Page 8 - HOT NEWS JUNE 2014
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Physical Training Adviser Eric Atherton on functional fitness and the benefits of using the TRX.
What’s your Fitness?
To answer this you must first understand the term Fitness. Physical fitness refers to the capacity of an athlete/person to meet the varied physical demands of their sport/day to day life without reducing the athlete/person to a fatigued state. The components of physical fitness are:
• Body Composition. • Muscular Strength. • Aerobic Endurance. • Speed.
• Muscular Endurance. • Flexibility.
Now ask yourself, do I have all of the above? If you weren’t a firefighter and you were asked to put them in order of importance, 1 being the most important and 6 being the least, what would be your number 1? And what would be your number 6?
As an operational firefighter would your order be the same? Would you think that as firefighters we need to have a high level of them all to be safe and effective? Some would say a high standard of “functional fitness”. Functional fitness uses movements that help your body function like it should, giving you the ability to get normal things done in your daily life without causing any undue concern or injury. Functional exercise replicates functional movement, that is, those movements we use to get things done in our daily lives and work routines. Standing from a seated position, placing things overhead, pulling ourselves up, throwing, running, picking things up - these are all functional movements. Functional exercise allows our bodies to perform the way in which they were engineered. Squats, push ups, pull ups, deadlifts, box jumps and TRX suspension kits etc.
As with all new kit a few questions have asked by users of the TRX. Eric Atherton answers some of the questions.
Q: Who will benefit from Suspension Training?
Everyone can benefit from Suspension Training. Because the user can effortlessly control the resistance and level of difficulty by simply shifting the position of their body, the TRX Suspension Trainer is perfect for gentle rehabilitation, hard- core athletic training, and everything in between. Suspension Training also allows for complete ranges of motion while training which allows for a more functional workout routine.
Q: Is Suspension Training appropriate for people who are out of shape or just beginning an exercise program?
Yes, because the user has control over the amount of bodyweight resistance, control of the angle in which they place their body, and can control their stability by their foot placement (wide stance, narrow stance, single leg) which means it can very well be used for people that are not professional or performance athletes nor regularly active. Suspension Training can also be used to assist a number of movements that are too difficult for many de-conditioned users.
Q: How is Suspension Training different from other types of resistance training?
Traditional weight training often only works one muscle at a time which is contradictory to the normal co-ordinated muscle effort used to complete most activities. Focusing on only one muscle at a time is more likely to lead to overuse injuries and muscular imbalances, as well as potentially limit strength and movement gains. Suspension Training allows for the use of multiple planes of motion and works multiple muscles and joints simultaneously.
Q: I’ve heard the TRX is great for rehabilitation and physical therapy after an injury?
Many physical therapists are currently using the TRX to help their patients recover from various injuries. The ease of adjusting resistance, functionality of using body weight and the closed kinetic chain nature of many of the exercises make it a very powerful tool for this type of use.
For any issues or concerns relating to the TRX suspension kit please contact or alternatively contact the PT Department at the TDA.
Physical Training Adviser Eric Atherton demonstrates a number of exercise positions using the TRX equipment. Photos supplied by Bill Pirrie and Eric Atherton.
At Kirkdale Community Station, Service Physical Training Adviser (PTA) Eric Atherton is trying to take training sessions to a different level using some functional movements, in particular the TRX suspension kit.
“I did start to use these as part of my own training sessions and over time other Watch members have become increasingly interested in using them to the point where we’re trying to bring different exercises to each session.”
Recently the TRX suspension kit has taken up a regular home at Kirkdale and is now available to all station gym users. It delivers a fast, effective total-body workout, can help build a stronger core, increases muscular endurance, benefits people of all fitness levels.
Eric said: “I have been using this piece of kit for a number of months now after having initially setting myself an aim of strengthening my core muscles. Now four months into using them I can highly recommend them for inclusion into anyone’s training sessions.
TRX Position Squat
TRX Position Press Clock
TRX Position Pike
Photos supplied by Bill Pirrie.

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