In this week’s installment of TRX Moves of the Week, TRX Master Instructor, Justin Russ, will be introducing four new exercises that he likes to utilize with professional tennis players. He will incorporate some other highly versatile tools in addition to the TRX Suspension Trainer: the TRX® XD™Kevlar™ Medicine Ball, and TRX Kettlebell.
Med Ball Split Stance Rotational Slam
- Start with your feet apart, in a comfortable split stance position. (Pro tip: An easy way to measure the correct distance for your legs is to start with your feet together and step forward as if performing a lunge.)
- Keep front foot and ball of rear foot rooted into the ground, with knees slightly bent in an athletic position.
- Keep postural integrity between your hips and shoulders.
- Begin with the medicine ball outside of the front hip.
- Bring the medicine ball up and overhead, then explosively slam the ball down in line with the midline of your body.
- Catch the ball after it hits the ground while maintaining stability through your body, then reset to hit your next rep.
Note: This exercise requires a good amount of dynamic stability. Start off with a light Medicine Ball and be sure to keep your front foot rooted into the ground, then gradually build up explosiveness and intensity.
Kettlebell Split Squat with Rotation
- Begin with your feet together and the Kettlebell comfortably in the front-racked position (thumb near clavicle or collarbone, with your wrist neutral, and elbow pulled in near your ribs). Extend your free arm forward and create tension for stability.
- Step forward as if performing a forward lunge with the leg opposite the kettlebell arm, then root your front foot and ball of rear foot into the ground.
- Stand tall and brace an active plank with a proud chest and the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
- Initiate the eccentric movement by moving hips straight down like an elevator (not an escalator) and bend both knees at the same time. Keep your torso upright, until your back knee is just above the ground.
- Press into the floor to stand (again, like an elevator) and return to your start position. Root your front foot into the ground and slowly rotate through your torso towards your front leg. Imagine your torso rotating to 3:00 (right leg in front) or 9:00 (left leg in front).
Note: This movement is tougher than it looks! Start with a light Kettlebell, and make sure that you are comfortable with the front rack position. Stay slow and controlled through each phase of the movement, all while maintaining your breath and rotating as much as your body allows.
- Adjust your TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-length and stand facing the anchor point.
- Find your end range of motion: arms straight at chest level, palms forward, shoulders pulled back, with an offset foot position.
- Slowly lower your body away from the anchor point and toward the floor. Keep your arms straight, maintain an active plank with proper body alignment, and keep your arms and palms together at the bottom.
- Pack your shoulders before bringing your shoulder blades down and back, all while keeping your arms extended and maintaining an active plank. Return to the start position.
Note: Shoulder health is crucial for all athletes. This is a great, challenging move to address the posterior shoulder and mid-back.
TRX Hamstring Curl to Hip Press
- Adjust your TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-calf length, and set up on the ground facing your anchor point. Place your heels into the foot cradles with feet at neutral. Lay down with your hips, back, shoulders, and head in contact with the ground. Find a neutral spine by pressing your lumbar spine into the floor.
- Raise your hips into a supine plank, and with your ankles dorsiflexed (toes to shins) slowly pull your knees into your chest until they are stacked above your hips.
- Pause, then reset your active plank by “hiding the ribs,” then press your hips up toward the ceiling (ideally, you will have a straight line from your knees to your shoulders in this position).
- Slowly lower your hips, then pause briefly with your knees stacked over your hips before extending your legs back to the start position.
Note: Addressing the posterior chain will more effectively help athletes improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. In this exercise, your hamstrings act to extend the hips and flex the knees, which are the same movements that take place during many high-speed athletic movements.
In addition to being extremely portable, versatile, and complementary to the TRX Suspension Trainer, functional training tools such as kettlebells and medicine balls can create uniquely fun and challenging environments for your training. Give these exercises a shot and feel how your dynamic stability, lower body strength, balance, rotational control, and posterior chain strength are challenged. My challenge to you is to start off with a moderate load and volume, mastering each movement and earning your right to progress.
Thanks for tuning in to this installment of TRX Moves of the Week! If you missed the first episode of this series, be sure to check it out here!
Justin Russ is currently an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Virginia, responsible for the design and implementation of training programs for the Cavalier Tennis & Squash programs. Prior to arriving in Charlottesville, Russ coached privately, working with professional tennis athletes on the ATP & WTA Tours, and was the Head of Tennis Performance at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida from 2015-2018.
Throughout his career, Justin has worked with top-5 and top-10 tennis players, Olympic Gold Medalists, Grand Slam Champions, Junior Grand Slam Champions, NCAA National Champions, #1 ranked junior tennis players, and numerous NCAA Division 1 athletes of all sports.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Russ has been a Master Instructor for TRX since 2011. He has delivered over 100 live education courses in eight countries and has presented at a variety of industry conferences. Stay connected and follow him @coachjustinruss