The TRX Oblique crunch is one of the best ways to build a strong core and whittle down your waist.
When we think about the abdominals, we think of the trophy muscles, the rectus abdominals that run down the centre of your stomach that with the right training and diet create the hallmark of fitness, the six pack. We tend to neglect the obliques, which is unfair, as they work equally as hard and are stabilisers engaged in almost every compound lift.
The V Taper vs Training Obliques
Huge lats and a small waist are what every bodybuilder dreams of. The “V” shape is incredibly sought after when training for aesthetics and this poses a problem for your obliques. It is thought that training the obliques with weighted exercises creates a hypertrophic effect which thickens the waist, however there are exercises which promote strength through the obliques without triggering hypertrophy to a point where your obliques ruin your V - taper.
Using the TRX to train obliques enables you to strengthen the muscles without adding mass to a trim waistline.
Benefits of the Oblique Crunch
- Works your abs in a different plane of motion to trigger further development.
- Engages all your core muscles to stabilise and complete the crunch.
- Works your shoulders as you support your suspended body weight.
How To TRX Oblique Crunch
- Start in an extended plank position with your feet hooked in the TRX stirrups.
- Bring your knees in, twisting at the waist so that the side of your thigh runs parallel to the floor as your opposite knee moves towards the opposite elbow.
- Return to the suspended plank.
- Bend the knees and twist to repeat the move on the opposite side.
Having a strong core is vital for everyone whether you practise a sport or not. A strong core will allow you to stay healthy in everyday life and will prevent related injuries such as a sore back. Try some of these suspension trainer ab exercises to really see results.
The main muscles which make up a strong core are:
- The External Obliques: The muscles which run along the sides and front of your stomach.
- The Internal Obliques: These muscles sit behind your external obliques and run in the opposite direction.
- The Transverse Abdominis: These muscles are the deepest abdominal muscles which wrap around your spine to protect and stabilise it.
- The Rectus Abdominis: These muscles are the glamour muscles, located at the very front of your abdomen, it is these muscle which create the elusive six pack.
Core Suspension Training
In order to develop a strong core, you need to train your abdominals like you would any other muscle group, with a variety of exercises using multiple ranges of movement in multiple planes of motion, to maximise training results.
Suspension training can maximise your core strength because it puts your abs under constant tension. The premise of suspension training is that when you are suspended you are unstable and because of this every single exercise you perform on a TRX or suspension trainer fires up your abdominals as your core is forced to constantly work at keeping you stabilised and hold your body balanced using your own body weight as leverage. When we then start adding exercises designed to target your waist, not only will your abs be on fire, but you’ll fire up your results too!
With all these exercises, it is important to keep good form; squeeze your shoulder blades together to prevent arching your back and keep your core tensed to protect your spine. Suck your stomach into your spine and then imagine you're pulling it up towards your rib cage to engage your Transverse Abdominis.
Grab your handles and face away from the anchor. Begin with the straps by your sides and slowly with control, fall forward as you bring your arms straight up above your head to align with your ears in one swift movement. Keeping your arms straight return them back to the starting point. The further away your feet are from the anchor point, the easier the exercise is as you are using less of your body weight as resistance.
TRX Mountain Climbers
For this one you need to start in a plank position; hands underneath your shoulders with your feet in the trainer’s stirrups. Make sure you have shortened the length or the straps. Keeping your hands stable, crunch and bring each knee in towards the chest individually for a suspended mountain climber.
TRX Oblique Crunch
This one really works your obliques, to the sides of your core. Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but this time both legs move in unison. Crunch your knees in diagonally towards your elbow and then straighten up into your regular plank, now match up the other side.
TRX Pendulum Swings
Pendulum swings start in the plank position, with your shoulders over your hands. This exercise requires you to balance and hold your core steady under momentum. Swing your legs side to side to gather some momentum, then begin bending the knees to perform a crunch on either side of your swing. This really targets your core from every angle.
Pull and Twist
Grab both handles and stand so that you are facing the anchor point. The closer your feet are to the anchor, the harder this will be as you're using more of your bodyweight. Lean back with your arms extended in front of you, pull your body weight up maintaining a neutral spine and twist your arms to point to the left, return to the start and repeat for the other side.
Spiderman crunch to plank up downs
Head back to the ground and return to your plank position, this time you’re going to bring each knee up towards your elbow. You should look like spiderman climbing, hence the name. Complete one per side and then progress into your plank up down. From your hand plank, take each arm down to an elbow plank and then return to start. All of this counts as one complete rep.
The humble pushup is often underrated. One of the oldest and simplest exercises to date, it has survived the ages because it works. The TRX push up adds an extra dimension to this classic move, challenging your balance even further as you add the shoulder tap.
10 Reasons to do Push Ups
- It’s a compound exercise, meaning we hit multiple muscles in one move. The push up targets your chest, shoulders, arms and core.
- It stretches your muscles which increases their flexibility.
- It can enhance your cardiovascular system. Compound exercises require an elevated heart rate as your heart works to pump blood to the working muscles.
- You will stimulate Human Growth Hormone production by working multiple muscle groups, which promotes muscle growth.
- Push ups protect your shoulders. A rotator cuff injury is very frustrating and can limit movement.The push up has been found to be among the most effective ways to safeguard your shoulder joints from injury; especially in older adults as they call upon stabilising muscles, which surround the rotator cuff joint.
- The Push up can improve your posture. In order to properly hold your shoulders and back, your entire core must be strong enough to support its vertical positions. When push ups are properly executed, the muscles responsible for supporting posture are strengthened and fine-tuned.
- Strengthening your core can prevent lower back injuries, a strong lower back and a strong core come hand in hand.
- They can be done anytime, anyplace and don’t take long!
- It’s a full body workout, for free!
- Weight bearing exercises help to increase bone density which can ward of conditions such as Osteoporosis.
How to Push Up to Shoulder Tap
- Hook both feet into a stirrup each and assume the push up position.
- Sink down by bending your elbows and bring your chest towards the floor, your nose should almost touch the ground.
- Drive up and return to the start position.
- Now without rotating at the hips maintain a tight core and lift the opposite hand to tap the opposite shoulder.
- Repeat for the other side.
The burpee. The exercise we all love to hate. This whole body exercise has got it all, it's a combination of a (sort of) squat, plank, squat thrust and jump and in this case it's all done whilst being suspended on one leg. Ouch.
Benefits of the TRX Burpee:
Strapping a leg into the TRX adds an extra dimension of balance to your regular burpee. Good balance prevents injury and helps us perform better in everyday functional tasks.
Workouts on the TRX fire up your transverse abdominals to help stabilise your spine whilst your body is suspended. This creates a constant tension on your core, no matter what muscle group the exercise focuses on.
Good proprioception is defined as good position sense. It’s your internal awareness of your bodies positioning.This sense allows you to close your eyes and still know where your body parts are in space. Without this kinesthetic sense, you would not be able to maintain your balance with your eyes closed, or tell if your knee is bent or straight unless you look at it. Good proprioception is important for everyone at every level of fitness. The better your proprioceptive sense the better your joints can adapt to changes in position, such as running on uneven surfaces. Good proprioception is important in balance, agility, athletic performance and injury prevention
Legs are you biggest muscle group and your greatest source of power. The TRX burpee works each leg individually to develop equal strength. What we tend to find with exercises that train both legs at once, such as a leg press, is that your stronger leg does most of the work without you realising it. So to develop solid and equal strength we train the legs individually.
The shoulders work here to stabilize in the plank position and as you launch into your standing position.
Plyometrics increase your ability to perform anaerobic exercises . The explosive single leg jump here focuses on keeping your heart rate up as well as targeting your leg muscles. Plyometrics are also great for building stronger calves, a muscle we often find difficult to train.
Getting your heart rate up burns more calories and increases the amount of oxygen you uptake, increasing your V02 max.
TRX Burpee Pre Jump Position
Activate the arms with the legs
If you can, use your momentum to leave the floor
TRX Burpee - Returning to Start Position
How to TRX Burpee:
- Hook one foot into the stirrup. It should be about 30 cm off the floor.
- Bend over at the hips, pushing them back and reach your hands down to the floor.
- Once your hands meet the floor, jump your free foot back into the plank position.
- Pop back up to a single leg hold by jumping your free leg forward towards your hands.
- Once you return to the start position, explode of your free leg with a jump towards the ceiling.
- Take it from the top!
To take it down a notch:
To make this easier, knock out the jump up at the top. If you opt for this version, try to aim for the full move after some practise.
Crank up the intensity:
Add a single leg push up for the plank position. This will now involve more of your chest and shoulders, as well as firing up your abdominals to help you stabilize.
This move is a great challenge for high intensity intervals or a whole body workout, give it a go and tell us how you get on!
The TRX Row to Fallout is a killer upper body move, working your back, arms, shoulders and core.
Grab both handles and lean back with your feet in front of the anchor, row your hands in towards your chest as you pull your body up and then let your weight shift forwards as your hands pass your sides and straighten up by your ears for a fallout. Sounds harder than it is (lies, it’s hard).
TRX Fallout Front Position
Make it easier: Knock the moves down into two separate moves before working your way into the full rocking motion. Complete your row and then walk forward into your fallout.
Crank it up a notch: The closer your feet are to the anchor, and the longer the handles, the hard this exercise becomes as you're working with more of your own bodyweight.
You could even take things a notch further and add a weighted vest. Hardcore.
Practice makes perfect!