Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Infamous TRX Workout: Final Thoughts

I need to preface this by saying that I did not do the Infamous TRX Workout as it was intended to be done. As originally conceived by Berardi, Cosgrove and Quelch, participants were meant to do no more than two strength workouts plus two metabolic sessions on the TRX per week, plus activities of daily living. Or maybe you could say that I did do the workout as intended, except that my activities of daily living include kettlebell practice 3-5 days per week, spinning classes at least once per week, and ballet classes 2-3 days per week :)

Frankly, this was too much even for me, particularly during Phases 3 and 4 of the program. If I'd done the program exactly as written, however, it wouldn't have been enough, simply because I was already doing a lot more. If you're accustomed to working out 5-6 days per week and you cut back to 4, you're likely going to lose fitness in at least some respects. Not absolute strength, necessarily, but endurance and cardiovascular fitness most likely, particularly at my age. It's worth noting that the test sujects on average were in their mid-thirties, while I am in my late forties. Realistically it's harder to make positive changes at this age. It's highly doable, but it takes a little more effort.

If I wasn't trying to focus on kettlebells at the moment I probably would've tweaked the Infamous TRX workout by doing three strength training sessions and three metabolic sessions per week, simply because that's more in line with what I'm used to doing. Had I done the program that way I'm sure I would have been very pleased with my performance gains. I did see some nice gains in strength on several of my lifts in the course of the workout, which just goes to show that Alwyn Cosgrove is a freakin' genius but you already knew that :)

I'm still not entirely sure I think metabolic resistance training on the TRX is "better"--at least for me--than high intensity interval training in the form of hill sprints or stair sprints. But I definitely think that metabolic circuits on the TRX will be a great way for me to get in some additional energy systems work without increasing the frequency of my HIIT sessions, which can sometimes be a little hard on my joints. I've long been a fan of what Craig Ballantyne calls "bodyweight cardio"--total body circuits involving a combination of fast paced exercises (jumping jacks, burpees) and unloaded muscle conditioning exercises such as bpdyweights squats, lunges, pushups and pull-ups--and I can anticipate having a lot of fun adapting some of Craig's circuits to incorporate the TRX.