'If you’re not using these straps to improve your running form, you should be. And one of the best ways to build the strength you need to go faster and longer is with TRX suspension training.' – Runners World.
We wholeheartedly agree with the above – we've been using this exercise, the suspended TRX lunge, for years to help improve our running. In our early days of TRX, we almost wanted to keep it a secret because we were smashing our PBs and we knew why – it's always been one of our favourites!
Indeed, the creator of TRX, Randy Hetrick, said in a recent interview that this one exercise is probably the reason they have managed to get into so many elite training rooms in professional sports.
With the leg suspended, you’ll quickly find that this is more than just a basic lunge, as you’re using a lot of small muscles to keep your balance. It really is a pure integration of strength, balance and mobility.
If you can create an unstable environment that offers a real challenge (yes, you may fall over when you first try it) then you are strengthening so many different muscles, ligaments and tendons, also improving movement patterns. When you hit the road after just 6 sessions on the TRX ,your standard gait and stride will have improved significantly, thus improving your running performance.
Often in all sports, there is a lack of lower body strength which affects performance – you get lower speeds and power outputs plus you put yourself in a position for potential injury. With TRX you develop total body strength from the feet to the fingertips – you are working the entire kinetic chain.
Set the TRX at mid-calf in single-handle mode. Stand under and move slightly forward of the anchor point – you want an angle on the straps. Place one foot in the lower foot cradle. Face forward with the knee bent, and hands on hips. Bend the standing leg, keeping weight in the heel, knee over ankle as you extend the back leg behind for a lunge. Make sure hips and shoulders stay square to the front. Maintaining the bend in front leg, bend back knee under hip and back out, and then stand up tall. Repeat for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch legs. Slow and controlled, or with tempo, but always with near-as Perfect form!
- Don't lean forward with your upper body – keep it upright and use your core and legs – posture as straight as possible.
- Don't keep the back leg straight or you'll overwork your hip flexor, bend your back knee down towards the floor – 90 degree bend.
- Push down through your heel of the standing leg as you drive up – engage the glutes.
- Drop some weight into your back foot to assist the move.
- Use your arms at your sides for balance. Options are: arms out wide laterally like aeroplane wings – using your lats to balance you out or arms at your side like runners arms to assist with the movement and balance.
- To intensify the move, place your hands behind your head or arms straight up next to your ears with shoulders down.
- For those with no injuries, do a small hop on your standing leg as you come up – it will burn, but really good if you play sport.
If you want to take things up a notch, go from lunges to burpees! The TRX burpee is a metabolic explosion. A minute is the equivalent of most people’s 30-minute workout. It starts with the lunge and you go down through a burpee and back up. You are involving multiple muscles!
If you are new to this posture, be patient and know that your body/muscles have memories and adapt really quickly, so if you are struggling to complete 5 reps or even just stand on one leg, it will get easier and you'll see a difference every time. The ultimate goal is 40 reps each leg!