TRX Suspension Trainer

TRX Serratus Slide

serratus anteriorThe serratus anterior is an extremely important muscle that helps control normal shoulder and scapular function by protracting and upwardly rotating the scapula. In addition, the serratus assists in stabilizing the scapula against the rib cage, preventing scapular winging. These are all critical functions of the serratus that help prevent shoulder impingement.

Because the serratus is so important in functional arm movements, exercises to strengthen and enhance neuromuscular control of the serratus should be incorporate into many training and rehabilitation programs, especially in those with shoulder dysfunction.

While traditional protraction exercises have been effective in strengthening the serratus, recent research has identified that serratus activity is increased when combining both protraction and upward rotation of the scapula (Ekstrom et al JOSPT 2003). This movement helps train the serratus in a functional pattern that combines the muscle’s several important roles in scapular mobility.

Based on this research, I began using a dynamic jab exercise as baseline exercises for basic training and rehabilitation of the serratus (Reinold et al JOSPT 2009).  I discussed this and other techniques in training the serratus in my webinar that you receive free for signing up for my newsletter, so check that out if you haven’t already.

However, this exercise is quickly mastered and further challenge is often required. Incorporating a closed kinetic chain position and unstable surface training will require a greater degree of dynamic stability of the scapula and promote neuromuscular control. Thus, I began incorporating the TRX Suspension Trainer to further advance the exercise.

The TRX Serratus Slide

The TRX Suspension Trainer is an excellent method of performing the Serratus Slide movement that challenges both the strength and stabilizing functions of the serratus muscle. Furthermore, the amount of challenge can quickly be adjusted by modifying the angle of the exercise.

TRX Suspension Trainer Serratus Slide

I really have found a bunch of great uses for the TRX Suspension Trainer, and this is just one example.  I am going to keep sharing some of the exercises that I incorporate the TRX straps.

Also, I just recently got my hands on the new TRX Rip Trainer, this thing is pretty cool, I have started to use this a lot in my programs, specifically for some of the exercises in my Functional Stability Training system, they work great for enhancing core stability.

8 replies
  1. James Sieveke
    James Sieveke says:

    Similar to the HUG exercises that has shown increased recruitment of serratus. The TRX does provide a more unstable environment to progress to. Thanks Mike for bringing this back to our attention.

  2. Lewis Benedict, PT, DPT
    Lewis Benedict, PT, DPT says:

    Love the exercise, research, and rationale. Just wondered if you’re familiar with the Jungle Gym XT from Lifeline Fitness/Monkey Bar Gym. It uses a two strap suspension that can be put together to work as TRX does, but can also be moved wider to work different angles or better comfort to decrease rubbing on the straps.

    Feel free to email me if you would like to know more about it. I’ve found it to be much more versatile and at less than half the price, patients can afford to purchase it for use at home.

    Thanks for all your contributions to physical therapy – I’m often concerned that we are pretty late adapters and suspension training is one area I am anxious to see developed further in practice.

  3. Braedan@PhysioSurrey
    [email protected] says:

    It’s not unlike using a Swiss ball with a roll out to do the same thing, but I imagine that the TRX would give you better dosage of exercise intensity, as well as a freer plane of motion.

    Good use of TRX.

  4. Satyajit
    Satyajit says:

    hi mike,

    does it bear any resemblance to plank exercise that we generally prescribe for rec abdominis for core stabilization.

    Satyajit, MSPT

  5. Aaron
    Aaron says:

    Thanks for the tip. I recently received a client that has scapular winging and was doing basic scapula protraction and retraction but I think ill give this a shot.

    Thanks Mike!

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