Suspension training uses one's own body weight to achieve results

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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All one needs for a full-body workout at Flores Fitness are a couple straps suspended from the ceiling.

Trainers at the Vancouver alternative fitness center use those neon yellow straps with black handles and one’s own body weight to work every major muscle group in the body.

Learn more

For a class schedule and more information about TRX Suspension Training at Flores Fitness, visit the center’s website at: http://www.floresfitness.com or call 360-609-7564.

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Suspension Training

Teresa Flores, owner of Flores Fitness in Orchards, leads a class through an hourlong TRX Suspension Training class at the alternative fitness center.

Teresa Flores, owner of Flores Fitness in Orchards, leads a class through an hourlong TRX Suspension Training class at the alternative fitness center.

“It’s deceiving. Those two little straps and your own body weight will give you an amazing workout,” said Teresa Flores, who owns the fitness center with her husband, Sam.

The workout is called TRX Suspension Training and it was created by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick. While TRX’s popularity has flourished in Southern California, it’s just now picking up steam in the Portland-Vancouver area.

“It’s still untouched,” Teresa said. “But the people who have experienced it, love it. It spreads like wildfire.”

Sam and Teresa opened Flores Fitness, 10818 N.E. Coxley Drive, in Orchards in October. The fitness center has expanded its offerings to include sport yoga, boxing and martial arts, but TRX has been the one thing paying the bills, Sam said.

They offer 18 TRX classes a week, some for the more advanced, most for people of all levels. Class sizes are kept at no more than eight people.

The classes attract people of all ages and abilities. Elite athletes use the program and so do people who are older and have joint issues, Teresa said.

Teresa is a certified TRX and yoga instructor; Sam is certified in mixed martial arts training. Their experience and education allows them to tailor the exercises to meet the abilities of each participant, Teresa said.

At a recent advanced TRX class, seven people ranging in age from 16 to 47 were at Teresa’s mercy for an hour.

In one exercise, they stood with their feet under the anchor points (where the straps were secured to the ceiling) and leaned back, creating 45-degree angles with their bodies. From there, they pulled their bodies up until they were standing straight and fell forward to create another 45-degree angle.

In another exercise, they secured their feet in the strap handles and dropped to the mat on the floor. They got in a side plank position, propped up on their elbow with their bodies parallel to the ground, and pulled their legs to their chests to do an ab crunch.

They used the straps to do biceps curls and chest presses, suspended lunges and hip presses.

Because the exercises use one’s own body weight, participants are able to move their bodies to increase or decrease the difficulty. The body creates its own resistance depending on how it’s angled. Sharper angles create more resistance, softer angles create less, Sam said.

TRX exercises create long, lean muscles, not the bulky muscles weight-lifting can build, Teresa said. Results often come quicker too. During a five-week boot camp at the fitness center, eight people dropped more than 100 inches using TRX, she said.

Participating in one all-levels TRX class can burn about 470 calories. The advanced classes, which move at a faster pace, burn more, Teresa said.

Ridgefield resident Tyler Scott, 45, said he gets more out of the hourlong TRX class than two hours of weight-lifting at the gym. Sixteen-year-old Alyas Wardius, also of Ridgefield, agreed.

“I feel like this is a harder workout,” he said. “This stretches you out and works your whole muscle.”

Lexi Kiemele, 19, has been taking TRX classes since October and said she’s seen a difference in her fitness level.

“It makes you stronger, for sure,” she said. “I feel a change. I see a change.”

Teresa used TRX to make her own transformation. She’s lost 47 pounds and said she’s stronger and in her best physical shape since high school.

“It’s exhilarating,” the 30-year-old said. “It feels good. It’s empowering.”

“If I can do what a Navy SEAL is doing,” she said, “that’s great.”

Marissa Harshman: http://twitter.com/col_health;http://facebook.com/reporterharshman;marissa.harshman@columbian.com.