The trx plank is an advanced version of the standard plank that mainly works your abdominal wall, lower back, shoulders and triceps.
It adds a suspension twist to the basic plank, which makes your core work hard to maintain your body in that position.
As such, it is imperative that you first master the basic plank before you proceed to try this exercise.
Once you can confident that you can proceed, let these steps guide you into doing it correctly:
- Fasten the trx trainers securely to a point above your head. Let the straps hang down to about mid-calf length.
- Get into a quadrupled position, with your knees and forearms on the floor.
- Place your feet into the straps and point your toes to the floor. The straps should hang about 20 cm from the floor.
- Make sure your head, shoulders and knees are in one line at this point. Your shoulders should be stacked above your elbows too.
- Then, raise your knees off the ground to put your hips, ankles, shoulders and head in one line.
- Tighten your core and glutes, and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Hold this position for 10-120 seconds before lowering your knees to the floor.
- Do 2-3 sets of 15 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE TRX PLANK WORK?
Although you are balancing your weight on your forearms throughout this exercise, most of the heavy lifting is done by your core.
When your feet are suspended, your core has to work extremely hard to make up for the absence of support from your leg muscles.
The particular core muscles involved during the trx plank are the transverse abdominis, obliques and rectus abdominis.
These three muscles work together to stabilize your back, and hold your hips and ribs in alignment.
The upper body muscles engaged are the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, pectorals, deltoids, triceps and biceps.
On your lower body, your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes help with hip extension and stabilization.
BENEFITS OF THE TRX PLANK
STRENGTHENS THE CORE
A strong core makes your daily activities much easier, as it plays a role in practically all of your movements.
Being an isometric exercise that holds your muscles in a contracted position throughout, the trx plank is exceptionally good at building muscular endurance.
REDUCES LOWER BACK PAIN
Your core muscles support your lower back (lumbar spine), which assists with movement around your pelvis.
Improving lumbar spine stability can help prevent or even reduce pain in your lower back.
However, if your back pain doesn’t seem to go away even after trying core-strengthening exercises, consider seeking a diagnosis from your doctor.
IMPROVES ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Since the core is located at the meeting point of your upper and lower body, it plays a big role in helping with movement when you’re performing athletic activities.
A strong core also enhances your athletic performance by increasing your power output, helping rotate your upper body and reducing the risk of injury.
STABILIZES YOUR SHOULDERS
When done correctly, the trx plank trains you to squeeze your shoulder blades together which protects the shoulder joint especially during movement.
Shoulder stability also contributes to good posture.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE TRX PLANK
TRX BODY SAW
On the face of it, the trx saw seems like an easy exercise, but don’t be fooled.
It involves a lot of small movements that add up to a rigorous workout that will leave your body aching hours after.
Here’s how to do it:
- Anchor trx suspension trainers to a high point, preferably above your head.
- Get into a forearm plank; forearms pressed to the ground, palms flat on the floor and the entire body in one straight line.
- Place your feet into the loops with the toes facing down.
- Tighten your core.
- Rock your torso about 3 inches forward to push your shoulders in front of the elbows.
- Then, move back so that the shoulders are about 3 inches behind your elbows. This completes one rep.
- Repeat these steps as many times as you want.
TRX DOUBLE RAISE
If you are looking to train your lower abdominal muscles specifically, the trx double raise would be your best bet.
It is already quite challenging on its own, but you can make it harder by bringing your heels close to the ground without letting them touch the floor.
Performing it with your legs straight also makes it a lot more difficult.
Here’s how to do it:
- Fasten trx trainers to a high point and adjust them until they are hanging at mid-calf length.
- Lie on the floor with your chest directly under the anchor point and your knees bent.
- Plant your feet on the floor firmly.
- Grab the trainers by the handles, one in each hand.
- Hold the handles just outside of the thighs with your palms flat and facing down.
- Squeeze your core tight.
- Keeping your lower back flat on the floor, push your palms down on the handles as you lift your legs slowly.
- As you lift, bend your knees at 90⁰ until your knees come over your hips and your shins are parallel to the ground.
- Hold for a few seconds and then lower your heels with the knees still bent.
- Tap the ground to complete one rep.
- Repeat these steps.
TRX PLANK MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT WARMING UP
Being a compound exercise that involves multiple muscles in your upper and lower body, the trx plank requires that you sufficiently activate your muscles before you begin doing it.
NOT BRACING YOUR CORE
This is a core exercise; this means your core should be tight all through for it to be maximally activated and engaged.
Moreover, core activation provides you with the stability to you need to hold your body in alignment.
SAGGING THE HIPS
Keep your entire body in a straight line from head to toe; dropping your hips below your shoulders will ruin that alignment and reduce core engagement.
Having learned of all the trx plank benefits explained in this article, what’s to stop you from adding it to your core routine?
So why don’t you try it out already!
For the best results, use it alongside other compound core exercises.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]