Work Your Core and Upper Body With This 5-Move TRX Circuit From Celebrity Trainer Jeanette Jenkins

TRX bands are effective and versatile total-body strengthening tools. These specialized suspension straps, which are typically fixed to a wall or anchored overhead, allow exercisers of all levels to do tons of moves using just their weight. They’re also great for challenging your core.

Yet their versatility can make them intimidating. With so many unique ways to use TRX bands, it can be tough to decide how you want to wield ‘em.

That’s where celebrity trainer Jeanette Jenkins comes in. The Los Angeles–based creator of The Hollywood Trainer recently shared a five-part core circuit done entirely with TRX bands.

The circuit, Jenkins explains in the caption, will “definitely get your #core fired up!”

That’s not its only draw. Like many TRX workouts, the circuit hits lots of other muscle groups in addition to the core, making it a good option if you’re looking for a well-rounded workout.

You can check it out, via @msjeanettejenkins, here:

Here’s why TRX bands are great for your core.

TRX bands, in general, will “get your core fired up no matter what move you’re doing,” Simon Lawson, certified personal trainer and TRX instructor at NYC’s Fhitting Room, tells SELF. That’s because the bands introduce an element of instability to many of your exercises—you’re doing moves with your hands or feet in the straps instead of planted firmly on the floor. With this added instability, your core is automatically forced to engage more to keep the rest of your body sturdy. So as you perform reps of TRX moves, “your core is the link that keeps you stable,” says Lawson.

When it comes to this particular TRX circuit, the core challenge is especially intense, thanks to the fact that three of the five moves involve variations on the standard plank, which is already pretty difficult on solid ground. By putting your feet in TRX straps to perform a plank, as you do in this circuit, you’re essentially taking away two points of contact with the ground, Stephanie Mansour, Chicago-based certified personal trainer, tells SELF. This makes “the balance so much more challenging,” she explains. As a result, your entire core—including the bigger core muscles, like the rectus abdominis (what you think of when you think abs), transverse abdominis (a deep core muscle that wraps around your trunk) and obliques (muscles on the sides of your stomach), plus all of the smaller stabilizing muscles—has to work even harder to support the rest of your body.

In addition to said core work, this circuit will also work your upper body, adds Lawson. Do all five moves and you’ll really hit your triceps, shoulders, and lats (the broadest muscles on each side of your back).

READ  Why You Keep Getting Into Toxic Relationships (And How to Stop)

Here’s how to do the moves:

This particular TRX circuit is moderately challenging, says Mansour, though all of the moves can be progressed and regressed to meet your fitness level. You’ll need a mat and a set of suspension straps to get it done.

Start with 10 reps of each move and repeat the entire sequence twice, suggests Mansour. Or perform reps of each move continuously for 45 seconds, resting 15 to 30 seconds between each, and repeat the sequence three times, suggests Lawson.

Triceps Extension

  • Adjust the straps so that the handles hang at either your waist or midthigh when you’re standing up straight.
  • Grab the handles and extend your arms in front of you. Lift your heels and angle your body forward, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • With a neutral neck (chin not tilted up or down), squeeze your butt and engage your abs so that your body forms one long, straight line (like you’re in a plank) from the top of your head to your heels.
  • Bend your elbows and let your torso fall forward so that your head comes in between your elbows.
  • Pause, then push through your hands to return to start. As you straighten your arms, think about keeping your elbows in the same spot the entire time.
  • This is 1 rep.

This move is “much harder than it looks,” says Mansour. If you’re really flexible, it could be easy to use your shoulder joint incorrectly, she warns. Avoid that by keeping your elbows and upper arms in line with your ears, and keep your shoulders firmly down (not hunched). Also, know that the closer you stand to the TRX anchor for this move, the more difficult it will be, says Lawson. Position yourself accordingly.

Extended Arm Plank Reach-Out

  • Adjust the straps so they dangle at about midshin when you are standing up straight.
  • Get on your knees, keeping them about hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes, engage your core, and sit up tall. (If you have sensitive knees, you could also do this move standing up, says Lawson.)
  • Grab the handles and place your hands directly in front of your thighs, arms down, neck neutral.
  • Extend your arms up and out in front of you as you lower your torso toward the floor. Keep your biceps near your ears and your eyes focused forward and down.
  • Pause, then press your hands into the handles to return to start.
  • This is 1 rep.

This move really works the lats and core. As you move through the reps, focus on keeping your abs super tight and pulled in so that your torso stays in a really solid plank position, with your back flat, the entire time.

READ  The 4 Best Organic Shampoos For Color-Treated Hair

Good core engagement will also protect your shoulders, says Lawson. And, it’s important to really press into the TRX handles as you return to start. Applying this downward force will protect your back as you raise your torso, he explains. As you lower, think about leading with your chest and arms, not your stomach, says Mansour. At the bottom of the move, make sure your arms are in line with your ears. Also, keep your hands as wide as your shoulders throughout the move and make sure your shoulders don’t hike up toward your ears.

To make the move more challenging, slow it down, suggests Mansour. As with the previous move, you can make this exercise more challenging by kneeling (or standing) closer to the anchor point.

Alternating Knee Tuck

  • With the straps still at midshin, get on all fours and place one foot into each strap, positioning your feet directly under the TRX anchor.
  • Assume a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, legs extended, toes flexed, and glutes and core engaged. Spread your fingers as wide as you can—this will give your body a wider base on which to stabilize itself and puts you in a better position to perform the move correctly, says Mansour.
  • Keeping your back flat and engaging your abs, bend your knees and twist them both in toward one elbow, and then extend your legs back out.
  • Bend your knees and twist them both in toward the other elbow, and then extend your legs again.
  • This is 1 rep.

This move, which works your obliques, shoulders, and core, “takes a little coordination,” says Lawson. Keep your movements slow and controlled as you perform these reps, he adds. If the alternating-side knee tuck is too difficult, he suggests doing a regular knee tuck, in which you pull your knees directly into your chest.

Also, if you feel fatigue in the tops of your legs as you bring your knees in to your chest, that’s a sign you’re likely engaging your hip flexors instead of your abs, says Lawson. You can correct this by actively tightening your abs and thinking about keeping them engaged and pulled in toward your spine the entire movement.

Pendulum Swings

This is the most technically challenging move of the series, says Lawson. It especially targets the sides of your body from your hip to your armpit, says Mansour, and also works the shoulders and abductors (muscles that bring your legs away from your body), adds Lawson. Because you could easily hurt your shoulder if you perform the move incorrectly, he doesn’t recommend it for the average gymgoer. In fact, he only recommends it for advanced athletes, like Jenkins.

READ  Here’s Why Doctors Don’t Usually Test for Herpes

As an alternative, he recommends the following two-part regression:

  • With the straps still at midshin, get on all fours and place one foot into each strap, positioning your feet directly under the TRX anchor.
  • Assume a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, legs extended, your toes flexed, and glutes and core engaged.
  • Step one hand, then the other, forward 2 to 3 inches. Then step them back one at a time.
  • This is 1 rep.

Then, assuming a high plank again, practice swinging your legs from side to side while keeping your hands fixed and your midsection as stable as possible.

Ab Plank Abduction

  • With the straps still at midshin, get on all fours and place one foot into each strap, positioning your feet directly under the TRX anchor.
  • Assume a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders, legs extended, toes flexed, and glutes and core engaged.
  • Lock your arms and then open your legs into a V.
  • Pause, then squeeze your glutes and engage your inner thighs to draw your legs back in until they touch.
  • This is 1 rep.

Your butt may naturally want to pike up as you open your legs, says Mansour. A small lift is OK, but try to squeeze your glutes really tight to keep them from rising too much. Think about keeping your core braced and your back in one long, straight line. To make this move more difficult, simply slow down. This move really works your abs and gluteus medius, the small muscle on the outer side of your butt that supports the hip and rotational movement of the thigh.

Also, moves three, four, and five all involve significant wrist flexion. If your wrists get tired during these moves, stop and roll them out for a moment, suggests Lawson. You can also place a set of dumbbells on the ground and hold onto them as you perform the moves—this will help keep your wrists straight. Of course, if you have a history of wrist pain and/or injury, you should check with your doctor or physical therapist before attempting this circuit.

To regress any of these moves, simply reduce your range of motion, says Mansour. For example, don’t lean as far forward into the tricep extensions, and don’t open your legs as far on the plank abductions. Lastly, because the circuit focuses primarily on the upper body and core, you can make it more of a total-body workout by adding moves like TRX reverse lunges, lateral lunges, or jump squats, says Lawson. Though, from watching Jenkins do these moves, it’s likely you’ll feel pretty spent after doing this circuit alone.

Related:

https://www.self.com/story/trx-circuit-core-upper-body-jeanette-jenkins, GO TO SAUBIO DIGITAL FOR MORE ANSWERS AND INFORMATION ON ANY TOPIC

Trending Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *