TRX and gymnastic rings mix things up a little because they involve bodyweight training instead of lifting weights.
Bodyweight training is actually ideal for general fitness and for functional strength in particular.
The reason is that bodyweight training means you have to lift your own body – something that you regularly have to do in real life.
If you can get stronger faster than you get heavier, then you can increase your strength-to-weight ratio and that in turn will make you far faster on your feet as well as more agile and flexible.
Another advantage of bodyweight training is that it forces you to utilize all the smaller supportive muscles in your body.
When you perform a press up, you are using muscle in your abs, obliques, legs, lower back and more to keep your body rigid and in position.
The same is true when you perform a pull up – and if you try and cheat through the pull-up, then your body will wobble around in the air and you’ll end up wasting energy and tiring out faster.
This gets far more impressive as you start to approach more advanced movements. Imagine the kind of total-body control that is used when you perform a handstand press up, or planche press ups.
Press ups where your feet don’t touch the ground!
If you want to see an example of someone who is truly in command of their own body and their own strength, then look up ‘Ido Portal’.
He moves like an inhuman and will blow your mind regarding the potential of the human body.
The problem is that many people approach bodyweight training all wrong. If you’re just pumping out a set number of press ups and sit ups every day, then you can’t expect to progress much.
Instead, you should be challenging yourself with increasingly difficult moves in your 8-10 rep range and you should be using techniques to push past failure.
In bodyweight routines, you can’t change the weight itself but what you change instead is the way you’re lifting it – which can be just as challenging.
Find press ups easy? Then how about training with clapping press ups and trying to launch yourself in the air?
This move requires some acceleration in the muscles, which the body treats just the same as heavy weight.
The result is that you’ll recruit more of your fast-twitch muscle fibers in order to explode off the floor.
And now if you try and perform some ‘normal’ pushups, you’ll find it’s a lot more challenging.
Likewise, if you perform a push up with one hand, that will also make it harder, as well as this requires you to strengthen your core to avoid tipping.
You can build up to this by placing both hands on the floor but putting 80% of your weight on one hand.
As you get more tired, move more and more weight onto the other side. Now you’re controlling your distribution of weight in order to maximally challenge the muscle.
You can also just move your arms back closer to your waist, which puts you in a position called a ‘maltese pushup’.
This movement lengthens the lever arm – just like the Indian club. Now your weight is further away from your hands, which forces you to work harder.
The Mechanical Drop Set and Progressions
A great tool at your disposal here is a technique called the ‘mechanical drop set’. Here, you perform as many reps as you can of an exercise and then make it slightly easier by changing the position.
For instance, you might do as many pushups as you can and then change immediately to press-ups on your knees. This enables you to go past the point of failure but still keep going, which makes it much harder.
And in terms of each workout, the goal is to keep challenging yourself to perform more and more difficult movements which are called ‘progressions’.
Once you can easily do 10 Maltese push-ups, you can then challenge yourself to do a single planche push up.
Ultimately, you should aim to get to the point where you’re performing feats of ‘hand balancing’ which will involve moving from one impressive bodyweight position on your hands to another, all in a slow, controlled manner.
Some Technique in Weight Training
Technique in weight training is very important for achieving the expected progress, but also for protecting the body of the sportsman. The first important thing is to learn correctly the basic movements.
In this type of training, there is a kind of classic set of exercises, which the sportsman needs to master from the beginning. This set includes exercises with free weights like dumbbells and barbells.
While training with these, the movement is not imposed by any machine. When executed without the supervision of a fitness instructor, it is possible that these movements are done in a wrong way, a situation which increases the risk of accidents a lot.
One of the most frequent mistakes is an incorrect position of the spine. Some exercises (bench press, barbell curls) could involve exaggerated arching, while others (sit up bend, dead lift, squats, etc.) involve unjustified flexing (hunching).
These wrong positions can lead to unfavorable stress exerted over the spine, knees or shoulders. Besides, they can direct the effort to other groups of muscles than the ones intended.
The result is that none of these are properly trained because no exercises specific to the muscles are performed correctly.
In such situations, the sportsman will only feel exhaustion in all his body and will not be able to direct and localize the effort in the zone which a particular exercise should mobilize.
Another example of the wrong technique is exaggerated swinging for exercises which do not need impetus.
This happens most often while raising the weights laterally for working on the deltoid muscles when the sportsman wrongly flexes the knees and uses the lumbar muscles, arching his back too much.
Other mistakes are made when catching the bars. In the case of pull up, for example, and of pushing from behind the neck for the shoulders, a too narrow catch will place the scapular-humeral circulation into a non-physiological, stressing position.
Exaggerated bending forward during squat will force the spine while lowering the thighs below horizontal position will stress the menisci.
Rowing from bending position and stretching back must be done with the back in extension. Otherwise, the risk of the slipped disc might appear.
Not using a belt when lifting very heavy weights can determine slipped disc, but also inguinal hernia or rupture of abdominal muscles.
The technique of breathing must be understood correctly. Breathing in instead of breathing out, blocking the thorax or not can affect the sportsman a lot.
Generally, the sportsman must breathe out during the most difficult part of the movement and must breathe in during controlled coming back in position.
Apnoea (blocking of the thorax) must be used only in the case of lifting heavy and very heavy weights. Or else, it is not justified.
While making an aerobic effort, it is necessary to have a particular breathing rhythm, a pace which can vary according to the cardiac frequency and lung ventilation.
All these examples support the idea that the presence of the fitness instructor during training is absolutely necessary.
Check this video about Bodyweight Training for Strength to Weight Ratio: