Wednesday, 27 May 2015

TRX and Kettlebells Go Head to Head

The most useful exercise tool is the one you enjoy using the most. You choose your exercise equipment based on individual health and fitness or athletic goals and you never put all of your eggs in one basket. Still, if you only have around 200 bucks to spend, and you want a truly effective tool for whole body strength and conditioning, should you spend it on the highly praised kettlebell, or the innovative TRX suspension trainer? 
Exercise Choice
The number and type of exercises you can do with either one is enough to fill a book, and both can build muscle, strength and endurance. Let's evaluate the advantages of each. 

Adjustable Weight
A kettlebell is a fixed weight. However, with the recommended 35 lb. for men and 24lb. kettlebell for women, a lot can be accomplished. Also, while you will want a heavier kettle bell eventually, the lighter weights will always be useful. 
 The TRX is instantly, but perhaps not infinitely adjustable. To increase or decrease resistance, the user can adjust their angle, adjust the straps or try an alternative exercise.
Both pieces of equipment can create significant changes to your physique, whether you want to build muscle or burn off some fat. Both will provide enough variety to stimulate change in the body for a long time. 

If you can drive to your workout, you can take kettlebells or the TRX. However, the TRX is the winner when it comes to portability. Hence the name €Fitness Anywhere.' Besides, it is the only choice if you want to pack workout equipment on an airplane. At 2-3 pounds you won't notice the extra weight at all. Suspension training is designed to be done anywhere; a hotel room, a park fence, anywhere. 
If you're workout space is small, you can still use kettlebells. As versatile free weights, they are totally effective even if you have no more than a yoga mat sized space to work with. Kettlebells are pound for pound the best pick-up and start with no warm up workout equipment.
The TRX is easy to use once you have it ready to go. Using their X-mount gives you a permanent anchor point in your workout space, while mounting it with the door anchor gives you a gym anywhere in your home. If possible, choose the permanent X-mount over the door anchor. Personally, the added stability personally gives me more confidence. 

Once it is ready, you can start an easy warm-up and stretch, then transition to harder exercises. This a TRX bonus. If your body needs a light workout, all you have to do is start at an easy angle and work into harder exercises. For a kettlebell warmup, work with a single kettlebell or use an abbreviated range of motion.
*Note: Both choices present an additional challenge. The kettlebell weight is unbalanced, and the TRX forces your body to stabilize to perform the exercises. Each has unique but effective movements.

Let's see the difference between some common TRX and kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebell Swing:
Basically a hamstring exercise, doing swings at a steady pace for a few minutes pushes your heart rate sky high.

Hip Bridges:
An equivalent TRX movement would be 'suspended hip bridges' with leg curls. Both work the same muscles, and both demand control of your core during the exercise.

The High-Pull versus the Snatch. The TRX high pull is a great upper back and rear deltoid exercise. The snatch is a breath-catching nightmare that also works the upper back among other things. The difference is the high pull is more suited to building strength, muscle and muscular endurance.
A heavy kettlebell snatch can build strength and muscle, but a moderate weight can be snatched for several minutes, increasing cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.

Simple Routines
Because the two pieces of equipment are so different, it is hard to pick a winner. You can purchase heavier and heavier kettlebells, which may be better for building serious muscle and strength. 

Consider these two routines:

-Standing presses, Windmills with a pick-up (pick up another kettlebell from the ground while bending down,) followed by the Renegade Row then the Turkish Get-up.
Start with 5-8 repetitions each and do 3 rounds without resting. An intense workout. Now let's compare an intense routine using the TRX.

Start out with horizontal body rowing or pullups. Switch to suspended dips, then adjust the straps six inches off the floor and do a superset of suspended push-ups and chest flyes. If you need to, perform the flyes at a standing angle. 

This is a tough workout at first, but that is the point. You can progress with these exercises by:
a. change the angle
b. increase the repetitions.

Eventually you may have to add add external resistance, unless muscular endurance is your only objective.

Which exercise tool is better? This depends on your goals. The kettlebell may have greater opportunities to increase resistance over time. This means anyone trying to develop more strength and power would accomplish this faster with kettlebells. On the other hand, to do this you will have to keep investing in kettlebells to a point. 

The TRX suspension training system is portable, and is challenging enough in its own right. Stabilizing your own bodyweight through difficult and sometimes awkward angles can challenge a person for a long time.

So where is the best value for your money? If you want easy portability, movement specific workouts and a kit you can stuff in a backpack, buy the TRX and take it everywhere you go. It's a must-have when you travel, and most of us will be challenged by this contraption for years.

On the other hand, for the satisfying feeling of grabbing some cold iron and heaving it this way and that, you will never regret purchasing a set of kettlebells.

There is probably room in your life, and your home gym, for both. Either way, using TRX and kettlebells consistently will transform your body and get you in the best shape of your life.

Source| Martin Christopher|GO 

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