Just grabbing a TRX and ‘mindlessly moving’ does need lead to muscle building results that transform your body.
Instead, we use slow and controlled movement and specifically focus on contacting and working the muscle area we are training.
These 4 good form principles lay the foundation to how I teach people to transform their body with a TRX suspension trainer…
Mastering and applying them will lead to greater transformational results, I guarantee it!
Let’s get to it…
1. Practice and develop the mind-muscle connection
Whilst the mind-muscle connection is a widely debated topic, most leading athletes and leading fitness experts recommend practicing and incorporating it.
The goal is never just to move you body through a motion, the goal is to try and place effort on the muscles being used by contracting them as hard as possible through the full range of motion.
The tool used for this in our instance is a TRX suspension trainer (or resistance band). Think of it this way:
“If you can’t challenge your muscles just by the resistance of contracting you have no right to be picking up weights to add more resistance to contract them”
In simple terms, if you can’t feel or control (contract) your muscles without the use of a weight, then why are you training with a weight to do it?
Mastering technique and feeling your muscles (mind-muscle connection) shoild always come first, before more or harder.
2. Full range of motion
Moving a joint and muscle through a full range of motion with control and correct technique is our primary goal.
Not only does this lead to a healthier body (specifically with your joints as you get older), but it also places the muscle or area we are training under more intensity in order to re-develop fuller and be more balanced.
It ensures equal strength capabilities at all points of movement through the range of motion and allows for efficient understanding of movement patterns.
Using a full range of motion means more focus needs to be placed on technique as it requires more effort. To do this effectively we need to use a lighter weight.
For example, on a TRX Chest Press you may assume that you ought to have your body at a smaller angle to the floor since this makes the exercise harder.
However, because of this you might only go halfway down before pushing back up to perform it.
Instead, if you were to utilise a full range of motion, which is more beneficial, you will find that to do a TRX Chest Press you will need to use a greater angle sometimes even just slightly off from standing upright.
Heavier is not always better.
For example, with a band curl for the biceps you may assume that you ought to have the band with a high degree of tension when you curl it which makes the exercise harder.
However, because of this you might only curl half or three quarters before lowering your wrists and band back down.
Instead, if you were to utilise a full range of motion, which is more beneficial, you will find that to do a band curl you will need to reduce the tension on the band to make it feel lighter.
Heavier or more tension is not always better.
We’re looking for quality throughout all of the exercises in order to get you a truly noticeable body transformation.
3. Controlling the negative
This refers to the eccentric part of an exercise and means lowering your body weight with a slow controlled movement.
For example, on the TRX Back Pull / TRX Row, once you’ve pulled your body up towards the TRX handles the negative phase would be lowering your body back down. Don’t allow your body to drop with gravity.
Instead resist gravity and lower yourself slowly.
For example, on the Resistance Band High Back Row, once you’ve pulled the band towards you the negative phase would be allowing the band to move away from you.
Don’t allow the band to ping back to it’s original elastic shape too fast, instead resist the tension and slowly return it to the starting position.
This is important for safety but also because this phase of the movement (the negative / eccentric), when performed correctly, has been found to cause the most breakdown of muscle tissue thus leading to greater repair and overall development.
By the way…
If you’re looking for a proven Program to build lean muscle and transform your body with just a TRX suspension trainer or Resistance Band…
Then Take My ‘Which Program Quiz’ to find the best Program for your level & fitness goal.
From beginner to advanced, I’ve got a Program for everyone!
Or view all the Programs here.
4. Correct breathing
Breathing is something that will come with practice and will not be the first thing you focus on, nor would I advise it to be.
Your main focus should be perfect technique and feeling your muscles contracting through the range of motion first.
Once you get confident with executing exercises as the plan progresses then start to take note of your breathing. It can help greatly with performance.
My recommendation is:
- Inhale during the eccentric (negative / lowering phase.
- Exhale during the concentric (positive / push phase).
Practice this in your warm up to so it becomes habit as you take it into the main Program.
The importance of all this good form waffle
The ‘progressive overload principle’ which is the basic foundation of improving over time within fitness should be thought of as not just adding more intensity or effort, but adding more tension onto the muscle itself.
Think of it as:
Overloading a movement by allowing form to break down or cheating, does not necessarily imply that more tension has been added to the muscle. (There is an exception to this rule if it is high rep rages where to goal is to lock in and GO FOR IT!)
We’ve all seen the case of people trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for them and getting through the lift by ‘cheating’ with elements of swinging or overarching their back…
Since the use of excessive momentum and the involvement of assisting muscles can help ‘move the weight’ the focus of effort is not solely on the part of the body we are wishing to train. But more ‘spread out’ resulting in less effort placed on that specific muscle group and thus less adaption is needed and less overall results achieved.
The two primary reasons for focusing on technique are:
Any form of exercise movement with intensity can be dangerous and cause injury.
Consistently practicing perfect technique with light intensity will ensure that you have ingrained the proper exercise movement habits allowing you to then increase the intensity to challenge yourself more, in the safest manner.
Along with ensuring you are exercising safely, good form and technique will also yield the greatest gains (and I don’t mean you will suddenly blow up like The Hulk).
I mean gains in terms of flexibility, muscular development (lean / toned body) and in mental focus.
It’s possible to be so focused on technique, form and how your body feels when exercising with a band in your own space, that it can become meditation – your mind is so focused on one thing, it does not wander to anything else.
How do you know if you have good form?
What specifically defines good form is slightly different for everyone as we’re all built different.
As you progress in strength and body transformation so will your understanding of form and being able to critique yourself to improve.
Self-reflection is great and I encourage you to record yourself doing exercises regularly to look back on and review your progress.
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