TRX: improve your swimming performance by training like a Navy Seal!

Training & Technique
Written by: Manuele Trezzi at 17 July '15 0
You are reading: TRX: improve your swimming performance by training like a Navy Seal!

“TRX” stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise: total body exercises  using your own bodyweight for suspension training.

But where does this piece of equipment come from? It was designed by a soldier from the Navy Seals in the United States, who started to use the ropes of his own parachute because he had no other way of training and ended up inventing the very first TRX in history.

Nowadays a TRX is not made of parachute ropes but rather two handles into which you slide your hands or feet connected to nylon straps that can be attached anyway in complete safety. The first big plus of a TRX is that it can be used absolutely anywhere: attached to a door in your home, a tree in the park or wall bars at the gym…. So literally anywhere!

You can easily add power to your swim stroke using a TRX, strengthening all the muscles used in the water: you can easily train your chest, back, shoulders and legs through plenty of conventional exercises (press-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges…..) using a TRX thanks to its versatility. But that is not all, your body will always be in an unbalanced position during any type of exercise; this means  you will use and,  therefore automatically train, the so-called “stabiliser” muscles that help you keep your balance. In other words, all those abdominal and lumbar muscles (the famous CORE section of your body) that are so important for keeping your body in the right position while swimming.

As we have already mentioned, it can be used anywhere and is an extremely versatile piece of equipment, which are two major benefits. But we still have not talked about the best thing of all about a TRX, i.e. it is not one of those exclusive objects only for top-class athletes. Quite the contrary! You can decide how difficult to make each individual exercise: the greater the angle at which you perform the exercise, the more tiring it will be.






Try 4-5 sets of at least 15 and at most 20 press-ups at an angle of approximately 45° to where the straps are attached, with 1’ recovery between sets. If at the end of the first set you feel as if you could have completed 5/10 more press-ups, then try to perform the second set at an angle of 55°-60°; if, on the other hand, you are exhausted at the end of the first set, then reduce the angle to approximately 30° for the second set. Bearing in mind that you will be fresher at the start of training, you can begin with a slightly more demanding angle and then gradually reduce it according to your perceived exertion. Make sure you keep your body in the right position without arching your back or bending it inwards. Your ultimate goal might be to do press-ups with your arms almost parallel to the floor.



Another special feature of a TRX is that it can be used for functional training or, in other words, exercises involving specific movements for a certain sport or activity. One highly specific exercise for swimming is called the “swimmer pull”, which, as the name itself suggests, is designed to simulate the arm action of a swim stroke, training all the muscles involved in this particular movement.

Stand in front of the point where the straps are attached and hold them with your arms almost completely relaxed. Place one leg in front of the other for greater stability and then incline your body to an angle of at least 30° (as before, the greater the angle, the more difficult it will be). Then use the strength in your arms and shoulders to move your body up and down thereby simulating the arm action involved in a swim stroke. Try 5 sets of 10 reps with 1’ recovery or, alternatively, train for a set period of time performing 5 sets of 30”.

Summing up, you now know you can train wherever, whenever, however long and anyway you like using a TRX!


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Written by:

Manuele Trezzi

A top-class swimmer who still competes, he has taken part in and reached the finals of Italian championships, as well as winning lots of regional titles. A FIN swimming instructor and trainer, FIT fitness trainer for tennis, and a graduate in the Motor Sciences from Milan State University, he has been working all these fields since the beginning of 2013.