Parachute into shape at Equinox gym in Woodbury

TRX resistance training is the newest trend to hit the fitness scene, and is becoming hugely popular at gyms all around Long Island, including Equinox, Synergy Fitness Clubs in Merrick and Levittown, and various New York Sports Club locations. It offers a full body workout with a fun and interesting twist.

“I was in pain for days,” said Irene Boris, a member at the Equinox gym in Woodbury, who was returning for her second TRX suspension class.

The equipment consists of a nylon strap that attaches to a hook in the ceiling. For people who do not belong to a gym that offers the classes, the suspension pack is available for purchase, and can be used anywhere that the strap can be connected to.

The training involves slipping your hands and feet into a kettle belt, a handle attached to the strap. Then, strengthening exercises are performed using your own body weight. There are over 300 positions that can be performed with the straps.

TRX can improve flexibility, strength and balance, but there are other advantages that it has over more traditional forms of exercise.  The positions force different muscle groups to work together, allowing for a full body workout in almost every exercise. Your core is worked while working both your upper and lower body.

With the only required equipment being the nylon strap, transition time between exercises is very small. Time spent moving from one machine to the next in traditional strength training is erased. This feature combined with working all of your muscle groups at the same time, cuts your workout time in half.

An additional benefit that TRX offers is the low amount of strain it places on the body, since there are no weights that can harm your joints or ligaments. You can control the amount resistance and how much of your own body weight you want to support through adjusting the straps, making it ideal for anyone recovering from an injury and accommodating a wide age range.

Boris warned that at first, it isn’t as easy as it looks. It takes a while before you get it.

“But it’s a great class. That’s why I’m back,” she said.

Though the workout is strength and resistance training, there is a high level of energy in the classes. Maureen Gallagher, who teaches the 6:30 p.m. class at Equinox, sets the pace with fun and upbeat music. Through a microphone she led a class of eight participants through series of squats, lunges, leg lifts, bicep curls and push-ups.

It took all but five minutes for sweat to start soaking through each participant’s shirt.

TRX was developed by Randy Hetrick, a former U.S. Navy Seal, who needed to stay fit, but had very little equipment and space to work out in. He used whatever he could get his hands on, parachutes and karate belts, to create the first suspension pack. He then went on to found “Fitness Anywhere” and TRX suspension equipment.

Recently, the inventive workout has been written about in Newsday, and featured on The CW and a Fox News affiliate, sparking interest all across the country.

“I read about TRX on,” said college student Lindsay Dellaripa. “I’m really thinking of trying a class, it seems fun, and I really hate using weight machines.”