Trust us: the T doesn't stand for torture. TRX is a revolutionary workout using straps and your own body weight to add resistance to dynamic stretches. It helps strengthen muscles, restore joint mobility and encourage good posture. "It's especially useful for injured runners in recovery," says TRX specialist David Miller (wellnesstrx.co.uk).
You can try TRX at gyms or buy a home kit for £132.50 (trxfitness.co.uk), attaching the straps to anything from a wall mount to a suspension frame or a tree. Try 10-12 reps of these exercises unless stated, progressing to three sets of each.
Are you ready?
If you've recently suffered an injury, here are four steps you should take before strapping up:
1 Consult a physiotherapist.
2 Use a foam roller to release tension around damaged tissues: place it beneath tender spots, relax and gently roll.
3 Start stretching (stop if it hurts) to re-engage muscles without tiring them. Address obvious muscular imbalances, and if you've suffered a joint problem, make sure you regain full flexibility before trying TRX.
4 Be realistic about how long the acute injury phase will last. "For muscle strains it could be three to four weeks," David says. "But tendon and ligament problems take longer to heal because of their poor blood supply. It could be six weeks to three months before you're ready for TRX."
Lower Body Moves
Side Step Lunge
Why? Improves mobility and stability in the ankle, knee and hip joints.
How? With a straight back, take the cradles in hand, step to the right, shifting weight to your right foot. Push your hips back and bend your right knee as far as you comfortably can. Straighten and repeat to the left.
Single Leg Squat
Why? Challenges the glutes to control inward rotation of the thigh, stopping the knee falling in.
How? Grip the cradles with your elbows bent and tucked in. Lift one foot and squat down on the other as far as you comfortably can, keeping your spine straight. Repeat on the other leg.
Hamstring/ Glute Bridge
Why? Increases the endurance of your glutes, hamstrings and back muscles.
How? Lie back with your knees bent and heels in the cradles. Keeping your head on the floor and feet still, draw in your stomach and raise the hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold before lowering.
Why? Works the piriformis muscle, which is often at the root of sciatic pain.
How? Sit with the cradles in hand and knees bent. Lift your right ankle on to your left knee. Lean back and hold the pose for 10-20 seconds. Return to the start and repeat on the other side. Try two reps, building to two sets of three reps.
Why? Strengthens the hip flexors.
How? Gripping the cradle with your left hand and keeping your back straight, step your right foot forward while raising your left arm. Straighten your left leg without locking the knee, and place your weight on the ball of the foot. Hold, then repeat on the right.
Upper Body and Core Moves
Why? Builds strength and stability in the shoulder joint and core stomach muscles.
How? On all fours with feet in the cradles, shift your weight on to your hands, lift your knees and straighten your legs so that your feet are suspended and your body straight from shoulders to heels. Keep the shoulders down and back. Build up from three sets of 10 seconds to three sets of 60 seconds.
Why? Corrects tightness across the chest, a cause of postural imbalance.
How? Grip the cradles with your arms at shoulder height and slightly in front of the body. Walk forward without moving your arms, allowing your chest to stretch within a comfortable range. Keep your shoulder blades back and down.
Why? Works your serratus anterior - an oft-neglected muscle that links the upper ribs to the shoulder blades.
How? From the plank position, with your feet in the cradles, rock back, keeping your elbows still. Return to the start, keeping your shoulders back and down. Good alignment is key.
Latissimus Dorsi Stretch
Why? Loosens inflexible latissimus dorsi muscles, which can often cause imbalances.
How? Grip the cradle with one hand, your arm straight ahead at shoulder height. With your feet shoulder-width apart, draw in your stomach, keep your arm at shoulder height, and squat down and back up.
Low Deltoid Fly
Why? Strengthens the trapezius muscle to help correct poor posture and back pain.
How? Grip the cradles with both hands. Lean back to straighten your arms, then pull sideways to raise your body upright and arms to chest height. Keep your shoulders back and down.