Total Resistance Exercises (TRX) Suspension Training

Back2Sports was recently interviewed about Total Resistance Exercises (TRX) (Straits Times, 8 August 2009, ‘Traveling Gym’). We basically said that it is a great way to increase the intensity of your exercises but we strongly recommend close supervision during the early stages of training.

Multi-Directional Instablity

Total Resistance Exercises (TRX)

Importance Of Close Supervision For Total Resistance Exercises

While it looks relatively easy, it can actually be much harder as you have to deal with the multi-directional instability. With gym machines like leg presses or chest presses, movement is only in a single direction. The machine eliminates side-to-side movement. This is great if you want to focus on a particular muscle.

Critics of gym machines will argue that this does not mimick movements in real life. The exercises should be functional. They should also be carried over to normal everyday life.

Take for example a bench press using free weights compared to a machine bench press. You will find it much harder to press the same amount of weight using the free weights. One reason is that you will expend more effort to hold the free weights steady; stopping the weight from moving side-to-side. This requires the smaller surrounding muscles to work harder. This recruitment of smaller supporting (stabilizing) muscles is eliminated on the machine bench press. With this concept in mind, it is much harder using two dumb-bells on each hand than it is using one long bar-bell on both hands.

Incidently, this is the reason why, when recovering from knee surgery like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, your physiotherapist will only use close-kinetic chain exercises. This is to minimise the amount of side-to-side movement that add stress to your recovering joints.


During the initial stages of training many things can go wrong. But not in the sense you might think. The exercises appear easy enough to copy and do. However, it is a lot harder doing them right with the correct set of muscles. Using the wrong set of muscles can lead to you learning the wrong movement patterns or worse, injuring yourself by over-straining other muscles.

Total Resistance Exercises (TRX) can be a fun and novel way to train if you are tired of your old training routine. Just remember to learn to do it right.


  1. More information on TRX can be found here:
  2. On local TRX purchase. contact CyberHealth at +65 6289 5594.

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