The TRX Suspension Trainer has become a favorite tool in the military and among athletes to improve strength, power, durability and mobility. After all, it was created by former Navy Seal Randy Hetrick as a way to work out in the field, where he lacked access to equipment.
The new TRX FORCE Kit was designed with the military in mind, complete with a rugged version of the Suspension Trainer and a Tactical Conditioning program to prepare you for basic training or athletic competition.
The TRX FORCE Kit
The TRX FORCE Kit includes everything you need to work out with the Suspension Trainer, including a large carrying bag with a cell phone compartment, a door adapter, an extender and even a sign to place on the opposite side of a door warning people not to open it. However, the highlight of the kit is the new version of the Suspension Trainer.
The folks at TRX considered the design adjustments needed to make the Suspension Trainer even more durable and portable. "The new Suspension Trainer has all the great things found in the previous version, but we made it lighter and more rugged," says Chris Frankel, Director of Programming. "We replaced the foam handles with rubber handle grips, which are more durable, comfortable and can handle perspiration." TRX also replaced the cam buckles with D-rings, switching from a heavier, more complicated mechanism to two lightweight but unbreakable metal pieces.
Overall, our experience with the new Suspension Trainer was nearly identical to our experience with the previous version. We noticed the higher quality material for the straps and the new lightweight D-rings, which don't slam against the door or wall as forcefully as they used to when you let go. One surprise was the increased grip challenge offered by the rubber handles—providing one more reason to work out with the Suspension Trainer.
The TRX Tactical Conditioning Program
The TRX Tactical Conditioning Program is the star of the FORCE Kit. This is an evolution of TRX's original military program, incorporating valuable lessons learned through their extensive experience working with the military. "The program grew out of what we did really well with our first military program, with all the time we spent in the field testing and talking to the people who were doing the courses," says Frankel.
The goal of the program is simple: to prepare you for basic training or active duty. Frankel: "Over the course of 12 weeks, it's a progressive program that improves overall muscular endurance, speed and power, and develops a movement mastery mindset—what should be mobile and what should be stable."
The program is broken down into three phases designed to build a solid base of performance and stability. "If someone's performance improves, they will perform well on their standardized fitness tests and be able to withstand high-intensity work," adds Frankel. "On the other hand, you will have the durability to sustain the high level of work required during a workout, bootcamp or even over the span of a career."
Phase one focuses on developing a stable core. Phase two adds a general strength component, while still focusing on maintaining stability. Finally, phase three adds high-intensity interval training to increase both strength and endurance.
We found the Tactical Conditioning Program to be very enjoyable to perform. TRX provides detailed guidelines and exercise descriptions, so we were never in the dark even when an exercise was unfamiliar.
What's great about the Tactical Conditioning Program is that it's all bodyweight movements, so it's appropriate for anyone. "For people that are relatively unfit, we can unload the movement, so they know how the movement should be performed," says Frankel. "For the badasses, we take them to deeper angles and challenge them with instability."
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We felt challenged throughout the program, and we definitely noticed an overall improvement in our strength and stability. In particular, we realized dramatic improvements in core stability and mobility, both of which are essential for getting stronger and staying injury free. The program calls for extremely challenging endurance workouts, called Plus Ones, in which you perform an exercise for a rep, rest for ten seconds, perform two reps and so on until failure.
Overall, we recommend the TRX FORCE Kit to anyone who's looking for a military-type training program and to athletes who want a total system that enhances all aspects of performance. The TRX Force Kit is available at trxtraining.com for $249.95.
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