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TRX for Spinal Health

TRX Suspension Training is, in my opinion, an essential part of any workout. I incorporate TRX exercises into most of my personal training sessions. TRX is a fun, safe, adaptable piece of equipment. I really like it as you use your own body weight only, so the control you have means it is hard to overload. Therefore TRX is very safe to use on your own in your home.

It is so important to concentrate on spinal health (back muscles are made up of the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, erector spinae). We have an epidemic of people with back problems, resulting in days off work and generally thousands of miserable people in a lot of pain.

One of the contributors to our nation’s spinal problems is the lack of tone in many people’s backs. If you look around any beach or pool area it is easy to see an imbalance of the muscles in people who obviously work out but forget about their backs. From the front view their pecs (chest) and abs (stomach) will be toned, then look at the back of them and it could be another person. The lack of attention to those back muscles will result in an imbalance of the body and in turn create issues with discs and pain as the spine has to adjust positioning in order to align the body.

The importance of checking your body is in alignment is a starting point to spinal health.

John Rutherford MCSP DC HCPC, specialist physiotherapist at says, 'Back strength is critical to prevent back pain and back injury. Alignment of the spine and sacroiliac joints (pelvis) must be achieved and maintained prior to exercise, to allow neuromuscular adaption and strength gain through exercise and conditioning '

I have had incredible results using TRX in my studio. The Standing Low Row is a great way to start off for beginners and easy to increase the difficulty level by walking the legs forward.

This exercise works all the muscles in the back, especially the lats. It is excellent for posture issues.

The straps should be short to start with. Increase the difficulty over time by lengthening the straps and walking your feet in so you are at more of an angle.

  • Stand facing the anchor point holding on to the handles, then lean back with your arms straight, with palms facing each other.

  • Pull your body towards the anchor point and squeeze your shoulder blades.

  • Return to the start.

  • Start with six repetitions and build up to 20, aiming to build up to three sets.

  • As the exercise becomes easier, increase the difficulty level by lengthening the straps and walking your feet further forward, as I have said.

  • Make sure your trainers have a good grip so that there is no danger of you slipping forward. Keep the pressure and length on both handles equal, and the straps taut at all times.

Once you are confident with the standing low row, add a squat to further increase the difficulty level. Additional muscles used will be your glutes and quads.

The results I have achieved toning my spinal muscles using TRX after recovery from scoliosis back surgery have been really good. In my opinion using TRX to do a standing low row certainly helped contribute towards my speedy, full recovery. There are not many Personal Trainers out there who can suggest spinal exercises with the personal knowledge and experience that I have from three scoliosis surgeries.

After scoliosis surgery (curvature of the spine) or any other spinal surgery, you can perform this simple exercise every other day. Physiotherapists will have their own exercises and stretches to give you which should be followed, and again, please check what will work for you within your spinal fusion limitations. If you are reading this blog, you have scoliosis and you are pre-surgery, obviously you will have more flexibility and will not be as restricted as some. Performing a set of one armed standing single rows can also help to build the muscles on the weaker side of your back to try to balance out the mis- alignment. You will need to start with just a slight body angle so that you are in control of your balance and just try up to six reps.

Please remember to check with your consultant or physio to make sure TRX is suitable for you.

Useful contacts

ASPIRE supporting people with spinal injury

020 8954 5759 • •

Aspire Leisure Centre

020 8954 5759 • •

SAUK Scoliosis Association UK

helpline 020 8964 1166 • general enquiries 020 8964 5343 •

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1 Comment

What about short duration spinal traction by teeter hangups type suspension or thoracic harness? Works a treat for my lumbar retrolisthesis, together with spinal exercises, which last do not work on their own.

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