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Does TRX Exercising Hurt Your Shoulders?
TRX suspension training places your body in different positions to strengthen your muscles with your body weight as the resistance. Your hands or feet are suspended in the TRX handles and the opposite end of your body is typically in contact with the ground. TRX exercises engage your core muscles, the muscles of the torso. Like other types of resistance training, if you try a challenging exercise too soon or fail to use proper form, you could put yourself at risk for injury. The shoulders can be especially vulnerable in TRX exercises if you push yourself too far.
Warm Up Properly
Before participating in any resistance training program, it is important to include a brief warmup session. A warmup of about five minutes of light walking, biking, or jogging will help to lubricate your joints and increase circulation to your muscles. Some gentle dynamic stretching after your aerobic warmup may also help to prepare your shoulder muscles for the workout and reduce your risk of injury.
An example of a dynamic stretch with the TRX trainer is the side straddle golf swing. Hold the TRX handles in your hands and lift your arms up from your sides to create a T-shape with your body. Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders and a slight bend in your knees. Exhale and slowly rotate your torso to your left so your right arm moves to the front of your body and your left arm moves to the back. As you inhale, return to the center and then repeat to your left side. Perform 12 repetitions on each side.
Check Your Form
As with any resistance training exercise, lack of proper form can greatly increase your risk of injury. Most of the TRX suspension training exercises require a flat back. When this position is not maintained, excess strain may be placed in other joints, such as the shoulders. A mirror can come in very handy to check your alignment. To maintain a flat back, pull your stomach muscles in, avoid tilting your pelvis forward or back, and press your chest out slightly if you find your shoulders rounding forward. Sometimes, you may think you are in the correct position, but one glance in the mirror will show you otherwise.
Select Appropriate Exercises
To avoid shoulder injuries, it is essential that you select TRX exercises that are appropriate for your training level and experience. The benefit of the TRX trainer is that you can easily modify many exercises by moving your feet or hands in or away from the anchor point. Do not attempt more challenging positions or exercise selections before you have comfortably mastered the basic versions.
If you are new to TRX training, the assistance of a trained fitness professional can go a long way when it comes to both injury prevention and proper exercise education. An educated fitness trainer can teach you the proper exercise progressions, watch and correct your form, and help you determine when you are ready to progress your training.
Christine St. Laurent holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from James Madison University. She has worked in hospital, university, sports performance and spa-based fitness and wellness centers as a personal trainer, program leader and group fitness instructor. St. Laurent has also taught college-level courses in exercise science. She is the owner of a personal-training and group-exercise studio in Manchester, Conn.