Strength Training For Squash With TRX
In my last post, I talked about whether squash players needed to strength train, and be strong to play the high-impact, physically demanding sport.
While I am completely of the view that everyone should include resistance training into their weekly routine, I understand that weights can be intimidating to use, or difficult to come by during Covid-19 times.
If you don't have access to a gym with weights, or are simply looking for alternatives to Kettlebells and Dumbbells, I would highly recommend purchasing a TRX. Given its versatility, weight (only 2 lbs!), and lifespan, I think it's well worth every penny.
TRX Suspension Training was originally developed by Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick, who was looking for a lightweight, versatile way to include resistance training while limited to a confined space.
I became TRX certified in college, and upon completing the certification, immediately purchased my own TRX. Although I was certified, it wasn't until I began working as a personal trainer in NYC that I realized the true potential and versatility of the TRX.
While there are tons of possibilities with the TRX (seriously- you can easily program an entire TRX-only workout), I've compiled a short list of my go-to exercises that I do to improve my strength for squash.
1. TRX Row
I love the TRX inverted row because it is adjustable to ANY level (beginner to advanced), incorporates lower body engagement, and is also lower-back friendly.
It's also an exercise that has a relatively easy learning curve. Unlike a bent over row, an exercise which requires quite a lot of motor control and body awareness to be performed properly, the TRX has far fewer coaching cues.
How to do a TRX Row:
Grab the TRX handles, and walk your feet in.
Lean back so your body is at an incline, keeping your core and glutes tight.
Row your chest to the handles, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Tip: Keep your hips up by squeezing your glutes tight. Your body should be perfectly straight.
2. Rear foot elevated split squat (RFE Split Squat)
Also known as the "Bulgarian split squat", this exercise is definitely one of my favourite exercises to incorporate in programs. Squash players will love it because it simulates a lunge pattern, but it's also just a great exercise to work on single leg strength.
How to do a TRX Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat (RFE SS)
Place one foot in the stirrup, so it's resting just above your toes.
Hop forward a couple steps, so there is a few feet of distance between your front and back foot.
Sink down into a split squat, until your front leg is at 90 degrees.
As you sink down, your back foot will naturally move back, and your knee will approach the ground.
The TRX makes the RFE Split Squat even more challenging than it usually is, because the TRX is not anchored to the floor. Your back foot is suspended in the air, and while it can push down against the stirrup to create some stability, the TRX can still sway from side to side. This means that your front leg (which is the "working" leg) needs to stabilize while performing the movement.
You can add weight to this movement, but I'd recommend being able to comfortably perform 12-15 reps on each leg before attempting to add any weight, since it will challenge your stability significantly.
3. Rear foot elevated pumping breaks
This exercise simulates the setup of the RFE Split Squat, and just as I recommended above, you should make sure that you can do at least 12 split squats before trying this exercise.
How to do TRX Rear Foot Elevated Pumping Breaks
Place one foot in the stirrup, and hop forward slightly to create some distance between your front and back foot.
Load your arms back, and hop as far forward as you can.
Stabilize, and then take small hops back to the starting position.
I can't take credit for inventing this exercise- Alwyn Cosgrove, fitness guru and owner of Results Fitness posted about it on Instagram, and I immediately saved it.
Stability, strength, proprioception, deceleration- I can't say enough good things about this movement. Because of its complexity, you'll want to include this exercise at the beginning of a session when you're fresh.
4. Hamstring Curl
I swear, every single time I program this for clients I also make a point of apologizing to them. The TRX hamstring curl is way harder than it looks, and is equally taxing on your calves which no one ever expects.
How to do a TRX Hamstring Curl
The beginning of this exercise is just a glute bridge (which is just fine on its own!).
Place your heels in the stirrups (not the handles), and push down.
To perform the hamstring curl, perform a bridge by lifting your hips up, and THEN curl your heels in towards your butt.
For a bit more support, you can keep your hands on the ground, but as you improve, you'll want to make this tougher by bringing your hands to your chest, or even keeping them in the air.
There are tons of plank variations to do with a TRX, but this is one of my favourites because just like the TRX row, it is very scalable.
How to do a TRX Plank Bodysaw
Place your toes into the TRX stirrups.
Start in a forearm plank, and push your feet down while squeezing your glutes.
You will then use your shoulders to slowly move your body back and forth (like a saw!), while keeping that perfect plank position.
Even moving back one inch is challenging, especially if you focus on NOT letting your back arch, and DON'T clasp your hands together.
If you're bored of normal planks, look no further than the TRX bodysaw. Do it well, and you should feel it throughout your entire core, even your "lower" abs. (Side note: I hate to say "lower abs" because the core muscles all work together, but I find this exercise excellent for really engaging my entire core, and I feel it working!)
How to turn these exercises into a full-body circuit workout
Give these exercises a shot, and if you do, please let me know how they go! All together, these exercises will form a nice little circuit. I'd recommend doing each exercise for 12 reps, and complete 3 rounds. You can do the exercises in any order you'd like, but would recommend doing the Rear Foot Elevated Pumping Breaks towards the beginning of the workout. Because of its complexity, you don't want to do it towards the end of the set when you are fatigued.
Disclaimer: This review is unsponsored, and all opinions are my own. If you do purchase a TRX via my Amazon affiliate link, thank you! I appreciate your support.