Returning from a lower extremity injury can be challenging both mentally and physically. Performing fundamental movements such as body weight squats or lunges often create feelings of anxiety or may be too advanced for the client/patient at that time. The suspension trainer can be used to teach the movement, reduce fear, unload the joint, and create a sense of progression for athletes or the active population. The first three exercises may be used in succession to challenge stability, strength, and mobility. Each exercise progressively gets easier, in terms of the muscle activation and stability required, allowing the patient/client to continue exercising as the lower extremity begins to fatigue. The suspension training is kept at the mid length position for all three exercises making the transition from one exercise to the next seamless. The final two exercises are for the advancing client requiring more strength and motor control. Depending on your goals for your client, you may perform these exercises for time or repetitions.
Here is a brief breakdown of the 5 exercises:
1. TRX Single Leg Squat
Begin with the suspension trainer in the mid length position facing the anchor point. Elbows should be under the shoulders and the stance leg should be centered to the anchor point. You may use the opposite heel on the ground for added support. Lower the hips down and back maintaining your weight over the stance leg with the chest up. Return by driving through the mid-foot and heel back to your starting position.
2. TRX Balance Lunge
Moving right into this exercise from the Single Leg Squat, maintain your weight on the original stance leg from the squat. Elbows will remain under your shoulders to start. Drive the opposite leg back lowering the knee towards the ground. The knee should hover above the ground without the foot touching. Maintaining your chest upright, drive through the mid foot and heel of the front leg returning to your standing position.
3. TRX Step Side Lunge
Continue to challenge the same leg from the previous two exercises. Begin with the elbows under the shoulders and feet together. Step to the side moving the same leg from the Single Leg Squat and Balance Lunge that was your stance leg. Lower the hips toward the ground keeping the opposite leg straight. Once at the bottom of the lateral lunge, push off the mid foot and heel to return to your standing position.
4. TRX Lunge
Begin with the suspension trainer at the mid calf position in single handle mode facing away from the anchor point. Be sure the suspended foot is centered to the anchor point with your shoulders over your hips. For added stability, place both arms directly in front overlapping while providing an isometric contraction to engage the core. Drive the suspended knee back lowering your hips until the front knee is at 90 degrees. Pushing off the front foot, drive through the mid foot and heel as you extend the hip.
5. TRX Abducted Lunge
Maintain the same foot in the suspension trainer and turn to face sideways to your anchor point. Again for stability, create tension through the torso by extending the arms in front with an isometric contraction. Drive suspended leg to the side and lower the hips until the front knee reaches 90 degrees. Pushing through the mid foot and heel of the stance leg, return to your starting position.
About Dr. Jennifer Reiner
Dr. Jennifer Reiner is the chiropractor for Water and Sports Physical Therapy providing sports rehabilitation services Todd Durkin’s facility, Fitness Quest 10. She is also a TRX Sports Medicine instructor. Dr. Jenn obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Florida and went on to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic West. As a member of the Palmer West Sports Council, Dr. Reiner focused her studies on sports injuries and rehabilitation. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
She spent five years as the official chiropractor for the University of California San Diego, providing care to a variety of sports including swimming, soccer, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and basketball. She is certified in Graston Technique as well as Active Release Technique (ART). Dr. Reiner also holds certifications in FMS (Functional Movement Screen), SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment), TRX suspension training, and K-laser therapy.
For more tips and videos, follow Dr. Reiner on Twitter @drjreiner or facebook.com/drjreiner.