If you travel a lot or want the convenience of being able to train at home without filling your living room with machines, then suspended body-weight training could be the perfect solution.
The apparatus packs up into a small bundle to fit in your bag and is easy to set up wherever you are. A TRX, for example, has a single strap to put over a beam, door, etc, then splits into two straps to hold.
Your body weight creates the resistance, and you can grade the difficulty of each exercise by adjusting your position. Working on an unstable platform, you’re also required to work your core to steady yourself throughout every exercise, giving your whole body a workout.
Gloucester players do suspended body-weight training most mornings to warm up. You can jump straight on a TRX cold, and increase the resistance as you get warmer.
This is also an efficient way to warm up, because you don’t have to keep jumping on and off to add weight, as you would
with a machine or free weights – it’s just a question of moving your feet. As a rule of thumb, the closer your feet are to the apparatus, the easier the exercise will be, as you’re supporting less of your body weight.
The Gloucester pack use TRX for 15-20 minutes to warm up their shoulders before a scrummaging session, but you can also do an hour’s workout in place of a weights session.
Although players wouldn’t solely use this piece of equipment for conditioning, it’s very versatile, and many of them take a TRX to away games and set them up in their hotel room. This one piece of equipment can train every part of your body, and there are many exercises you can do on it, from a shoulder press and single-arm row (working the shoulders), squats and lunges
(glutes and hamstrings), the abdominal bike and oblique crunch (abdominals), and reverse flies (back). At Gloucester, they also have TRX in the medical room, as it’s useful for players coming back from injury.
Because there’s such a variety of exercises, and you can make them as easy or as hard as you like, anyone can do suspended body-weight training.
The systems are easy to set up and come with instructions, complete with pictures and DVDs to teach you how to do each exercise. Try it out!
TRX Priced £152 Go to trx-fitness.com
FitKit Pro used by England Women, this system has two straps while cradles, harnesses and slings can be bought to add to your training. Priced £149.50 go to fitkitpro.co.uk