TRX develops core muscles

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Trainer Nancy Leary-Babcock of Upper Township teaches TRX at Local Gym and Fitness on Asbury Avenue. 

OCEAN CITY — New workout techniques and equipment have been popping up at local gyms all over the area, and some can be confusing or intimidating. TRX, a form of resistance training using bands suspended above the user, is just one of the up and coming trends in fitness today.

Trainer Nancy Leary-Babcock of Upper Township began teaching the classes for the resistance equipment about two years ago at another facility, and has been teaching TRX at Local Gym and Fitness on Asbury Avenue since the gym opened in October.

“We decided, before it was open, that we were going to introduce TRX to Ocean City,” Leary-Babcock said.

The equipment for TRX is called the “suspension trainer,” which the company describes as “highly portable.” The trainer is a sturdy, non-elastic band with handles and loops at each end for use with hands or feet. The band is adjustable in length. It is attaches to a door, or in the case of Local Gym, the ceiling, but can also be used outdoors, the company’s website states.

“You’re using your body weight as the resistance,” Leary-Babcock said. “Make your body your machine.”

Most moves resemble typical exercises for chest, back, arms, abdominals and legs, but they occur at different angles. Some of the exercises are similar to those done on a stability ball, and they all can be modified for a person’s skill level.

“The closer you get to your anchor point the more body weight that you’re pulling. The further away the easier it becomes; that’s why it’s so fabulous for all fitness levels,” Leary-Babcock said.

The anchor point is the point under where the bands are suspended from. Like a stability ball, the moves engage the core muscles at every level.

“It hits every muscle in your body,” Leary-Babcock said.

“Suspension training, using your body weight develops strength, flexibility, balance and core simultaneously,” she explained. “As a trainer ... you want to look for exercises or equipment that’s going to give your client the most out of their time.”

The moves work varying muscles, but all moves engage the core, she said. Some people just focus on benching heavy weights, while others engage solely in cardio, but neither of those exercises alone do what TRX does, which is build abdominal strength, Leary-Babcock said.

“They think they’re strong because they can run 10 miles or they can squat 250, 300 pounds, but if you have them get down and do a plank, they can’t hold it for a minute,” she said of one-dimensional exercisers.

Core strength is important for all people at all ages, helping to solve a myriad of ailments, including back pain.

“Think about all of the people who have low back problems,” she said.

Leary-Babcock, a self-proclaimed “total cross-trainer,” said fitness is about building muscle, especially for those trying to lose inches.

“You see too many people just doing cardiovascular work,” she said. “Weight training helps you burn fat efficiently.”

Some women fear using weights because they don’t want to “bulk up,” but that’s not likely to happen, Leary-Babcock said.

“It’s extremely, extremely hard for a woman to bulk her body up,” she said.

Leary-Babcock recommends using TRX at least once a week. TRX classes at Local Gym, she said, run about one hour. For those that cannot make the classes, Leary-Babcock said the equipment is available all day, with the general workout video scrolling on the television for instruction.

“You can bang out a workout in 10 minutes and you feel like you’ve worked out an hour,” she said.

Classes at Local Gym are 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. on Saturday. The cost to attend is $15. Classes fill up quickly, so advanced sign-up is recommended. For more information on classes call 545-8732.


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