Results Based Training by Jordan Fitness | Functional Fitness Training

What does 'functional' mean?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last ten years you will be familiar with the term ‘functional’. It is commonplace within the fitness industry for fads and trends to come along which every trainer and his dog will buy in to, they then preach to anyone who will listen about how great this recent finding is...until the next one comes along. These fads and trends usually tend to disappear as quickly as they arrive, yet 'functional training' is one of the most widely used terms within the industry in the last decade - which is a strong clue to the fact that functional training is not a fad or a trend, and it is certainly not going away.

However, despite the fact that functional training is NOT going to disappear any time soon, there is a huge problem - Functional training is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted terms, so why all the confusion?

The cynic in me is suspicious of the fact that because the term itself is so popular that people will use it to relate to their own training methods/style, therefore making themselves look more appealing to prospective clients who may not know any better. 'Emotional contagion' - it's not the next blockbuster movie from Hollywood, instead it is one of the most powerful human instincts which is almost impossible to ignore - otherwise known as the 'bandwagon' effect. Every trainer wants to label themselves as functional, every gym wants to provide functional classes, and every manufacturer wants to produce functional products...which is brilliant, if only they were all delivering on their promises.

It seems that the issue lies in the confusion of what actually IS functional and what isn't. Common (mis)belief is that to be 'functional' you should perform all exercises standing on a BOSU or lying on a stability ball - training sessions are beginning to resemble circus tricks rather than more familiar strength training.

Before writing this piece I took a step back and asked myself what functional training meant to me. I have also spent a lot of time discussing this matter with other coaches who are all specialists in certain fields.

So here it is, the definitive answer. It turns out functional training is all about MOVEMENT. The true definition of functional training is simply to 'enhance your ability to execute the movements required during your day to day lifestyle'. Whether you are a professional athlete, a bodybuilder, an accountant or a housewife then you will have certain requirements of your body in order to deal with the specific rigours of your daily life.

The human body is an incredible machine, capable of the most unbelievable feats. However, it is limited to a small number of movement patterns. Every movement that we perform throughout every minute of every day falls into one of the following eight categories: push, pull, squat, lift, rotate, smash, carry/move a load and finally gait/locomotion. Whether it's kicking a ball, opening a door, picking up a piece of litter or doing the gardening your body will be working within at least one (often more) of the aforementioned movement patterns.

We are all limited to the same number of movement patterns, but the intensity and range of movement required can vary greatly. For example an Olympic sprinter attempting to break a world record and a retired pensioner walking to the shop to get a newspaper are both executing the gait/locomotion movement pattern (moving their body from A to B), but the intensity and range of movement required by each person are worlds apart.

Here lies the trick in performing a truly 'functional' training session. Firstly you need to analyse the movements and combinations of movements which you (or your client/athlete) require to perform their daily tasks, then you need to think about the intensity and range of movement. In my opinion the intensity and range of movement of the training should be equal to or greater than the daily requirements. The reason being you want to start to find daily living easy. No more groans and grunts when getting up off the sofa or tying your shoelaces. If your training is at an intensity lower than your daily requirements then the risk of injury will always exist, but it can be reduced by exceeding these levels (exceed them gradually and sensibly - doing too much too soon can also increase risk of injury).

If you want to be a really good functional trainer, then you need to analyse the demands of your clients/athletes needs, taking into consideration which movement patterns they use most, whilst also highlighting any imbalances. Never do anything just for the sake of it or because you saw it on the internet.

If you are wanting your personal sessions to be more functional then think about what you do for a living and what hobbies you have, and start to think about how you can replicate the movements your body requires. Don’t just listen to someone telling you to stand on one leg on a stability ball with your eyes shut because that’s their interpretation of ‘functional’.

I teach Functional Fitness Workshops on a weekly basis so if it’s something you are interested in learning more about then feel free to get in touch. Even if you have questions then I am more than happy to answer them – if you don’t ask you don’t get!

Email: sales@jordanfitness.co.uk

Written by Mark Laws — July 23, 2015

Nature vs Nurture

What does it take to be the best? Are we genetically predisposed for success in certain areas? Can hard work make up for a lack of talent? These are just a few questions that I ask myself on a regular basis. Recently I have invested a lot of time learning about talent and what it takes to become the best in any chosen field.

Twenty five years ago I stood on the terraces at Carrow Road as an over excited 8 year old watching my idols warm up for a match and assumed that some people were born with a gift to become professional footballers. I accepted that I did not possess this gift but decided that I was going to be ‘the guy that took the warm up’ as this would be as close as I could get to actually being a professional footballer with the limited talent I had. After all, he was still on the pitch wearing kit with everyone watching him so it couldn’t be a bad job.

Fast forward twenty five years to today and it turns out that I have a ‘natural’ ability for coaching which has allowed me to work with hundreds of elite/international/Olympic level athletes – including many footballers. But do I really have a natural ability for coaching?

The reality is that for around 18 years I have been coaching anyone that wanted to be coached (and plenty that didn’t) in dozens of different disciplines. I have constantly made mistakes and tried to learn from them. I have coached a wide range of subjects from high flying executives to homeless people requiring me to adapt my language/behaviour/coaching style to suit each individual. I have coached all over the world in countries with their differing cultures and mentalities which have provided plenty of obstacles and very steep learning curves.

Basically it has taken me 18 years of constant coaching to become an ‘overnight success’ with a ‘natural ability’ to coach.

The more you read about ‘talent’ the more you realise that it may well be a myth. This is not a new theory that I dreamed up – in 1969 an educational psychologist from Hungary named Laszlo Polgar randomly chose chess to prove his ‘theory of expertise’ and declared that his unborn child would become a chess champion. His eldest daughter Susan Polgar became the highest ranked female chess player in the world by the age of 14. By 22 she was the first ever female chess grandmaster and remains the only person ever (male/female) to win the chess Triple Crown.

All of this success occurred because Laszlo Polgar CHOSE for his child to become a chess expert even though he had limited experience of the game himself. To prove it wasn’t a fluke he did the same with his next two daughters who achieved just as much success as Susan. It wasn’t easy, but then nothing that is worth having is ever easy to achieve.

The Polgar daughters dedicated their lives to being successful in a particular field. Most people don’t have the dedication to work so hard for something, therefore it becomes very easy for the majority of us to just plod along accepting that we are never going to excel because we didn’t win the genetic lottery and weren’t born with a natural talent for something.

However, if you have the desire, determination and dedication to be successful you can achieve ANYTHING you want, nothing is too far-fetched. Your level of success is determined by how much effort you put in, the quality of the effort and number of hours of quality learning.

In order to make yourself as successful as possible within the fitness industry you need to dedicate more time to developing yourself. This will allow you to stay in the industry long enough to rack up the infamous 10,000 hours (or 10 years) of experience that is used as a bare minimum to master any task.

To attend a Jordan Fitness course and maximise your potential then email sales@jordanfitness.co.uk or visit www.jordanrbt.com.

Written by Mark Laws — July 23, 2015

Supply exceeds demand. But not for long…

Only a few months ago certain figures within the industry were suggesting that 'functional' fitness was merely a fad that would fizzle out and disappear. As you may or may not be aware, GYMetrix have recently revealed figures demonstrating that 'functional' spaces are not quite as popular as anticipated. We are seeing many gyms buying into it and installing functional areas, but GYMetrix's founder goes as far as stating that 'when gyms first put them in, the demand is zero. It's a push trend, not a pull trend, and it won't grow without intervention'.

I am a huge fan of functional areas so when I first read this report I disagreed, but on reflection this is actually a very good point. Functional fitness is definitely a push trend rather than a pull trend. Masses of gym members are not begging for these areas because on the whole they just don't understand the difference between one style of training or another. Therefore the leaders within the industry have no choice but to push the trend upon people rather than waiting for the demand. The demand will never come until the general public understand what they actually need, as appose to what they want.

Implementing change is a difficult thing, especially as human beings tend to like simple tasks that they can do on auto-pilot, so introducing a new method of training that involves thinking is going to be tough – but if your team can do the thinking for them then that is part of the problem solved.

The key to effectively increasing the demand comes down to staff intervention. It is absolutely imperative that fitness professionals are continuously upskilling themselves in the relevant areas. Attending courses and learning from 'experts' will give gym instructors and personal trainers the tools to explain to members WHY functional fitness methods are more advantageous and teach them HOW they can take advantage of these spaces.

Once a functional area is installed the staff have to encourage use of the space. This can be done through inductions, small group sessions, gym floor classes, posters, social media posts etc. If your staff aren't confident enough to do this then contact us to arrange a Functional Fitness Workshop ASAP (sales@jordanfitness.co.uk) and you can ensure that your expensive investment on functional equipment has not been wasted, and more importantly you can make a healthy return on your investment.

As experts and industry leaders we may be 'pushing' this trend upon people, but it's only because we know best – what’s best for the member and the facility owner.

This isn't the first time that a product has been 'pushed' by innovators who foresee a brighter future for us all. Henry Ford famously said that if he asked people what they needed they would have replied - "faster horses". I rest my case.

 

Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Mark Laws — June 30, 2014

Leading where others will have to follow.

As the dust settles on another mammoth BodyPower Expo I took some time to reflect on the event and see if I could learn anything from the experience.

I learned that for one weekend a year it is acceptable for men to touch each other in the toilets, I learned that fake tan isn’t JUST for women and I learned that on the hottest weekend of the year it is still possible to get more naked people INSIDE rather than outside.

From a professional point of view there was one other factor that really stood out – most people operate in small groups – and I believe this can be crucial for facility owners/fitness managers/personal trainers looking to enhance their product range.

The industry is fully aware of SGT (Small Group Training) as a concept, but although it sounds good in theory I don’t believe we are anywhere near witnessing its potential. But having seen some eye-opening sights in the NEC this weekend, I have also had my faith in SGT restored.

Human beings are simple creatures. We like what we like, and we try to avoid anything that is different from our ‘norm’. But how many of us are actually 100% satisfied with what we have achieved? I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of us are NOT 100% satisfied – therefore it would make sense that we could do with a few changes to our routines. After all, if you do what you have always done, then you will have what you have always had.

We launched a new product at BodyPower and it really was well received. ‘The Hub’ is the perfect solution for SGT. Not only can it be used to store 4 Olympic Barbells and 6 Olympic Weight plates, but it can be used for an unlimited number or workouts for up to 8 people. We ran a series of 8 minute high intensity circuits using ‘The Hub’ and they were some of the most enjoyable and eye-catching workouts we had ever done. Being able to use so many barbells as well as other products added a variety that has seldom been seen before with SGT.

Just three of the 8 minute circuits was enough to push even the best of athletes to the brink of their limitations. Our sessions ticked all the boxes – they were varied, challenging, enjoyable, time-efficient and most importantly of all they were perfect for small groups.

Having spent three days observing the behaviour of the crowds at BodyPower I think SGT is something that can be utilised by any facility and tailored towards their specific needs.

‘Emotional Contagion’ is the key SGT success. No, it is not this summer’s Hollywood blockbuster – it is in fact one of the most powerful human instincts that we cannot avoid, otherwise known as the ‘bandwagon’ effect. Human conduct spreads and as more people start to believe in something others will jump on the ‘bandwagon’.

So for the mavericks and visionaries among you, act quickly to make sure you are seen as a leader and not just a follower - contact sales@jordanfitness.co.uk because ‘The Hub’ is the place to be.

 

Written by @marklaws2011

 

Written by Mark Laws — June 30, 2014

One small step for lazy man…

Driving into work this morning I stumbled across a conversation on the radio which (as a die-hard fitness professional who eats, sleeps, and breathes work) scared the life out of me!!

Recommended guidelines state that in order to reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer and depression we should undertake just 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

This doesn’t mean you have to be breaking records with each and every CrossFit WOD. It could be walking. Hoovering. Gardening. Playing in the garden with children etc. But we are failing to do it. More and more people are struggling to do just 30 minutes of activity per day and not only is it costing us financially, but it is costing us physically, and mentally.

We should all be aware of the dangers of inactivity by now. A growing number of the population are undertaking sedentary work, and with the technological developments all around us there are far too many excuses NOT to move a muscle.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I can click a button on my mouse and my shopping arrives at my door is pretty cool, and convenient. But isn’t it just a bit…lazy??

No matter what gadget we invent, nothing can compete with the miraculous and innovative brilliance of the human body. As incredible as our bodies are – you have to use it or lose it.

Back to the radio conversation and it turns out that because people are struggling to do 30 minutes of activity per day we are moving the guidelines (rather than educate people and persuade them to do more activity, we reduce the amount of activity to make it look like more people are achieving it – then pat ourselves on the back for making a difference). It was proposed that sedentary workers should begin by standing up from their desks once every 20 minutes throughout the day.

Based on an 8 hour day that would loosely be 24 squats – this is not much more than 30 seconds of activity per day rather than 30 minutes. Surely even the laziest among us can manage that???

I don’t have a problem with this recommendation, indeed Rome was not built in a day. From the greatest of athletes to the most talented couch potatoes, everyone has to start somewhere – but it needs an element of progress.

As fitness professionals we really have got our work cut out. Firstly we have to practise what we preach - nobody will take advice from a lazy out-of-shape person telling them NOT to be lazy and out-of-shape. Most importantly we need to be ‘educated educators’. There are ‘geeks’ that know everything but cannot explain their views to others, and there are ‘smart alecs’ who know little yet hoodwink people into falling for the gift of their gab.

The real talent lies in knowing enough to be able to make a difference, and having the ability to share this on all levels.

I have a recommendation for fitness professionals – in order to live a long and fruitful career, you should strive to achieve at least 30 minutes of educational activity per day.

WARNING – these guidelines will NOT be adjusted to make bone idol members of the profession feel like they are achieving something.

Make an excuse to DO it, rather than an excuse NOT to do it.

Then teach your clients how to exceed their activity targets. Then get more clients.

Eat, Learn, Teach, Repeat. Eat, Learn, Teach, Repeat. Then the world will be a better place.

 

Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Maddie Darrell — June 30, 2014

Horses for Courses

If you believe everything you read then you would be left with a very small list of equipment that is safe to use and a very long list of exercises that will do more harm than good.

You shouldn’t do squats. You should do squats. You shouldn’t do crunches. You should do crunches. You shouldn’t use stability balls. You should use stability balls. Kettlebells are good for you. Kettlebells will kill you if you look at them wrong…sometimes it’s hard to know what you can/cannot do.

Our industry is constantly evolving so something that was the best exercise EVER a few years ago, could be proven to be terrible today, but in 5 years time it might be amazing again.

Well I am going to stick my neck on the line and say there are NO BAD EXERCISES!!! Every single exercise you can ever imagine, with any piece/s of equipment is good…but can be badly prescribed – and this is the problem.

Too many fitness professionals are lazy in their programming, and too naïve in their understanding of how their client’s body works. I am guilty of this myself in the past, and I am sure you are too. We end up with generic programmes that get dished out to every single client, and sooner or later there will be people doing exercises that are completely inappropriate for them…and this is when accidents happen, and/or progess stops, and/or your business suffers.

We are all entirely unique, so our exercise prescription should reflect this. As a fitness professional you would benefit greatly from assessing your client’s posture and gait, and identifying any areas of weakness (for details on our brand new ‘Functional Rehabilitative Training’ course contact sales@jordanfitness.co.uk to up-skill yourself in these areas).

Once any problems have all been ironed out and your client’s body is functioning as ‘normally’ as possible then you can start to increase the complexity and intensity of what they are doing.

Depending on their goals/hobbies/sports they play you can start to experiment with exercises that to the untrained eye may look ‘dangerous’ or ‘ridiculous’, but for what you are wanting to achieve they are ‘functional’. Not functional for everyone though – and this is why each and every programme should be specific to each individual.

There may be elements that are similar, but no two programmes should be EXACTLY the same.

  • If you can master this then you can learn to ignore all the hype over which is the latest exercise that should NEVER be performed, because you will know that everything you do is done for a reason - To increase the functionality of your client…whatever that may be. And sometimes it’s nice to just be able to show off a bit.

Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Maddie Darrell — June 25, 2014

More money in less time? Yes please.

Let’s not beat around the bush, the state of the economy isn’t great and we are all feeling the pinch in one way or another.

As fitness professionals we know how important our services are for the health and wellbeing of our clients. However, at an average of £30-£50 per hour, our services are seen as ‘luxury’ items and are in danger of being dropped by money-conscious clients.

I am going to use some basic figures to show you how and why Small Group Training (SGT) could make you a very successful Personal Trainer.

If I charge £40 per hour, and train my clients three times per week – I need 5 clients to earn £600 per week (5 people x 3 sessions x £40 = £600). This will take up 15 hours of actual training time, plus around the same amount of time for planning, preparation and setting up time. Not to mention, there will be long gaps in between these sessions which will mean you would be doing roughly 40 hours per week in total. This is a nice modest income for doing something that you love, but what happens if you can’t find 5 clients who can now afford to pay £120 a week???

You could lower your prices? But nobody wants to be seen as a ‘cheap’ trainer – you have a reputation to uphold and you don’t ever want to lower your hourly rate.

Instead you just need to think smarter. I bet you could find a lot of people willing to take advantage of your expertise for £15 per session. How about if you trained them in a small group? Small Group Training is becoming really popular and you can take advantage if you act quickly before everyone starts doing it. Not only is it cheaper for the client, but it’s more fun for them to have some competition during sessions. If you have 5 people training together, three times per week at £15 per session, you make £225…in three hours of training time!!

Now, imagine if you had 5 of those groups running at full capacity…£1125 per week for the same amount of work you were doing for £600. The only catch is you would need to find 25 people willing to pay £45 a week for your services.

The reality is you only need to find 14 people to make more money this way than you were making with the 1:2:1 system. But think about how many more referrals you will get working with small groups rather than individuals? Having 5 clients paying full price at the beginning was good, but you only have 5 ‘salesmen’ selling you to their friends/colleagues – with a hefty price tag too. Imagine how easy it would be for 10 ‘salesmen’ to sell you to their friends/colleagues with a much lower price tag?

If you are as good as you say you are, and people enjoy your sessions as much as you think they do, you can easily change your business model from 1:2:1 to SGT and almost double your income in the mean time.

No need to thank me, you haven’t got time – you have a new business model to implement!!

 

Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Maddie Darrell — March 14, 2014

Mix things up, or Die trying.

If you were expecting this to be another article about why exercise does more harm than good then I apologise now for disappointing you. Nor is this ANOTHER lame attempt at telling you some simple ways to burn more calories...walk up stairs instead of taking the lift, park further away from the entrance at work, blah blah blah I have heard it a million times and it alarms me that people have such little common sense that they can't work that out for themselves.

I read a lot of articles in fitness publications and I am often left wondering 'what was the point?'. Time is a very precious commodity so I have a new policy whereby, upon completion of reading my article I want people to say "that might come in handy".

Don't get too excited and expect some kind of secret miracle revelation that is going to change the world, but feel free to take my idea and alter it slightly to give you a potentially unlimited number of sessions.

One of my biggest fears is being thought of as predictable, or repetitive, or boring by my clients. These are fairly common fears I would have thought, so here is how to avoid them...

In 2010 I spent a few hours building a large die (dice to me and you, but to be grammatically correct I must point out that 'dice' is the plural name, 'die' is singular – and it took me long enough to make one so I am in no hurry to make another) much to the amusement of everyone else in the gym who thought it was ridiculous. Turns out I stumbled across the greatest tool ever for the lazy/busy PT.

Make a list of 6 areas to work on in your session - for example you could use the following (or you can make up any others of your own depending on your aims)...

  1. Upper body push
  2. Upper body pull
  3. Lower body push
  4. Lower body pull
  5. Core
  6. Cardio

Next make a list of 6 sets/reps combos (I think you know where I am going with this)...

  1. 5 x 5
  2. 3 x 10
  3. 50 reps anyhow
  4. Tabata
  5. 2 - 4 - 6 - 8 - 10 - 8 - 6 - 4 - 2
  6. 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 – 1

Finally make a list of 6 pieces of equipment you have available to you...

  1. Kettlebell
  2. Suspension system
  3. Bodyweight
  4. Sandbag
  5. Beer Keg
  6. Barbell

 

For the slow learners among us here is how it works. Roll the die, it's a 2 - upper body pull. Roll again, it's a 4 - break it to them gently that there is a Tabata on the horizon. Third roll, and it's another 2 - hook the suspension system up and away you go. First exercise is a Row on the suspension system, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest and repeat for four minutes! 3, 2, 1 let's go.......!!! Let them roll again while they recover, and repeat.

As the trainer you have artistic license to tweak the exercises and sets/reps to suit your client’s needs. Don't include anything that you think is unrealistic, and feel free to cheat a little if you want to avoid certain things at certain times.

I did warn you that there was nothing ground breaking, however, throw in one of these sessions from time to time and you will soon see that they can be pretty good fun. These sessions work really well for group PT sessions/Boot Camps if you let a different person roll the die to select each part. Never underestimate how much fun something so simple can be, and at the end of the day what is the worst that can happen? Now, everyone repeat after me..."that might come in handy".

 

Written by@marklaws2011

 

 

 

Written by Maddie Darrell — February 13, 2014

Carry on (Boot) Camping

Trends come and go within our industry. But there is one in particular that can break a man at the mere mention of its name. How could two little words cause so much pain and misery yet be so popular? The ultimate ‘marmite’ training session – you either LOVE it, or HATE it.

The term ‘Boot Camp’ portrays images of leather faced drill sergeants looming over you as you are close to tears because they keep goading you to do ‘just one more’ repetition, pushing you to the point of complete exhaustion.

I have run Boot Camps for years and what keeps my members coming back is how much fun they have. Clearly there is an element of skill on behalf of the instructor to keep everyone happy…but outdoor Boot Camp sessions really can be fun – no matter how many horror stories you have heard.

With the growing popularity of group training and outdoor training, a successful Boot Camp can be a great money earner as well as a brilliant service to your local community. Within a stones throw of Jordan Fitness HQ we have the world famous ‘No. 1 Boot Camp’ with a constant flow of celebrity endorsements, as well as at least 10 smaller Boot Camps run by PTs, all within a small radius of the sparsely populated North Norfolk coast.

No matter how much competition there is you can still make it a success. Here is my approach.

Priority number 1 – make the sessions fun. The more fun people have the more likely they are to come back regularly. Once they are attending regularly they are going to start seeing results. Then they start telling their friends/colleagues about you. My members have often turned up alone but have made life-long friendships over a muddy tyre or two.

Priority number 2 – try to get stronger. I am not a huge fan of cardio, and the location of my sessions is not ideal to have people running off all over the place, so the main emphasis is strength, strength, strength. You can still work the cardiovascular system without having to run everywhere, but if you make someone stronger then they will really notice massive differences in a short space of time. As a strength coach I know I can make anyone a bit stronger, but a deconditioned person off the street is so easy to see quick improvements with…the sooner they improve, the sooner they refer people to join!

Priority number 3 – make them show commitment. If somebody asks how much it is for one session then they are probably never going to turn up when it’s raining or when Eastenders is on. I have turned away at least 50 people over the last 12 months who have wanted to ‘pay-as-you-go’. The vast majority of my members pay for three months at a time, or they can pay monthly and pay slightly more. PAYG just doesn’t work (in my experience) because people will easily find an excuse not to come. Make them commit to pay over a longer period and it’s amazing how many people will come and train in any weather.

Priority number 4 – imaginative sessions. Human beings get bored very easily. Within a few weeks you will have exhausted all the traditional exercises so get good at thinking outside of the box. Use equipment that is easily transportable and versatile as much as possible – sandbags, kettlebells, suspension systems, bodyweight, matts, medicine balls etc. Bear in mind that you also need progressions and regressions for everything because there will be such a mix of abilities. Allow everyone to work at their own pace and you have the foundations of a successful Boot Camp business.

Move Better. Feel Better. Look Better. Be Better.

 

Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Maddie Darrell — February 10, 2014

Don't get your Suspenders in a twist...

In 2001 Apple created their first MP3 player. Some of you may have heard of the iPod – it went on to be a pretty successful product. So much so that any MP3 player is casually referred to as an iPod – no matter who it is made by.

While Steve Jobs spent the 1990s dominating the global gadget/technology market something similar was brewing in the functional fitness world – before we even knew such a thing existed!

From 1988 an innovative young Navy Seal embarked upon a quest for maintaining/developing an elite level of athleticism, with a catch. It needed to be easily transported all over the world. Needed to be used in any environment. It had to be lightweight and portable. Combined with his exceptional sewing skills the solution gradually came to the fore. In 2001 he left the Seals to enroll at the Stanford School of Business. All of the pieces came together and thanks to Randy Hetrick suspension training was born.

For the fitness geeks among us we know that this was not a new idea because it is well documented that the grandfathers of fitness had used suspension training hundreds of years ago. But the industry moved away from functional training methods for the majority of the 20th century, and seeing as all of us were either born, started to exercise or became qualified during that same periodit is understandable for us to be unfamiliar with anything other than the ‘norm’.

Functional training is well and truly back, and thanks to the vision of people like Randy the industry is finally fun and exciting and effective again.

But, and it is a big but, just because TRX was the first suspension training system – does not mean it is the ONLY system to use – in the same way that the iPod is not the only MP3 player you can purchase.

The TRX is a brilliant tool. I bought one on a trip to California in 2008 and was one of the first trainers in the UK to have one. However the fact that it is a single strap system means there are some huge limitations. In recent years there have been some double strap systems introduced into the market, and in my opinion these are a much more versatile piece of equipment.

With the double strap system you can have the straps as close together or as far apart as you like. This means you can constantly adapt the exercises and keep your body on its toes, which gives a good trainer an unlimited number of variations.

The two-strap system does everything that the single strap system can do. But the single strap system cannot do everything the double strap system can do.

In a lot of areas of life less is seen to be more. However when it comes to suspension training systems two straps is definitely better than one.

I know which I prefer, it’s up to you whether you choose the original or the most versatile, just please don't confuse them or refer to EVERY form of suspension training by the name of the original product.

Written by @marklaws2011


Written by Maddie Darrell — January 07, 2014