When it comes to trying to achieve a six-pack, there are simply no shortcuts. Diet, a regular cardio regime and intense ab workouts are the only way that you're going to get there.
After a while, however, the burn that you once got from performing standard sit ups or crunches fades. At this time, a lot of people tend to turn to machines and weighted crunches to overload the muscle. The TRX Suspension Trainer, however, may just offer another, more effective route to acquiring those six-pack abs that you've always dreamed about.
TRX, or Total Resistance eXercise, is a unique means of performing bodyweight exercises, based on the principles of suspension training. Suspension training, an approach to bodyweight exercise first developed by the United States Navy SEALs, simultaneously enhances strength, balance, flexibility and core stability by utilising the affects of gravity and using one's own body weight as a resistance tool.
By placing the body in an unstable state, because you are suspended from straps and not sitting on a machine, the core is engaged as the body fights to re-stabilise itself. This instability makes your core work harder than when you perform traditional ab work, strengthening your abs quicker, and helping you on your way to achieving the abs you desire.
The TRX philosophy
The TRX training philosophy is based on the premise that every movement, whether in a gym, on a sports field, or in everyday life, is a whole body movement.
By applying this fundamental principle, the TRX training philosophy has allowed for the development of literally hundreds of exercises that simultaneously build strength, balance, flexibility and core stability, through the engagement of the whole body during every training drill.
Who uses TRX training?
The answer is simple, anyone who is serious about developing their core stability, while having the flexibility to work on any muscle in the human body.
Utilised by the U.S. military and elite level athletes from Major League Baseball teams and National League Baseball teams, as well as UFC fighters, Olympic-level cyclists, swimmers and runners, the TRX Suspension Trainer is suitable for athletes at the peak of physical fitness, as well as amateurs, or even those new to exercise.
The TRX training guide contains information on hundreds of exercises, with an entire section devoted to ab workouts, which can be adjusted to your unique fitness level. TRX training is designed with athletes in mind. Its developers understand that people have their own individual fitness goals and the TRX Suspension Trainer is designed specifically to help you achieve them.
The benefits of TRX training
TRX Suspension Training is unequivocally the most versatile form of exercise that you will ever undertake. It delivers a fast and effective full body workout, with a distinct focus on developing muscle tone, endurance and core strength, which is critical in achieving lean and toned abs.
The TRX Suspension Trainer allows you to train anywhere. Whether you find yourself at home, in the park, in a hotel room or your local gym, the TRX Suspension Trainer means you have the freedom choose your workout location, depending on your mood.
TRX allows you to train in 3 dimensions. That means you can move in all 3 planes, unlike most exercises with machines and weights which allow you to move in 2 planes.
The flexibility of the TRX training program to suit all ability levels, from beginners, to seniors, right through to professional athletes, is why the TRX Suspension Trainer is a must for all who are serious about building six-pack abs, as well as an all round improved physique.
The 5 ultimate TRX Ab workout exercises
The number of different ab exercises and workout variations you can do with the TRX is practically limitless. Below, I describe 5 very effective exercises that target the abs. Many thanks to Scott Herman, a recognized trainer in the health and fitness community for demonstrating the exercises so well.
1. Suspended crunches.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer anchored to the surface of your choice, face away from the surface that the Trainer is attached to and get onto all fours. Place a foot in each strap and assume a push up position, but with your feet in the straps and elevated around 6-8 inches from the ground.
Keeping your arms straight, bring your knees forwards into your chest, before returning them to their original starting position. Complete the number of desired reps or until failure.
Workout tips: Slow and controlled movements are the best way to get the most out of each repetition.
2. The pike.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer anchored to the surface of your choice, assume the same elevated push up position as with the suspended crunch detailed above. Instead of bringing your knees to your chest, however, bend at the hips and keep your legs straight, while bringing your feet forwards.
The aim is to get your hips as high in the air as possible, ideally with your upper torso fully inverted, arms straight and straight legs at a roughly 45 degree angle to your upper torso. After holding the position for a second, return your original starting position. Complete the number of desired reps or until failure.
Workout tips: Work to get your hips as high as possible. If you can't get them very high to begin with, be patient, the height will improve as your abs become stronger. Slow and controlled movements are best.
3. The pendulum.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer anchored to the surface of your choice, assume the same elevated push up position as with the suspended crunch and pike detailed above. Keeping your body straight and in a plane, with your feet together, swing your straight legs to your left and then to your right, in a motion that resembles that of a pendulum.
As you perform the swing, notice how your upper and lower body twist in relation to each other, activating your obliques. At the pinnacle of each swing, your feet should reach a point that is higher than your torso, effectively performing a movement similar to an oblique crunch. Complete the number of desired reps or until failure.
Workout tips: This is an extremely intense workout, which works the core, legs and upper body. Make sure the pendulum motion is a controlled movement and keep the core engaged at all times. Slowly build up the number of reps you perform as your abs become stronger.
4. Standing body crunch.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer anchored to the surface of your choice, stand facing away from the surface to which the Trainer is attached. Take a handle in each hand, with your hands initially positioned on either side of your chest, and, using your arms to stabilise you, lean forward so that your body is in a 45-degree plane to the floor.
From this position, keeping your body's 45-degree angle, stretch your arms above your head so that your whole body (hands to toes) forms a straight line. This is the beginning of the repetition. Now bend your body in the midsection as you bring your arms slowly in front of you, and then down towards your legs until they are touching, and assume an upright standing position, with your feet together.
Slowly bring your arms forward, until your arms are straight and above your head, putting your entire body in a 45 degree plane, relative to the floor. Return slowly to your original starting position. Complete the number of desired reps or until failure.
Workout tips: Slow and controlled movements are best. Go as far out as you can, but be careful not to overstretch. It's better to improve the distance that you move forwards gradually.
5. Standing oblique twists.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer anchored to the surface of your choice, stand facing the surface to which the Trainer is attached. Convert the Trainer into a form where you use only one strap. Take the strap in both hands and, with your feet shoulder-width apart, lean back until your body is at roughly 45 degrees to the floor, with your arms extended in front of you at chest height.
Keeping your arms straight, twist your body to your right, until your entire body, including your head, is sideways on to the surface that was originally in front of you. Slowly return to your original position and then perform the same movement on the other side. Complete the number of desired reps or until failure.
Workout tips: Slow and controlled movements are best.
Six-pack abs are the Holy Grail of the fitness world. While traditional sit ups and crunches will get you there over time, the TRX Suspension Trainer might just cut your journey time. The TRX Suspension Trainer may engage the core during every exercise, but following the five exercises that I've outlined above is a sure fire way to turbo-charge your six-pack quest.
Matthew Denos is the author of this article. He is a suspension training fan. As a fitness and weight loss blogger he recently became affiliated with the official maker of TRX. This allows him to occasionally make available a coupon to those who want to buy TRX at a discount.
If you don't want to spend money, you can make your own suspension system at home using a pair of straps. What Matthew mostly enjoys about suspension training is that it allows him to train his abdominals in many different ways.
However, as Adrian points out, there is no exercise that targets your belly fat because there is no such thing as spot fat reduction. Suspension training, like any exercise, will tone, strengthen, and grow your muscles. It's only proper diet that will make these muscles visible.
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