Physical fitness and deployments play a significant part the Marine Corps lifestyle. How does a Marine deployed to a remote combat outpost or forward operating base, where gyms are a shell of what Marines are used too, stay combat ready?
Marines have come up with a variety of unique ways to physically train in a combat zone. However, in recent months TRX suspension training has become a favored form of maintaining combat fitness.
TRX suspension training is a unique training tool that provides endless exercise options for all fitness levels using nothing but your own body weight and gravity as resistance.
It’s one large nylon strap, it’s very transportable and it uses your body weight as resistance.
Even Lauren Baker, exercise and program manager for Semper Fit at Headquarters Marine Corps, had doubts about the TRX at first.
“I didn’t believe in it at first, but we must have spent six hours with it when I got certified and I was sore for weeks,”Baker said.
The apparatus weighs in around two pounds, and provides a fullbody workout. The system can be set up anywhere, such as off the side of a 7-ton truck, off a fence or even off the side of a Conex Box container.
“It’s really easy to use,” said Lance Cpl. Alex Broehm, a military policeman stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. “We take it outside and hook it up to the pull-up bar. It can hook-up to anything.”
The TRX was developed by a Navy Seal from a couple cargo straps and buckles and developed off the Vector Resistance.
“By simply changing the angle and the center of gravity of the body can make the exercises more or less difficult,” said Tina Brooks, personal trainer and workshops coordinator for Semper Fit, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. “With the stability principle, by changing the base of support or center of gravity will again change the level of difficulty. The wider the base of support the easier the exercise is to accomplish. The pendulum principle allows you to alter the difficulty by simply moving in one direction or the other from the anchor point.”
As is the case in any type of physical training variety is critical to avoid muscle memory and therefore, avoiding plateaus.
“If you’re used to being in a normal gym, bench pressing and things like that, the TRX will train all the same muscles in a different way,” Baker said.
The TRX can provide hundreds of different exercises.
“If you’re short on time you can complete your workout in a matter of minutes with combination movements,” Brooks said. “There seems to be no end to the strength training you can get from this small portable piece of equipment.”
Most Semper Fit facilities have TRX straps available to sign out for deployments and are easily transportable in a daypack or seabag. The TRX suspension straps go for around $200 in retail stores.
“It mimics functional fitness,” Baker said. “It will help you on your combat fitness test, out in the field and in a war zone. You can throw it in a rump sack; you don’t have an excuse not to workout.”