The TRX Power Bag is the newest addition to the TRX line of functional training tools (FTT). If you've never used or seen a power bag, it's a weighted bag, with a cylinder shape, stable load, and multiple handles for different grips and exercises. This versatile piece of equipment can be used in many different ways to meet an array of demands. Let's look at a few ways incorporating the TRX Power Bag can take your training to the next level.
WARM-UP OR COOL-DOWN EXERCISES
The Power Bag Plank:
Adding a few Power Bag exercises or drills to your warm up can enhance your workout readiness. During warm-up the Power Bag can be used to create some instability in various plank positions. For instance, you can plank with your hands on the bag, using the softer surface to create instability, which makes you focus more on your active plank. The use of the "Scap-J' and "spreading the bag" cues will come in handy as time goes on and the difficulty increases. Likewise, add a plank with your feet on the bag to change the overall feeling of the plank and to prep for any "toes in' ground-based work you might do on the TRX Suspension Trainer.
The Power Bag Halo:
Another useful movement for mobility, in the shoulders and thoracic spine, is the Power Bag Halo. This dynamic shoulder girdle exercise is great for working out any sticking points along your scapulae (shoulder blades) to prep for pushing and pulling. Typically halos are done with a kettlebell, however, the power bag adds a whole new level of intensity! For one, the expanded width of the power bag in comparison to a kettlebell as you "halo" the shoulders forces you to keep a heightened sense of where the bag is relative to where your body is stationed. Consequently, this focus of keeping your core active while trying to increase range of motion (ROM) along the shoulder blades is just another added bonus.
Power Bag Cleans:
The power bag is not just for the warm up or cool down. This dynamic tool can be integrated into your workout or even used as a standalone tool for an entire workout session. As an example, power cleans are an olympic lift variation typically done with a barbell and bumper plates. Almost all high-level athletes, leverage this classic movement to help build full body speed, power, and strength. Nevertheless, this exercise can sometimes feel too intimidating or overly challenging with a barbell. Lucky for all of us recreational exercisers, power cleans with power bags provide the same benefits - sans the fear of getting injured due to improper technique (which is pretty common with a rigid barbell).
The Power Bag Drag:
The Power Bag can also be used to tailor sport specific workouts as well. If you - or your athletes - are predominantly runners for instance, adding in power bag exercises is a fun, easy and effective way to get multiplanar training in. Running happens in the sagittal plane, thus leaving the other two planes of motion (frontal and transverse) open for some much needed TLC. Performing an exercise such as a power bag drag or rotational press can offer multiple benefits to athletes (ie. training in all planes of motion) and you can crank up the cardio and strength benefits by adjusting the speed and tempo of the movement.
Overall the TRX Power Bag is a great tool to have in your training arsenal. The key things to remember when using this new tool are:
Earn Your Progression. Everything we do - in sport and life - is based on foundational movements (plank, push, pull, squat, hinge, rotate, crawl, step, bend and twist). Before adding a new challenge or progression, make sure you have mastered the correct form and components of each movement.
Versatility. Get creative. This amazing training tool is very versatile. With seven handles and dozens of exercises to choose from, the TRX Power Bag can be used for almost all of your weighted exercises - in place of a kettlebell, med ball, slam ball or even barbell. The bag can be lifted, dragged, slammed, and even carried. Don't be afraid to think - and train - outside the box.
Mix it up! Incorporate this tool into your workouts. Combining the Power bag with the TRX Suspension Trainer is a great way to mix it up and strengthen your whole body. For example, try doing front squats with the power bag, then going into a set of TRX Hamstring curls on the Suspension Trainer. This pairing would be considered a contrast set, because we are going from a loaded low velocity exercise, right into a low load high volume exercise working the same movement pattern.
Below is a description of how to complete the exercises that have been highlighted in this newsletter. Get yourself a power bag, find some space and let's see what you ladies and gentleman can do! Film and share any workouts your do and tag us here at TRX for a chance to be featured!
Plank on Power Bag:
With the bag on the ground laying wide. Place your hands firmly on the bag with your knees down and hips sat slightly back. Engage your core by shifting hips forward, squeezing your glutes and lifting your knees off the floor into a standard plank position. Shoulders should be out of your ears and your head in line with your spine. Hold for 30 seconds and then lower your knees back down to the floor and release your hands from the bag.
Power Bag Halo:
Grab the Power Bag by standard grips, assume a front rack position with elbows up and power bag resting in crux of the elbows. Keeping your hips, rib cage and legs stable, begin by rotating the bag to one side. Draw a circle or halo around the head, above the shoulders. The goal is to have the shoulder blades and shoulder joints creating motion, while maintaining a stable spine. Return to front rack position and then rotate the bag in the opposite direction.
Power Bag Clean:
Begin by holding standard grips on the bag. The Power Bag will be against your thighs, standing straight up, with your shoulders pulled back. Sit your hips back behind your heels, lowering your chest as close to parallel to the ground as possible with your back flat. Initiate the movement by squeezing your glutes, driving your heels into the ground, and with speed, pulling the powerbag up to chest height. When the Power Bag is at chest height quickly snap the elbows forward, creating a front rack for the bag to sit on the shoulders. After a second or two of holding a front rack position, control the Power Bag back down to be in front of your hips in the starting position.
Plank w/ Power Bag Cross Drag:
Assume a plank position with Power Bag laying wide next to the right of your body, at chest level. With a braced core, reach your left hand underneath your body grabbing onto the outside grips of the Power Bag. Pull the bag across the ground until it is on the left side of your body, place your left hand back down to reset your plank. Reach under your chest and grab the bag with your right arm, pulling back to the right side of your body where you began.