Remember your first day on the TRX? If you're like most mortals, it was a kick in the pants, a wake up call and a Eureka moment all rolled into one. But rest assured this is the same experience almost everyone has the first time on the TRX, even pro athletes like Lance Parker. Parker, 24, the goalkeeper for Miami FC, had his first experience on the TRX a year ago. Before he gave the TRX a try for himself, Parker had seen the TRX at Mark Verstegen's Athletes' Performance facility in Carson, California, where he used to train with his former team, Chivas USA. But it was a friend who had been training on the TRX who finally got Parker to give it a try. After his first session, Parker was humbled—and hooked.
“The movement I was weakest at was the TRX Hamstring Curl to TRX Hip Press. I could only do a few of those. It took a little while to get used to balancing on one leg for TRX Single Leg Squats. It makes you feel a lot weaker than you really are. You feel you have to stabilize everything, or you're not going to be able to execute the movements.”
That first shaky day on the TRX inspired Parker to delve further into TRX Suspension Training. “I did a program with it for a while to see how it compared to weights. What I noticed was that I kept gaining strength but didn't bulk up at all. My strength-to-muscle mass ratio jumped super high.” He felt using the TRX also improved his balance and his overall body control, key attributes for his position. When Parker tore the quadriceps in one of his legs, he found another use for the TRX as a rehab tool. “I was getting massaged and iced and did a lot of stretching, but I continued to do core work on the TRX.”
During the past year, Parker has made the TRX an essential tool in his training regimen, which also includes six days on the pitch every week plus five days of strength and conditioning work. The TRX Chest Press has become a staple movement, and Parker also uses the TRX on his own. He turns to movements like the TRX Atomic Push-up, TRX Oblique Crunch and TRX Side Plank (with Rotation) (shown below) to help build a rock solid core.
“Your core controls everything, so if you have a solid core, you're most likely solid everywhere else. With normal weightlifting, you don't always enhance the small stabilizing muscles when you train the big muscles. The TRX uses your stability muscles, makes you stronger and also helps prevent injuries.”
When Parker feels he needs extra training or has a day off, he likes to hammer a TRX workout. “I'll just walk across the street from my house and set up the TRX on a pull-up bar. The Boot Camp DVD/Download is my favorite routine. If I want to do a cardio workout, I'll do timed sets. If I'm going out to do strength work, I'll do a certain amount of reps and sets.”
He uses the TRX to assess the efficacy of his other training as well. “You do other exercises in training and then when you come back to the TRX, you can tell whether it worked or not.”