Your legs and abs will tremble in this full-body workout.
AS SOON AS I grabbed my TRX handles, balanced on the balls of my feet and started doing mini-pulsing squats, I wondered how I found a class that took two things that are already hard — TRX and barre — and combined them to make them even harder.
Luckily for all parties involved, especially my teacher, Jessie, after a few rounds of pulsing in various squat positions, heels lifted, things calmed down to normal-hard. If your idea of normal is trembling legs, this is the class for you.
I was back at Tribe Seattle, a Capitol Hill studio that has a penchant for combining types of fitness into one maddeningly hard class. I brought my friend Natalie to see how she felt about the combo approach.
Jessie interspersed our early squats with jumping lunges, using hanging TRX straps for stability, then added chest pullups and chest push-ups to mix up the challenge.
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I immediately liked being able to do upper-body work with TRX straps and body weight, doing shoulder and core strengthening right away.
Much of the barre element initially came in our legs, working with heels lifted for most of the early exercises. The benefit of TRX straps is that they move, so you can focus on stability while also making each round tougher depending on how deeply you angle your body; lifting your heels adds another layer of difficulty.
After a good round of warm-up exercises, we moved to the barre for leg work. Here, it felt more traditional. We did leg lifts to the back and side to work our glutes. While the exercises were effective, we didn’t do it for nearly as long as I have experienced in other barre classes. I was grateful.
We moved back to TRX, where Jessie ramped it up with one-legged pistol squats. The straps help keep you stable, but one-legged pistols aren’t my idea of easy, even with help. We continued the focus on legs with added lunges, front heel lifted, while pulsing the back leg. Yes, it is hard.
We returned to TRX chest pulls, with Jessie encouraging the class to move toward a horizontal position for more challenge. I watched as Natalie lowered herself, and decided to stay at a more-upright angle.
All TRX or barre exercises work your core, but Jessie added more. We did hip dips, using the straps to get into our obliques, then moved to the floor. We started on our back, heels hooked into the strap, to work our glutes and hamstrings, then slung the tops of our feet in the straps and flipped over for planks. After what felt like a very long forearm hold, we moved to hands, pulling knees into chest, over and over. If you haven’t challenged your core lately, these exercises will remind your trembling legs and abs. We also did some side-plank holds, legs still hooked into the TRX. Even Natalie, whose only feedback was to hold slightly longer for all the rounds, was ready for planks to end.
I know that barre makes me stronger, but if I am going to do it, I prefer it mixed in with TRX strengthening for more of a full-body workout. Combining the two approaches brought out the best in both in a way I can get behind.