I recently had an awesome and mind-blowing (their words not mine) discussion on how I build muscle without a gym using a TRX
Discussion with Ali and Max from Total Fitheads Podcast.
As the Americans say, getting jacked with a TRX: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/total-fitheads/id1501046606
In the kind words of Ali…
“This is the exact opposite of what I was expecting from this conversation, I was so mind-blown!…”
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Get Jacked with a TRX | Build Muscle Without a Gym ft TOTAL FITHEADS PODCAST Video Subtitles
hey fit heads today we talked with the trx traveler he does all of his workouts on trx and this was the exact opposite of what i expected from the conversation i was so mind blown like just thought it’d be about core and your whole body and stability and cardio and he was like it’s like a bodybuilder it was crazy yeah also his name’s adam we we don’t we don’t really know if his real name’s adam or his legal name is now trx traveler which is an awesome name which is an awesome man so shout out to tt or whatever [Laughter] i thought it was really cool i mean i got a trx so this was sort of a self-serving episode although i assume at this point for us they’re all sort of self-serving episodes of course well our audience is just probably clones of us right right clone brows i liked how we were talking about um the muscle doesn’t know if you’re picking up a barbell or a dumbbell or a push-up or a rod whatever or your body weight on a strap yeah it just knows like i’m i’m flexing right now this is weird so that was sort of like his jumping off point for uh using the trx and being so dedicated towards it and that’s almost exactly what happened to me this this quarantine you know i didn’t have any equipment i wanted i got this trx and i was like oh this is weird oh this feels like pretty hard i wonder if uh it’s the same or i wonder if this translates or whatever and that was fun to actually i also really like to sort of get out of your locked frame of like world view do you know what i mean not just that’s that’s a tease i’ll let you i’ll let him tell the story welcome to total fit heads serious fitness for not so serious people hi adam welcome thanks for joining us thank you for having me absolute pleasure so glad to have you are you traveling right now no i’m not um i’m in uh i’m in rainy grey london where it’s about uh about five six degrees at the moment so uh far from the uh the sunny shores of mexico and places like that where i do normally hang around with the trx hang around pun i feel like max you have a billion questions you’ve been using a trx lately right that’s like i got a trx for christmas i think and uh i always had one i think like most people i saw it at the gym and i was like oh that’s funny i wonder what that does ah who cares [Laughter] and then i found you adam um because you’re you’re apparently you’re the the trx guy uh he’s here we have him congratulations that’s awesome i did not know that i might yeah that might have to be my next tattoo then great um but why don’t we talk why do we why don’t we back up a little bit you are a trx or v trx traveler is that right yes that is correct yes how did that start um well it started um you know i was i was just a um a little lad uh still i’m a little lad uh working in london uh through my 20s and i think you know like like most people in the big cities uh hitting the hitting the sort of the gym and um that obsession with uh with fitness and wanting to change one’s body and get fitter look better and be healthier um sort of was instilled to me you know from the get-go right through school from being a teen but it sort of um it became a bit of a blessing and a curse um because as much as i loved you know i absolutely loved going to gym possibly too much um you know i started to feel like uh kind of started to live in there a bit and when you when you’re working in london as well um because originally i started out in advertising and before i sort of moved into the fitness world you know you’re working long hours and then you have this need of i have to go to the gym and i that that’s what sort of became a little bit of a problem for me because um i i couldn’t feel like i could ever be away from a gym and if i was away from it for a bit too long um i didn’t feel myself i felt like i couldn’t be myself possibly even felt like i didn’t look myself you know which is a really strange sort of mental battle to have in your head because it’s uh you know he’s supposed to go at the gym to um to to to relieve maybe stress and come away feeling more related but um you know i’d often go in and compare myself to others quite a lot and my focus was external very external and it was more about how looking as though i could lift heavier and look i i i guess in essence trying to look more impressive rather than actually um taking a step back and and focusing on on internally how it feels um and you know internal goals and i guess my goals sort of drifted to um externally what was going on in the environment and so that then um you know that was that was a sort of little um little battle that i think went on but i didn’t really realize you know you just kind of crack on with it um and then there was the other point of um as all 20 year olds do i love to travel and backpack it was you know my dream was to have to gain more cultural awareness to uh to experience parts of the world but because i always wanted to be near a gym i felt i had to be i kind of couldn’t really feel like i could do that um and then i heard um ben palowski a fantastic bodybuilder or almost a true inspiration to me a bit of a yocky bodybuilder he calls himself um and i’ve always remember the line it was about nine years ago now and he said um uh your muscle doesn’t know what you’re holding um all it knows is the contraction and tension that you can place upon it through a range of motion and all of a sudden just this light bulb thing hit me and it was like well if it doesn’t know what i’m holding and it is more about the internal feeling in essence the mind to muscle connection why the hell am i in a gym in london they’re quite small it’s rat surrounded by um a lot of guys often with egos with loud music often having to wait a long time to use machines and stuff and why am i coming away out of this feeling more stressed than when i went in so um eventually i just got you know i achieved some some goals and i started coaching um sort of in the gym so you know the usual kind of um personal trainer route i guess um but then it after my got to 27 28 i was just i had enough for london i was done with it you know it can really grind you down i’m sure you you guys yourself know about big cities and what it can do and i’m sure your listeners do as well it can you know it can take its toll on you as much as you can love it you can hate it as well and i just wanted to break out of the bubble so i i got a backpack and i just went screw it and at 26 27 um i’m 33 now 34 now um i put the backpack on packed in a trx packed in a resistance band and i thought i’m going to go for it and the journey started there and it gradually progressed into what is now i believe you know trx xerox training within your own space is not just can be physically beneficial but it can be extremely mindful um and extremely beneficial for mental health as well because it’s it’s you know aside from um the typical things you’d expect being able to save on costs of gym and save on maybe time as well you know train in your own space in your own time in your own environment when you want on your rules and having this internal focus feeling what the muscle you know feels like to take it through its ranges of motion internally focus and mind the muscle on the violent contractions you can create that the stresses and the stretches and it it becomes you know what is meditation meditation is is a form of focusing on one thing for an extended period of time the trx training not only for me became physical but extremely mental well-being as well and the fact that um i could then do it all around the world and you anyway on a beach in a house um in a garage park a building site you know i’ve been on the side of the himalayan mountains um it uh it changed everything and it made it gave it gave me essentially fitness freedom um and i didn’t feel anchored because i felt like i could take the gym on the road with me um and then it that’s how it then began um you know my real passion became in into bodybuilding with the trx essentially which i know sounds daft it sounds stupid between bodybuilding the trx like you’re an idiot and you know i’m not trying to be the biggest bodybuilder and it’s like that i just like to sort of create a body that i feel happy and comfortable in um and i like to help people do that as well um and um yes that is that is how i then started um to train people and change this mindset of just because um i think a lot of people when they use a trx they just just move and for me it’s all about muscle centric exercise not movement exercise you know it’s it’s the violent contraction of the muscle that causes the movement not just moving with the trx um and yeah and that is that is my journey into how i became the trx traveler sorry quite long-winded i apologize it’s i’m a geordie from the north of england and we tend to rub it on a lot so that’s the point of a that’s the point of a podcast uh thank you thank you for your story it’s actually it’s it feels obviously fitness centric but it does sort of speak to a larger sort of more general idea of like a lot of kids grow up with oh this is how my life is supposed to go i’m supposed to get this job i’m supposed to live in this town i’m supposed to do this or whatever and it really seems like now what came first like did you realize you wanted to break out of your job or did you realize you wanted to break out of your gym [Music] and how did one leave lead into the other yeah that’s a really good point um i think they i think i think they both maybe job and jim were both a little bit of an anchor in themselves and but funny enough when i i think maybe the gym more sucks i even remember you know when i used to go on holiday i’d be i’d sort of have to make sure there’s a gym close by or or make sure that you know over the holidays two weeks well you know i have to have to do some form of training within that two weeks on the holiday you know it’s um and you know you’d often go away a bit more stressed worrying about how you’re going to work out on the holiday uh then you’d feel more relaxed coming back because you annoy you again in your gym again um so yeah it was it was that and and honestly a massive massive passion in traveling um well specifically backpacking you know just um you know i’m just a i’m a little little slumdog from the north the northeast of england um and you know living out of a backpack with sort of minimal stuff was was something that appealed to me and it and it changed my life you know um and yeah having the ability to take that um fitness on the road with me through that was amazing and it you know what’s even funnier is it’s um exercise translates like language barriers i remember i was in cuba and i went out the hostel on a morning and i went to this park and i mean pretty dodgy park if i’m honest but when you’re sort of getting that backpack and style you you don’t really sort of take that in but now i look back i think yeah that was dangerous um and this uh this guy this cuban guy um looked like a gangster um came up to me as i was training with the trx and i thought that’s it like i thought you know i’m done but the worst i’ve got is an elastic band and a trx if he’s going to take it off me he’s going to just going to take that so it’s cool and but he and he had a pitfall as well right this massive pit bull and so you can imagine cuban guy in a vest like it looks like someone’s grand theft auto and he’s this little white kid just in his in his park trying to work out and he came up to me and he tied the dog up and he just he just kind of like gestured can i have a goal and i was like yeah absolutely and we did a 45 minute workout together i kid you not the dog was tied up for 45 minutes and we did a 45 minute workout together and that was one of quite a few different scenarios you know i used to give away my trxs to the mexico kids i’ll leave them hanging in parks and stuff and it’s just them for the um for them to use because you know they get fascinated and they come and work out with you and yeah it’s amazing just if you leave them up it’s it’s amazing what develops and you watch it over a couple of weeks so so yeah it’s it’s you know it then becomes not just just exercise but a sort of a way to cross cultures as well and engage that’s crazy the story give me goosebumps hope my mom doesn’t listen to this because she will [Laughter] wow was that the sketchiest of the 30 32 countries what are we working on how many countries are there in them oh they’re about 400 200 yeah yeah a lot i mean hey alexa so is that the sketchiest of the 32 that you’ve been to um i i wouldn’t say sketchiest i mean that that specific moment might have been a bit sketchy um but the um you know all of south america and this apart from sort of venezuela um pretty much i had my pop got my paws in um beautiful absolutely incredible you know country magnificent cultures um and uh yeah that’s probably uh i can’t think of the very top of my head that’s probably one of the can i just kind of swear on this oh yeah that’s probably the time of my pants the most um and he when he started to come up with me but it’s all part of the experience you know and the workout was great but he got a pump uh so i was psyched uh he was sucked i think that’s probably one of the biggest um hindrances at least certainly for me getting the trx is very similar to what you described it was it was you know i thought oh i want to work out my you know bicep for ease of the easiest examples i want to work on my bicep i need a dumbbell of this six weight you know but then doing the trx you’re like wow this is working as hard as i would be working only it’s weird because my elbows are up here now instead of you know so can you sort of pitch people on [Laughter] you don’t need the exact thing you need to get the same pump and especially with bodybuilding i feel like people you know people who want to um body weight exercises yoga exercises it seems like sort of a uh people think of it as oh you know that’s just to lean down or i’m just you know i’m not a yoga i’m not a yoga girl you know so why am i doing that type of workout but i mean you get a serious pump with it yeah totally and i tell you what it what it does right what it immediately eradicates is ego you can’t you don’t you don’t get a guy a guy t-rex with ego you know you just don’t get it because you can’t do it and and why is that because you can’t pile plates on either side or anything like that and you can’t sort of stand up and get ready to brace and and take the big sort of you know roaring girl um you have to you have to you have to you can if you want to you certainly kind of do but you have to focus on technique right it has to come down to technique and it has to come down to slowing movements down and really focusing um and i think once you then realize right i i haven’t got the that’s called dumbbells um you know they’re the tools you know just like a trx is a tool and yes of course having a range of weights of dumbbells is an easier tool to look at as progression and things like that um but often it can be too easy because it can just be right i’m just going to pick up the 15s and curl it oh no i wouldn’t do the 18s and curl them whereas when you look at the trx for example using it using your curls as an example you can’t do that so you have to think right how can i execute this perfectly or practice executing a perfect to get the most results so then it comes into things like you know you’re thinking about your biomechanics and full full ranges of motion so this is where i’ve learned a lot from mentorship programs what i’ve studied from bodybuilders um ben pulaski was one of them alicia gowans fantastic and fantastic athletes competitors and so you look at the trx and you think right how am i going to do this bicep curl well i know that i have to fully extend and at the bottom i should contract my tricep because contracting my tricep will lengthen my bicep so i’m beginning from a full range of motion i know that then i have to you know obviously curl up contract as hard as i can and then i have to um twist my wrist lift my pinky up to supinate it up to even get the peak you know and really work up on that and when you then start breaking every single exercise down and focusing on how to isolate that muscle and how to use the trx most effectively to get the most out of it to train the muscle you start taking a lot of boxes you start taking big ranges of motion you start ticking you know really good technique um and i you know i for me that was then all right well who’s who’s the best people to learn from and look at to to find this best technique um because i haven’t got any weights it was bodybuilders and and and that’s when i started to take mentorship programs and i started to read furiously all the autobiographies of um frank zane and mike mensah you know all just absorb multitudes of information about bodybuilding which when i was in the gym didn’t do it once because what did i do i just try to pick the heaviest weight up you know so it can cause that switching mentality and it’s almost a force switch um so i think that’s super interesting um and even you know to say the same with resistance bands um it’s exactly the same premise you’ve got to you’ve got to look at the one muscle you want the target how you can isolate it and how you can practice perfect technique to cause the stresses the tension through those ranges of motion and it you become so nitpicky at that you know you really nitpick your technique um and it’s it’s it’s great even now after six seven years of just just training with trx to try and essentially build muscle um even now i still have every every session and i’m like you know really slow it all down and and that’s another thing as well you can’t rush it you know you really have to pay attention to you to your negative places you’re slow you know i’m a massive advocate of at least four seconds slow negative phases you know one or two seconds up and really really powerful a lot of people call me out on my coaching vids i always they always say would you stop saying squeeze because apparently my vids i always i’m always i was at the top with the trx and like squeeze squeeze it’s like it’s became my sort of word that a lot of my clients have branded me with and even when they see i do a lot of videos without sound um just just purely because sometimes i don’t always have the environment set up to be able to record sound and stuff but i try and sort help as much as i can in um you know the silent sort of silent dictation and techniques and um they even say to me i i can see in your head you’re thinking squeeze at that point and they’re not wrong so yeah you know it really then focuses on on that top contraction squeeze and i’m also a big advocate of the squeeze the violent violent muslim contraction squeeze well what i have trouble with is that like you said the dumbbells are easy right because you can go from 15 to 18. um what really motivates me in the gym and makes it fun is gamifying my workout and so being able to see those numbers move up and yes focusing on um good form too but but really like that makes every workout a win because i can see those numbers change so how are you with the trx even if it isn’t gamifying your workout but like making sure you’re progressively overloading is it just like paying attention to how sore you are the next day and then that’s the win for the workout or or how do you negotiate that yeah totally and i think that’s you know that’s probably the most smartest and sort of biggest question with your extraneous well how do you increase the intensity of progressive overload it’s simple it’s as simple as that um and there’s the obvious ones of you know well you can increase the reps so you can just aim to do more reps or you can stand at a bit more of an angle to increase intensity um so if you’ve got a mat a workout map that has some markings on you can you can you know each each time you step up to it you know you’re marking ten i’m like nine i’m marking nate and mark and seven there’s a few of them kicking around on on the old ebay and amazon um so you can record that i i’m i’m very data driven kind of like like you are you know you like to gamify a bit so i gamify in terms of a markdown exactly where i was standing and what the length was at and that i mean that’s taking a bit too far to get in a bit way way data analytical but it’s fun to do um so so yeah there’s there’s them those obvious ones the the high reps the angle that you’re standing at but for me it’s always always been about the mind to muscle and and really i don’t think i mean if you look at and and you know i’m sure there’s many people that may correct me if i’m wrong here but even from what i understand the top bodybuilders in the world right have a mind to muscle connection to contract a muscle violently and powerfully only about forty to fifty percent of its capability they’re the top ones in the world right only can only do it forty five percent of its capability there’s still a huge amount of mind to muscle connection and practice to learn even for the top better builders in the world to get up to 100 right so i think that always practicing the mind to muscle their technique and that connection that squeezing and feeling and internalizing and feeling your body work is for us as amateurs is is is limitless you know so there’s always that um um it when it’s when it gets to the point of saying well and and of course this varies over different levels you know for me i now just pushed a failure and i make sure that um i i train you know i’ll hit between eight to ten reps but then i’ll take it to what i call complete absolute failure so i’ll fail on the concentric once the concentric starts to fail i’ll um do partials to really fail a concentric i’ll then hold it for isometrics until the isometric fails and then at the very end i’m forced to fail on the eccentric and that you know that’s is essentially taking it to failure um so that it can build up to that level but obviously as a beginner there’s not it’s not necessary to i would say to do that you know i guess when you when you perhaps your body’s adapting more and more and to your point you’re looking for ways to intensify direct training more it then becomes taking it to points of failure um and that’s over the past sort of a year maybe not even maybe almost yeah probably eight months i’ve i’ve been doing that type of training and i’ve seen probably the the biggest gains that i’ve experienced um by doing that and it’s um i’m not that i want to do a shameless plug but it’s why i created my latest program and which is all around full body um intensity training and then taking muscles to absolute fatigue with trx strain um because i was just yeah shocked and um and i say that but you know obviously i’m by no means not the biggest guy in the room by any means i just you know i just really enjoy this and i love you know seeing my body change and and and seeing that adaption um so you can’t com you you can’t compete with weights at all they are fundamentally 100 percent better too and you know a gym is a great place um it’s just you can’t take them to belize island and do it on a beach unless you you know you could but no big backpack you could but you can’t so how so how you’re going to fail your how often are you failing on a move every every exercise of every workout within a workout and then how often are you working out recovering between those failures totally totally so i don’t on average it’s about two or three workouts a week sometimes just two because i need that much time to recover and then but i’d call that the bodybuilding and again this is just i experiment a lot so this is my kind of you know it’s it’s working very well for me but they’re full body um uh normally they average around um two sets per body part maybe um i think five or six um different no six or seven different exercises for each each part of the body uh two sets and yeah pushing pushing to failure and when i mean failure absolute failure so across the three strength ranges you know the concentric eccentric and isometric it’s not just about just from the concentric so yeah it can some of them some of them destroy me and it takes three or four days um and i had i had it a lad um on the um uh the little um our little fitness freedom facebook group which is just where uh we all chat about trx and talk about the programs the training and he was quite an advanced lad and he he was getting stuck into the intensity program he did say to me he was like jesus like i i it’s taken me three or four days to recover this is this right and i was like yeah believe it or not i know it’s shocking but yeah it is possible to push yourself that hard for the trx and it can take that long um but i’m very much of of the opinion of listen to your body you know is you don’t you don’t step back up into that to that i call it the trx church the mindful trx church uh your t-rex church and you don’t step back up into it until you’re ready um so and i love cycling i love road cycling and stuff so in between recovery you know also i’ll do some road cycling things like that some form of cardio so so yeah but i’ve also then you know got programs um where you know it’s just that your typical bodybuilding uh push legs pull split and that’s like you know um could be five six days a week training but obviously it’s not pushing to to failure um each time so it’s yeah it amazed me when i started doing this and it was mike it was mike menses you know after reading mike menses book i think i challenge anyone to read read his autobiography um and then not try this this high intensity to fail you know because he does sell it very well and i’ve always known about it and i’ve always thought i’m gonna do it i’m gonna give it a try now i’m absolutely loving it absolutely loving it seems efficient like you’re just going nuts for a short amount of time and then recovering the whole week yeah yeah exactly and you get more time exactly to do things as well and you know it does give you a bit more freedom but you know each each to their own it works for me right now um i used to think the push pull legs six days a week worked for me um but now i feel this does um and i’ve um i don’t know max ali can you attest to this but i definitely have been a a sort of a victim to myself of overtreating a lot before thinking more more is better you know um so so it’s certainly the full body kind of workout really sort of makes you take a step back and be like oh no it’s it’s not necessarily better rest funny to it this past year especially i’ve been working out at home a lot i mean i’ve worked out at home predominantly i’ve always sort of also had a gym as a backup but especially this past year working out at home i’m always like i’m bored i should just let’s just do i’ll just do another workout and so then i’m like man why is my elbow so sore oh it’s because i did 500 push-ups today for no reason you know um we we talked we had a bodybuilder on hero a long time ago and he mentioned he was very very sort of adamant about mind muscle and he’s not picking up a weight he’s flexing this and the weight moves and so that that it was very it’s it’s interesting to talk about because that really felt like the the overlap with the trx i i don’t know how much i’m lifting or you know what i mean i don’t know how much i’m curling but this feels pretty hard i would say i’m gay estimating eighty percent as hard as i could go yeah is that how you sort of do it have you ever worked out with like um i forget what it’s called reps in reverse reserve or i think this is eighty percent of my this feels like it is is that how you do it or do you sort of do it like that and also the other thing is i chalked on the ground where my feet are and then i’m like all right my toes are here all right great now i’m doing this oh i know i’m here probably i just forgot i forget where i am and i’m like yeah that was probably that’s probably uh it’s probably right there i’m probably there yeah that’s right no yeah yeah totally totally uh yeah i mean i i do i do sort of advise that rpe kind of reps and reserve some programs but i always sort of say that call it just like creative freedom you can’t like you know it took me a year just to get the trx it’s like you just got to kind of get it and practice and and once you sort of get it and you feel this creative freedom it’s not going to come straight away you just get a sense of like i just know where to stand i just know the intensity there’s no way i feel because you just you’re much more internal with your body you know and it sounds it does sound daft that and and don’t get me wrong i’m all about the hard correlated facts and data um 100 and i love it other records and everything but i i i do feel and i know a lot of people would back me on this that i can just step up to a trx now and if you said to me right i want you to go balls the wall like you know rpe of nine go for it i could just stand and i’d know where to for bicep curl for example approximately you know where to stand to do that if you said to me right go at five i’d kind of approximate you know where to stand that i think it’s just a simple matter of just experience you know in practice um in in terms of that um so yeah it’s you know i i look at others at every element or or sort of um a key point or key technique that we do within bodybuilding and fitness and stuff is is what i translate i try to translate within in a trx you know and people come to me and say oh have you got any cardio and stuff for trx and like i do need hit workouts and all this sort of stuff and i just quite simply say no because it’s for me it’s it’s there’s much better tools to increase your vo2 capacity than a trx you know you’re kind of not putting good time efficiency to your goal and and for me my my interest and what i love helping people do is essentially change the body a little bit you know transform the body a little bit getting a little bit of strength getting a little bit of muscle increase a bit functional fitness strength balance out um sort of weaknesses and things like that and do it wherever your blood you want if you want to do it in your garage get in your garage you’re going to do in your shed you you know your wife’s kicked you out in your shed get in the shed and blast out some kind of stuff um so yeah but the the i to your point uh my side that i i love that he’s um that you sort of said that and it’s it’s not the weight it’s like how much how much weight should i use it doesn’t [ _ ] matter because your muscles doesn’t know you know if if you can pick up an eight and and curl it but you’re just kind of moving and you’re just going through the motion and curling it compared to if you pick up a two or a four and you’re you’re putting your mind inside of your muscle and you are telling it i want i’m gonna violently contract you bicep i’m going to bloody contract you and you’ve really internalized that and you pair that with perfect form and technique i would 100 argue that that is 100 better than just just going through movement you know it’s muscle-centric movement that’s that’s i think the winner personally and for my experience how are you fine sorry oh no go ahead i was just gonna ask max how he’s finding the trx training you know like what because i i always find it interesting when i want to say this to people does it have you noticed this yourself with it or you know do you still see it as something you just you know just do or do you kind of that’s almost exactly what happened because i was i was i was comparing it to if i stand here or if my feet are here and my arms doing this this feels like i’m curling 30 pounds okay great well that’s pretty much where i should start okay great okay now the second set i’m going to stand here that’s this would be 35 or something like that so it was definitely what you’re describing is like what the more advanced i feel like i started sort of five steps behind what you’re describing because i was like how do i do this i have no idea what i’m doing i know it should be pretty hard i’m gonna try to do two or three sets and i should fail ish around 10 reps ish you know so i was like okay if i stand here and then that’s going to be there and then and that’s sort of how i intuitively did it i guess um and then and then yeah like little things like putting the x’s on the ground helped a lot uh i like measured one foot everywhere or whatever um and it just that’s it really to me before it felt like i was taking a silks class or um if you know you know what that is or uh you know i was just like trx just like a flexibility tool or really it was just something that’s like look kind of funny for the gym to have so that the gym could look cool like oh yeah we also have this thing nobody uses it but we also have it it’s super cool but then once i was sort of that was like my only you know i have a couple of dumbbells but that was like my main uh piece of equipment then i was like oh wow this is i really have to sit down and figure out how to use this but there was you know there were a lot of possibilities and and like i said like a lot of stuff translated okay this feels like uh you know again this is a stupid metaphor but this feels like a 30 pound dumbbell if i stand here and do this and i put my arms here great now i’ll take a a half step forward and now it feels like a 40. you know what i mean that was sort of like my jumping off point but it was fun i mean and that sort of stemmed from it also stemmed from not having access to heavy heavy weights you know and sort of like everything sort of stemmed from me making or being mad that i couldn’t squat heavy and i’m like yeah i can do air squats but i can do literally a millionaire squats you know that’s that’s life you’re just standing up all the time [Laughter] and then and then i was like uh huh hold on a second how many one legged like how many one like a pistol squats can i do zero and then i was like wow i can do i don’t have access to heavy weights to do a bench press that’s what i would like to do i’d like to put a ton of weight on there do six heavy reps and not be able to do a seventh all i can do now is a push up and then i was like well how many one arm push-ups can i do you know one two you know so then how many push-ups can i do if i’m like all my weight’s on my right hand i’m sort of helping with my left hand you know then i can sort of mess around with it and then i can sort of get that obviously it’s not as easy as having a bench press and it’s not as easy as having plates and barbell or whatever but it was that same idea of i want to exhaust this muscle group as hard as i can the only way i’ve ever known how to do it is with a bunch of heavy plates and a barbell in a in a basement gym but i can sort of i was like feeling like oh wow if i do a one-arm push-up that’s almost as hard as doing you know my heavy heavy barb oh maybe i can mess around with that and that’s that really was what translated to the trx it was like this is this is making it that one half step easier so it’s actually doable really you know i can’t really do a whole workout of one arm push-ups yet uh but i but that was really sort of how it that’s really how it like translated to me and i’ve tried to explain to people and they’re like yeah whatever i’m just gonna get i’m gonna get my dumbbells i can only imagine your job must be incredibly annoying for that very reason yeah i get challenged a lot hello um but how interesting is that right though max so what you’re essentially telling me is that you’re exploring your own personal biomechanics for what fits the purpose like that that’s that is what is more beautiful than exploring your own biomechanics in your own body to find out exactly what is working for you and that’s you know a bit of creative fitness um fun that you can have with a trx and pretty much you know have to and your squat thing is a really good example right um i know uh you know quite a lot of um powerlifters and and uh some fantastic um athletes and uh this is one of my way to uh is this semi uh professional rugby and i actually met him um when i was uh when i was when i was traveling uh kiwi lad and uh he was just like you know you know he’d look at me look down at me a long way down at me and uh it’d be like and be like uh you you want me to do some trx bodyweight squats and i’d be like yeah yeah i do i do and he’s like this is just gonna like be nothing to me it’s gonna be like feather so you know he goes he grabs it and he starts doing them and he’s pumped them out and yeah he’s going for hundreds and hundred hundred and he’s just like yeah whatever this is nothing and i say them right now let’s break this down so let’s just stop now how about if you really focus on isolating your legs now rather than using your entire legs right let’s squat and focus just on your quads so when you’re going down i want you to slow everything right down so i want you to take four seconds uh down and i want you to uh when you get at the bottom and the very bottom i want you to contract your hamstrings so your antagonistic muscles are stretching the chords and as you come back up i want you to take one or two seconds however throughout this entire time of this this this squat i want you to be constantly pushing your feet outwards against the floor constantly so constantly pushing your feet out it’s constantly constantly constantly you struggle to get the tent all right and now if you don’t if you don’t believe me or anyone just believe me try it for yourself um and you are just purely by pushing your feet outwards and i learned this this isn’t just just me this is i learned this from um a bodybuilder and one of the programs um to you know to to hit the target in a lot of the outer quad uh sweep um and it puts all the isolation all the load all the effort onto individual muscles so instead when you’re doing a bodyweight squat instead of bringing in your glutes your hands all your quads you know momentum you’re isolating and that’s the key to trx training it’s isolating locking the body in complete stone and not moving unless the muscle that you specifically want to train and isolate causes that movement and that’s that’s where it gets you know to to change and to change in mindset and to change and this that certain light bulb moment oh [ _ ] okay you know yeah this is exactly the opposite of what i expected in this conversation i thought it would be like well you got to use your core in every movement and it’s going to be total body and like you’re balancing on a bosu ball and shaking around and instead you’re like nope one muscle focus this just i’m mind blown oh yeah well yeah i mean yeah yeah it was it’s it yeah it’s just fascinating though right it’s like and it almost gets to your point of giving a finale right how can you gamify even more oh i want to isolate my i mean you can’t you can’t isolate your one of the tiny little muscles on your back that comprises the web of fat muscles but you can sort of say i really want to isolate my outer cord you know i want to make my legs look a bit thicker how can i specifically just target that quad sweep how can i just isolate that one muscle and challenge the hell out of it how can i break it down so much that just that grows you know and people i think when they hear a squat don’t think that they just think squat they don’t think what am i using the squat what do i want to grow from this squat and that’s something you have to do with the trx you have to take it off it’s like i was saying before you have to take everything else out the window and focus on the technique and what you want to do and to your point of the pistol squats max you know if you want to train the full quads you know when you’re doing the pistol squats you you lean leaning forward just a little bit more just to keep that weight in it are you contracting the hamstring at the bottom you know are you getting to the very top and squeezing a little daylights out of it for you know one or two seconds all those little things those little steps sort of add up to you know quite big um big results now there are to be fair there are sort of full body core aspects to it you do you put your feet in the straps and you do a push-up or you put one foot in the strap and you do a push-up and the other foot is floating do you do you do any of that or is that do you feel like that’s more sort of you keep that stuff separate it’s not something that i i i guess sorry i’m at different levels yeah i think you know as as towards a sort of beginner and leading into intermediate i think um you know and this is definitely a place for stabilizing um holes and movements that are a bit more full body where you are focusing on sort of actual movement um not just isolating that one uh muscle but for my interest and for my argument i’d say really you want to be sort of you know saying well what do i want to build i want to build my chest what’s the most effective way to to do that you know um so i certainly think there’s room for it absolutely but i think only two only to a point you know what how you how you’re going to really progress when it loads um a load and a weight is is is evenly displaced across a lot of different muscles you know and each one’s only working 10 20 as opposed to loading just one muscle to eight up to eighty percent which will really push it you know um so i think it’s again it comes down to obviously the level um of what you start in that and just effective training um so yeah i certainly certainly wouldn’t rule it out it seems that a lot of your training when you’re saying like telling people to squeeze that you’re training them that mind muscle connection how much of it is training them like the mindfulness that you talked about in the beginning or is that more of like your personal experience and doesn’t really come into your coaching no it definitely comes in a bit of a later stage um so i’ll tell you what i’ll tell you i’ll tell you how i’ll tell you my little so my little routine on a morning my morning trx routine which is untouchable right no matter where i am what i’m doing whoever’s there even if you know my my um better half even if she’s like look at me you know i’m i’ve i’ve got the sexy attire on are we doing this if it’s around my untouchable morning i’m like dunno i think i’ve got to go and do my 10 minutes one touch we’ll you know see all right i’ll be right back but i wish so i you know i go in and um i sit uh below the trx and i close my eyes just for five minutes five to seven minutes and i do a box break box breathing so um four or five seconds in through the nose hold for four five seconds out for four or five seconds i just try and focus just my mind and just concentrating on those like a ticket you know just the numbers going up um and uh just every thought comes in you know usually what you would hear people say um and i’m by no means an expert this is i just find this person who helps me a lot um you know a lot of thoughts come in a lot to come out and after five or ten minutes of doing this box breathing exercise i then open my book and you know i go to town on everything that i’m grateful for uh in my life although all the little things and you know what i want to sort of do today you know um and great things i’d like to achieve and all that sort of stuff uh just a little bit of journal and gratitude journaling and then i then take that same premise that same gratitude that same you know clear mind and i go straight into them the trx training and i begin to warm up and i take that same internal focus how am i feeling and i then take it in and it goes as far as when it gets sort of really advanced i try and only breathe through my nose um for the entire training session uh you know multi multitude of reasons uh obviously when you’re doing things like pistol squats and stuff like that it becomes pretty much impossible you know you have to by the end you’re like okay and you just give in but for the majority of the training session and that is another incredible way to increase intensity you know for any any exercise you think is simple i challenge you just to breathe through your nose and do it and you watch how much more it challenges the cardiovascular system and how much more you can improve by doing it so i’m sure our swimmer audience is like yes told you um so yeah it’s certainly a chat a lot of people in it and it’s interesting the different types of people that i chat to and who are you know i’m almost blessed and lucky enough to chat with because some of them come from backgrounds that so highly experienced and in tune with mindfulness and and breathing and all that sort of stuff and that’s why they then take a passion into your ex because they just like to do it in their own space with that breathing with that mindset and categorically i’d probably say 89 percent of people come back to me and say i understand what you mean about it being a bit meditative and a little bit more you know um sort of this is my time this is me this is about me feeling my body and um so yeah it is um it’s just like you know i don’t want to overload people with all my thoughts and crap all at once just little bits of crap at the time no no no we’re asking that’s the whole point well do you ever miss the gym at all you don’t want to like maybe while you’re waiting for the squad rack turn around and talk to the bro behind you and smell his sweat and one of these just stroke the rack feel a bar yeah i forgot what you feel like i i do um you know i’m i’m only a i’m only a a a small lad and when i was in uni and stuff and young and i used to play rugby and i used to do um i used to love kind of powerlifting style so i got quite strong for my size in deadlifting and squatting and i think once you’ve tasted heavy dead lifting and heavy squatting and heavy benching you’ve always got a thirst for it you know it’s like you so there’s always that in my back of mine but again i used to get injured so much you know i was i was always in pain there was always something wrong there was always something in balance my um rotator cuffs were always buggered my hips were always hurting now for years for the past four or five years i’ve never had an injury through trx training i’m more flexible i can you know i don’t have any clicks and clacks i don’t have any aches and pains um so so you know the one thing i would say i do miss is dead lifting just the heavy deadlift and if i’m being totally honest yeah i do i do miss that but i’m willing to let it go for because of how poor my form used to be and because of how sort of more ego driven i would lift rather than technique driven well speaking of that i mean are there anything is there anything we can’t do with the trx no we’ve we’ve we’ve we’ve expressed our love with the trx we all have obviously is there anything you can’t do or is anything you sort of need something else to do yeah we’ve picked it up a little bit too much haven’t we i think we need to bring it back down bring it back down a few levels um i mean yeah you know you can’t you can’t do a strength training program for the trx you know it’s just you just can’t um i i would also say you know if you’re really looking to do quality cardio and increase for your two capacity things like that i wouldn’t say you can do that um either um it is very much you know i mean functional fitness um this term that’s thrown around quite a lot um but i think because if you take away all this uh muscle build and bodybuilding and everything i’ve just chatted about to it and you just look at a trx and what you have to do quite simply it does it does take a lot of balance and a lot of stability and you’re losing use and you are losing a lot of secondary muscles and you are going through ranges that are natural to you because there’s it’s not guiding you it’s not you know you’re pulling how you’re going to pull within reason obviously you want to pull with the best technique and things like that but you’re still a tiny little adjustments of the wrist and everything you can make it all work for your biomechanics and your body and i think that’s that’s pretty damn cool um that’s huge and we talked to um uh what is chris’s uh barbell his funny looking barbell alley general talking about duffin his um his uh christopher’s barbells yes he has this barbell that instead of going across like this it has so your wrist can sort of turn a little bit he was like guys it’s such a cool idea you know your your wrist isn’t locked into this way maybe your elbow doesn’t work that way or blah blah blah and i’ve noticed a couple times if i’m especially using barbells you know my wrist can hurt a little bit and i know that if like just a little you know even a few degrees and either way would go a long way towards not clicking or not having stuff pop or whatever yeah um and that’s definitely something i noticed yeah absolutely and those little frustrating pops or that tiny little frustrating pain it can throw you off the whole you know exercise because you just like you can’t stop focusing on that little bloody crack did i just tear my acl again no no it’s totally fine battle through what’s the coolest looking move you can do on a trx what’s like why don’t we wait this long that’s the most important question we could have asked i know what do i do on instagram to look at i mean i probably can’t do it what’s the most impressive thing you get all right i’m going to give you two examples i’m going to give you one of the most impressive sounding one right and i only know it’s the most impressive sound because it got the most views when i put it as a title um it is it is still true um and then i’ll tell you what i think probably the most um impressive visual one is we’ll call it the thumb stop or the instagram thumb stopper it’s like you know you’re sort of scrolling through and you see someone doing that with the trx it’s like bloody yeah um got a funny story on that one too so the the one what i’d say sounds the most badass and sounds the most like oh i want to get myself some of that is the three finger bicep curl the three finger trx bicep curl and it’s like hang on what the hell is that and my point to it my actual point to it was that it was all about um um encouraging people to twist the wrist at the top like pinky up to really hit the bicep peak so i said right focus on a three finger bicep curl focus on curling the back the the with the trx with your little finger uh your middle finger and the finger in between that your ring finger and if you focus with those three fingers as you curl you will naturally you will naturally lead with your pinky up right and you’ll hit the pitch right that’s right so you’re twisting it can you feel that if you twist your wrist can you feel the peak popping on the bicep there guys it’s okay [Laughter] the three finger claw we could call it that might get even more and so yeah that was kind of but it had it had a sort of technique premise behind it and then oh without a shadow of a doubt the most badass one is um feet feet in the trx work your way up so you’re in a handstand position yeah like you know almost vertical but you’re at quite an angle and just bashing out some shoulder presses and i actually i did a vid of this um uh just to show off you know did about three or four things but when i when i got to and i tried to go failure i did go to failure and i got to the point where i kind of was like shaking and i’m pushing up and i’m just at the press-up position and i’m like [ __ ] i haven’t got the strength to get down i don’t know how i’m going to get down and i had to do like sort of a one-handed i don’t i want to make it sound cool and sort of like you know run run dmx style sort of handstand sort of flip you know to some badass music but i kind of had to do like a one hand and i just spun off and my legs went spinning and i flew into the tree like collapsed down because it’s hanging from a branch and it made for some maybe some great fail and be real um but i think that’s oh yeah i mean you can’t you can’t beat that for looking pretty badass you know what about you max you think do you think that’s a pretty good one uh i’ve tried it and i spun it exactly the way you were talking about it because i was trying to do the most impressive one i’ve seen um uh this girl i know did a hit put her feet in the trx did a handstand pike yeah so she’s doing a handstand her legs are at a pike and then she does like a full split into a uh full handstand does that make sense yeah i know like her legs were her feet were together then they went wide and then they went back again together as a handstand i think that’s a little flexibility first of all so maybe that’s let’s just say that’s the limiting factor that’s why i can’t do it 100 but yeah i tried the um i tried the uh feet in the straps walk up to a handstand and it was cool because you are you look awesome and you’re like yeah i’m here and then if you don’t very carefully to get out of it or if you spin in any way the trx just whips your feet around and like it was pretty embarrassing but uh yeah at least i got a tree down yeah i mean the tree brought me down you know yeah no have you ever used rings gymnastic rings no not really once or twice but um no i haven’t and uh a lot of people ask me you know what what’s better um and again my answer is just it doesn’t matter it doesn’t matter because it’s all about like the contraction and and it it goes back to you know as long as you can do a good range of motion with your biomechanics and allows that and it then comes down to placing you know your mind and the muscle and contracting with whatever tool you’re using um however if you’re talking about in terms of sort of actual gymnastic moves and isometric holes and that sort of stuff never used it but i would i would be really keen to try out and see how it compares um because i i did i did get some um some parallel bars some gymnastic bars because i wanted to see uh through lockdown in lockdown i i was just getting a bit bored of the constantia exchange i thought you know what i’ve got you know not been able to go outside and we were being quite restricted here in london um and so i got some bars and i thought i’m gonna get some bars and i want to see if strength from trx training translates over um and i was actually quite shocked at how well it does you know to i couldn’t do the full planche and stuff but i could you know i could do quite a lot of good talks i could do some sort of nice flows holding myself so i was actually quite struck at how it transferred the strength because i’ve never i’ve never explored that i’ve never explored what you know where or how the the the strength side or or muscle sort of adaption side of trx training and where it would translate into um so that was a really interesting find that it it was quite yeah gymnastic style movements granted i was completely amateur and you know weren’t as bad as i was expecting i think that’s probably where people get the idea that the trx is gymnastic or full body because the only thing that i’ve ever seen comparatively is doing an iron cross in the olympics yeah that does look like can you do a muscle up you can’t do a muscle up with a trx can you no no i don’t think you could does that exist no i’ve never seen it never seen it that could that could be the um that could be the truth stopper yeah yeah it sounds like a challenge it really does oh cool this has been awesome thank you so much for chatting with us no thank you it’s been absolutely pleasure like i say i was um i was very very honoured um and uh yeah it’s quite taken back actually it got a bit emotional that you asked me on so thank you very much it’s been been a real pleasure i’ve really enjoyed it heck yeah it was awesome hearing all your insights and i feel like i just need to throw away my barbell it’s fun do it they’re all tools ally yeah right we’re all tools that’s that’s the bottom line we are tools the barbell’s using me okay so how can the fit heads go find your programming um on instagram you can find me at trxtraveller and if you want to have a little look at my story um and my programs and how i would love to help and do help people and achieve their fitness goals for the trx the band i’m at trxtraveler.com yeah that’s the best places to reach me as long as you’re not busy box breathing can’t touch those 10 minutes unless it’s my time at a time forget it okay thanks again this was great thank you cheers guys cheers and thank you to the fit heads if you’re on apple podcast please rate and review that helps us out a whole lot and we’ll see you next week [Music]