desirable. Organic! Fair trade! Artisanal! Handmade! With many of those terms, there’s a vague idea about what it means, but that idea becomes cloudy when you try to explain it.
Not so with “gravity cast.” Gravity casting is actually one of the oldest methods for fabricating metals and metal alloys.
In metal work, common manufacturing techniques include gravity casting, pressure casting, and forging. When you think of metal workers hammering at hot irons, you’re thinking of forging. Casting, in either of its forms, relies on a mold to create an object. Hot metal goes into the mold. After the metal has cooled and solidified, the mold is opened, and the object comes out. One advantage to casting, as opposed to forging, is that you end up with a very smooth surface.
That brings us to the two types of casting.
In pressure casting, a metal alloy is injected into a mold under high pressure, and that pressure is maintained until the metal becomes solid. It’s actually a pretty quick process, which makes pressure casting popular in manufacturing. (Faster completion means more products and more money.)
In gravity casting, molten metal is poured from above into a mold to form an object—in this case, a TRX Kettlebell—so the object it formed under the force of gravity. Gravity casting is a slower process than pressure casting; there’s less turbulence in the process and less air trapped in the casting. That makes for a stronger product in the long run.
Quality and Precision
TRX prefers gravity casting because quality and precision matter.
Ever grab your standard-weight dumbbell at the gym, only to say, “This doesn’t feel right.” Maybe you use 20s, but the weight you’re holding doesn’t feel like the 20-lb. weight you’re accustomed to throwing around. The reason is there’s a lot of opportunity for error in the manufacturing process. Gravity-casting, however, is more precise. Because TRX Gravity Cast Kettlebells are formed in the same mold, time after time, all of the kettlebells in a particular weight class are the same size and shape.
In other words, nothing about the TRX Kettlebell is accidental. Every detail is the result of careful decisions and a commitment to craftsmanship.
Functionally, what does that mean?
Maybe you don’t nerd out on metal fabrication. Maybe you’re more concerned with the practical question: How does a gravity cast kettlebell feel in my hands?
The answer? Pretty damn good.
Most kettlebell workouts include some kind of propulsion and weight shift, so the handle of the kettlebell will rotate inside your grip. Think about a kettlebell snatch or swing: The kettlebell moves as you move.
You may have seen kettlebells with a foam or rubber-coated handle; perhaps even a shiny finish. The problem with those options is the handle can pull or drag in your grip, slowing the kettlebell’s trajectory and leaving you with blisters. TRX Kettlebells, by contrast, have a powder-coated grip that glides without feeling slippery.
The gravity-casting process, combined with the powder-coated finish on TRX Kettlebells makes them incredibly smooth. And when you think about the ways that you exercise with a kettlebell, that smoothly-finished surface matters. The last thing you want is a rough edge or seam interfering with your workout.
(Fun fact: That perfectly-smooth finish is the characteristic that TRX customers most frequently rave about in our TRX Kettlebell reviews.
There aren’t a ton—pun intended—of options you can add to a kettlebell without interfering with its functionality, but our TRX Rubber Coated Kettlebells have all the features of our traditional gravity-cast kettlebells, plus a rubber-coated flat base. Rubber-coating on the base makes the kettlebell easier to handle in certain exercises, and easier to store.
Hold up. Aren’t you the people who make those strap-things? Where do kettlebells factor in?
Yes, the TRX Suspension Trainer™ was our first invention, and it’s the product that we’re best known for. And if you’ve owned or used a Suspension Trainer, you know that it’s a solid product. We make gear that’s intuitive, comfortable to use, and built to last. So if you like the Suspension Trainer, we think you’ll be equally impressed by the kettlebells we’ve designed.
Plus, we like to mix things up. Yes, you can get a full-body workout with a TRX Kettlebell. You can also get a full-body workout with the TRX Suspension Trainer™. And, if you can only choose one, well, it sounds like you’ve got a pretty intense pro/con list in your future. But we working kettlebells in a Suspension Training® workout, whether it’s super-setting two moves, like a TRX Squat with a kettlebell deadlift, or adding a kettlebell as weight to a traditional TRX exercise like the TRX Suspended Lunge.
That kettlebell sounds great, but I need coaching for a workout
You don’t have to go to the gym or hire a trainer to get a grip on kettlebells. TRX Training Club℠ has more than 30 on-demand kettlebell workouts waiting for you right now, and our trainers are adding more all the time.
Never tried TRX Training Club? First-timers get a free 7-day trial, including access to our live classes, and our full on-demand library. Kettlebells are fun, and they produce maximum velocity movements more easily than dumbbells. If kettlebell training is on your bucket list, invest in the best: treat yourself to TRX Gravity Cast Kettlebells.
The biggest obstacle to breaking in new workout gear is usually deciding where to start. So let’s alleviate that decision paralysis right now.
When you’re looking for ways to begin working with your TRX Gravity Cast Kettlebells, turn to these four beginner moves.
But first, Kettlebells 101
A kettlebell has more parts than you might expect for a solid chunk of metal, and learning what to call all of the whatsits will help you understand basic kettlebell exercises.
Think of the top grip of a kettlebell as a giant “C.” The center bar of the grip is called the handle, while the curves at the sides of the handle are known as the corners. The tips of the “C”—where the kettlebell connects to the bulb that accounts for most of the weight—are known as the horns. The horns connect to the bell, and the flat bottom of the bell is called the base.
TRX Kettlebells are gravity-cast with a smooth, powder-coated finish to ensure that the burn you feel comes from your workout, not from friction in your grip.
Speaking of workouts, let’s get down to business.
Hey! I want to do a Turkish Get-up!
Don’t we all?
Patience, young padawan. You have to nail the fundamentals before you progress into the advanced moves. It’s also important to remember that moving with a kettlebell may feel awkward when you’re getting started. That’s because a kettlebell is designed to engage in its own trajectory of movement that complements your movement.
Think of it like walking with a full glass of water: with each step, the water is going to engage in its own pattern of movement; maybe even slosh over the glass. Similarly, a kettlebell’s handle is meant to rotate as an axle inside your grip. One of the reasons that kettlebell workouts are effective is your body has to respond to and counterbalance the kettlebell’s independent momentum.
In other words, it’s best to start with the simple exercises to understand how exercising with a kettlebell feels before charging into the advanced challenges.
Let’s give it a go.
The Kettlebell Deadlift
Start with your feet hip-distance apart, and your TRX Kettlebell on the ground in front of your toes. Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you do, and try to minimize the bend in your knees. Grab the kettlebell handle by the corners, and start your return to a standing position. As you straighten your body, you’ll be powering that lift through the posterior chain. (That’s the official name for the muscle groups in your backside.)
Continuing to grip the kettlebell by the corners, and repeat that hinge-and-extend motion. Focus on keeping your back flat and your shoulders pulled down and back. You don’t have to touch the kettlebell to the floor with each rep; if your hamstrings are tight, your terminal point for the deadlift might be around your shins or ankles. That’s okay!
In this move, you’ll change your grip on the kettlebell while maintaining fluid motion.
Start again with feet at hip-distance and the kettlebell slightly in front of your toes. Squat down and grab the kettlebell by the corners. Your palms should be facing your legs.
There are two elements to think about as you return to full extension: first remember to power that standing motion from your posterior chain.
Second, as you lift the kettlebell, use the momentum to propel your grip change. Drop your elbows toward your hips. As your elbows drop, your palms will slide to the horns of the kettlebell and lift the kettlebell in the process. (This is one of those exercises where the smooth finish of the TRX Kettlebell really pays off.) The kettlebell should be by your chest at the top of this motion.
When you repeat the exercise, dropping back into your squat, slide your grip back to the corners.
Dead Stop Swing
Start in your deadlift position: Feet hip-width apart, and the kettlebell slightly in front. When you hinge to grab the handle, your hands should be slightly in front of your shoulders.
To set the shoulders and the upper back, imagine you’re trying to snap the kettlebell handle in half. Hike the kettlebell from the floor into the backswing position, so the corners of the handle hit your upper thighs, just under your crotch. Pop your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell up to shoulder height, before letting gravity return the kettlebell back to your upper thighs.
Because this is a Dead Stop Swing, it’s a punctuated motion. The kettlebell trajectory for each rep goes floor, thighs, shoulder, thighs, floor.
Once you’ve got the hang of the Dead Stop Swing, it’s time to move on to the Kettlebell Swing. Start in your deadlift position. Hinge at your hips and reach forward to grab your kettlebell by the handle. Hike the kettlebell into the backswing position.
This time, the kettlebell’s trajectory will be a pendulum motion between the upper thighs and the shoulder. This movement is still being powered by your posterior chain, so focus on hinging and thrusting through your glutes and hamstrings instead of lifting with your shoulders.
All together, now!
You’ve got four kettlebell exercises for beginners to get your routine started, so why not combine them into a workout? Try this one on for size!
- 30 seconds: Kettlebell Deadlifts
- 15 seconds: Rest
- 30 seconds: Goblet Cleans
- 15 seconds: Rest
- 30 seconds: Dead Stop Swing
- 15 seconds: Rest
- 30 seconds: Kettlebell Swing
- 15 seconds: Rest
Repeat the entire kettlebell circuit for a second round, and you’ve got a solid workout in less than 8 minutes.
And if you’re ready for even more kettlebell instruction, check out the full library of on-demand kettlebell workouts from TRX Training Club. With more than 30 workouts (and counting), there’s always an option to keep your training on track. Never tried TRX Training Club? Your first week is free, so get started today.
When you’re a yoga newbie, finding your balance is a struggle. As the instructor gracefully transitions through swan-like movements standing on one foot, you’re precariously wobbling like a newborn colt.
In those moments when you fall, it’s tempting to give up, but the TRX Suspension Trainer can help you build better balance to improve your yoga routine.
The Suspension Trainer is designed to be a tool that anybody can use, regardless of their level of strength. Many popular TRX Suspension Trainer exercises can be more accessible versions of advanced bodyweight exercises: for example: a TRX Chest Press can be a lighter-weight alternative to a pushup and a TRX Single Leg Squat can be the stepping stone to a bodyweight pistol squat. Similarly, the Suspension Trainer can help stabilize yoga poses while your body adjusts to learning a pose, kind of like training wheels for fitness.
How do you translate yoga poses on a mat to TRX exercises on the straps? Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out on your own, because there’s a team of yogis, like Shauna Harrison and Krystal Say, who have developed yoga programming specifically for the Suspension Trainer.
From backbends to crow pose, Warrior III to handstands, the TRX Suspension Trainer can offer extra support for flexibility to help you take your yoga to the next level when your body is ready. Think of the Suspension Trainer just like any other prop you might find in a yoga studio.
“I think the TRX is an amazing prop for yoga,” Harrison said. “Inasmuch as the block, straps and yoga hammocks (for aerial yoga) are props, the TRX Suspension Trainer is really another tool for us to use.”
Itching to master yoga balancing for yourself? Join Krystal Say and more of our crew for TRX Training Club℠, where you can hop into live or on-demand classes from anywhere. all you need is a Suspension Trainer and an internet connection. Drop in and flow; you’ll be glad you nama-stayed.
Humans have a remarkable ability to observe someone performing a task and declare, “I could do that!” Abstract painting? No problem. Stand-up comedy? Of course!
Leading a group fitness class? Can’t anyone? The reality, however, is that many of these jobs—like being a personal trainer—are far harder than they appear. The best trainers boast movement expertise, motivational aptitude, and an ear for upbeat music. Here are five things you should know to develop your skills as a personal trainer.
1. Everything Starts With Education
A personal training certification equips you with the basic knowledge you need to safely train clients or teach a class, but it won’t explore the minutiae of the various modalities that you will be using in your work. To really understand how to queue with a TRX Suspension Trainer, coach kettlebells, or program a Spin class, you need to keep taking individual certification courses. The good news? Not only will additional education help you become a better trainer, it counts toward continuing education credits to maintain your certification.
2. Find Your Niche and Specialize
It’s cool if you’re a Jack or Jill of all trades who’s really good at coaching every fitness discipline; it’s still better to specialize. Pick one or two modalities, like TRX or Zumba, that you can become known for and commit. Specializing will help you develop your skills and market yourself to a targeted audience.
Think of it this way: most people who excel in a field are known for excelling in one thing. That doesn’t mean you don’t have other talents, but if you try to present yourself as an authority in four, five, or ten disciplines, it ultimately dilutes your credibility in all of them.
Specializing is also useful for networking and teaching opportunities.
On the networking side, many modalities have trainer networks to help you connect with other trainers and find additional work opportunities. Zumba has the Zin network, Spinning has the Spinning Program Instructor Network (SPIN), and TRX has CORE. When you specialize, you can capitalize on those resources. And, as you build relationships with your peers and the brand, you may even find teaching and course development opportunities.
3. Keep Your Material Fresh
Which trainer would you choose? The one who recycles the same exercises session after session, or someone who is constantly innovating and changing things up? The body responds better to the latter, because change keeps muscles engaging in new ways.
Personal training is a results-driven field. Personality will help you get started, but clients expect to see changes in their physical appearance or performance. That means your programming, whether for individuals or groups, has to evolve. From a performance perspective, a trainer platform is smart investment for new workout ideas can help you save time while keeping clients happy.
In the new TRX CORE platform, trainers can access a Workout Builder to build customized workouts for individual clients from a library of hundreds of TRX exercises. (That includes outlining sets, reps and rest times, as well as program supersets.) With Workout Builder, you can build guided workouts for your clients, which they will consume and follow in a separate app.
Another perk to CORE is TRX Video On Demand—a streaming service with a rich library of TRX-produced videos on a variety of themes and topics. There will be new videos every week, including exercise science explanations of programming, business advice from leading personal trainers, effective program sequencing guidance, interviews with fitness experts and personalities, and more. Life as a trainer can be hectic, but CORE gives you the resources you need for success in one place.
4. Align Yourself with a Trusted Brand
Connecting with an established brand can help you build credibility—and a client base—as you start a career as a personal trainer. The reason? People gravitate toward brands they trust.
Humans like filters. Political parties are a classic example. Most people vote straight ticket because they know their personal beliefs align with their chosen political party; party affiliation serves as a filter for candidates. Many of us have a similar filter when it comes to picking fast food on a road trip. There may be other good options around, but we stick with a brand that’s familiar.
The same reasoning applies to fitness. Clients who regularly ride at SoulCycle, Cyclebar, or FlyWheel in their hometowns are likely to stick with those brands for indoor cycling when they travel because the companies act as a filter. The studios are different, the instructors are different, and yet the brand name creates trust.
That doesn’t mean you have to teach at Barry’s or Barre3 to be successful: only that associating yourself with a well-known fitness brand can serve as a cognitive filter to encourage potential clients to choose you. For personal trainers, TRX can be that filter.
TRX is one of the most-trusted brands in the fitness world because the company devotes considerable time and resources to exercise and movement research and education. TRX’s signature product, the Suspension Trainer, is known across the globe for being safe and effective. When trainers become TRX-qualified, they carry that mantle of trust into their practice.
5. Music Matters
A personal trainer is not a deejay, but music sets the tone for a workout. While your personal taste in music will come into play, curating a playlist for a class or client session isn’t just about queuing up your favorite jams. Your music should appeal to your clients.
One of the most important things you can do is know your audience and offer variety—not just in genres, but in artist selection. In some markets, an artist’s personal life may factor into how your clients perceive the music. (For example, playing an R. Kelly track may not go over well given the abuse allegations against the artist.)
As you create a playlist, match the tempo of the beat to the speed you’re looking for in a specific exercise. Make sure that you can access your playlist without an Internet connection. When WiFi goes down, the show must go on. Many trainers use a service like Spotify Premium ($9.99/month) because it allows you to upload your own music—outside the Spotify library—to a playlist and download your playlist locally to a device.
Working as a personal trainer is rewarding, but it is work. Seek out industry-leading education, specialize, and build your network and brand connections, and you’ll be well on your way to success.
Moving on our Suspension Trainer always puts us in a good mood, but working remotely and not being totally sure about what’s going to happen next always looms over our minds.
Basically, it’s a lot. Good news is, the human spirit is indefatigable—we rounded up a few tips to help reframe your days and shift toward a healthier state of mind.
SET ASIDE TIME TO MOVE YOUR BODY
Here’s something that’s always in our control—fitness. The beauty of building strength is it builds resilience in every other aspect of our lives. The ability to cope, persevere, feel more positively about the day-to-day when we literally see change happen before our eyes. Plus, staying fit strengthens our immune system, naturally lowers blood pressure, and, once a routine is set in place, instills a sense of calm. As for motivation, it’s never easy, but breaking it down is–every step is a step in the right direction. Start off with 10 minutes of movement and go from there.
Need a gym? Our TRX® PRO4 SYSTEM is made for everyone.
Need more gear? Round out your workout with TRX Strength Bands.
Need workout ideas? Our TRX app has everything from HIIT to strength training.
CHALLENGE YOUR MIND WITH SOMETHING NEW
Sometimes, all we need to instantly shift our mindset is to try something out of our comfort zone. Trying new things not only positively distracts you by mixing up the usual go-tos, it keeps your brain healthy, young, and vibrant. Not a baker? Try making a sourdough starter (if you missed the bread boom back in March, now’s your chance). Never tried HIIT before? Carve out 20 minutes with you and your mat and our trusty TRX app. Read a new book, brush up on your ever-more-important Spanish with Duolingo, order a pottery kit online and try your hand at throwing clay. The options are as limitless as your imagination.
CARVE OUT “SELF CARE” TIME
It sounds buzzy, but it matters—every little bit of nurturing adds up to a greater whole. And a 2-month holistic yoga retreat or 12-step nightly skincare regimen isn’t necessary either. “Self-care” is simply any action or behavior that keeps you healthy by nurturing better self-esteem, stress management, and overall well being. Your “me time” arsenal can include getting in enough ZZZ’s, eating healthfully, connecting with others, meditating, and maintaining as much of your normal routine as is safe and possible. And while it may be tempting to refresh the news every few minutes to stay up to date with what’s going on, give yourself permission to take a break.
PRACTICE ACCEPTANCE AND MINDFULNESS BREAKS
Struggling against unhappiness, sadness, etc—by resisting and rejecting it—can create more undue suffering. Acceptance isn’t about liking, wanting, or supporting your anxiety, feelings of isolation, and everything else; rather, you’re choosing to yourself permission to be as you are, feel what you feel, or experience what you’re experiencing without creating unproductive shame or anxiety or judgement. Focus on the things you can do. Practice gratitude and write down 10 things every day that bring you joy, or check in with your body, and take a moment to assess how you’re feeling. Daily mindfulness meditation practice has been found to produce significant improvements in attention, energy, and stress.
Stick to a mix of these methods above and give it time—just as fitness takes time to build, so does encouraging a happier, more content present. The only truth: you’re not alone! We’re all experiencing this collective whirlwind together, so remember that any time you’re feeling less inspired than usual.
In his early days of coaching golf performance, Anderson focused on rotational movement, since that’s the foundation of the golf swing. He quickly realized that stability was just as important because a golfer can’t generate rotational power without connecting to the ground properly. “I don’t care how much range of motion you have or how much speed you have, it can’t be controlled or consistent without stability,” he explained.
Grounding the body requires posterior chain work, and that’s where TRX entered Anderson’s training program.
The Pilates instructor at a gym Anderson owned in the mid-Aughts introduced him to the TRX Suspension Trainer after she discovered the tool at a fitness conference. Anderson didn’t give it much thought until he saw her cuing a client through TRX Hamstring Curls.
“She had all the tools: She had the reformer, the chair, the little hoop thing that you do your inner thighs with. She had all these different Pilates tools, but she was using the TRX, and I couldn’t figure it out,” Anderson said.
He decided to try it out for himself when locking up the gym one night.
“I waited until everybody left, I snuck in there, put my heels in the straps, and I did a few hamstring curls. Literally, on the sixth rep, one of my hamstrings locked up and then on the eighth rep, the other one locked up. I could not believe the activation that was happening.”
Anderson was floored by how a tool as simple as the straps could challenge the posterior chain, and realized its potential for golfers. After some time experimenting with the straps, and using them with his golf clients, Anderson completed his master trainer certification and was recruited to develop Suspension Trainer golf programming for TRX.
Already a Suspension Trainer devotee, Anderson began experimenting with the TRX RIP TRAINER a few years later when construction work at his gym thwarted his usual medicine ball training. “I tried to replicate some of the [medicine ball] exercises that I was doing with the RIP Trainer, and the first thing I thought was, “Wow, I can do all this.. This is awesome.”
The more he worked with the RIP TRAINER, the more he understood how it actually complements medicine ball training.
“The majority of the tension when you have a medicine ball in your hand is on the backend, when it’s loaded back. When you throw the medicine ball at the end range, it’s unloaded; you just have to manage balance. With the RIP TRAINER, it was exactly the opposite: There was less tension in the back because of the variable resistance of the band so the majority of tension was at the end range, like an impact position.”
For athletes—like golfers, lacrosse players, and baseball players—who want to hit a ball further, Anderson said pairing medicine ball training with RIP TRAINER exercises can help create more consistent power and stability.
Now, more than 10 years later, Anderson is the authority on integrating the TRX Suspension Trainer and the TRX RIP TRAINER into golf strength and conditioning. He loves the Suspension Trainer for reinforcing stability and good play posture through moves like TRX Rows and chest opener exercises. Plus, Suspension Trainer moves like hamstring curls can help golfers fire up the posterior chain to improve their grounding on the green.
“Folks really don’t understand how to activate the posterior chain. If they’re not running sprints everyday, and things of that nature, they don’t really know what it takes to activate back there. I think that anytime you can strengthen your posterior chain, you’re going to be helping yourself in golf,” Anderson said.
With the TRX RIP TRAINER, Anderson likes to teach golfers how to resist rotation. “The golf swing is about aggressive acceleration, but then subsequent deceleration. Being able to manage deceleration and balance is probably the number one way to maintain any of the power that you generate,” he said.
Yes, strength matters, but Anderson knows it’s just one of the tools in a golfer’s arsenal. “There are a few more things on the list that I would consider enhancing before you focus on just getting strong. You’ve got to be able to move well through a range of motion, you have to be able to generate speed and power. You have to have great stability and finishing balance. Those are the types of things that get me fired up about golf and golf performance.” With the TRX Suspension Trainer and RIP TRAINER, Anderson is helping his golf clients improve in all of those areas.