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TRX Rip Trainer Review

by Racer X Virtual Trainer

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If you are a regular follower of this website, you should know by now, I fully endorse the TRX Suspension trainer from Fitness Anywhere as an invaluable tool for motocross training. I recommend it to every level rider from the top pro to the weekend warrior wanna-be who thinks he rides but never actually does. While I don't believe it is the be-all or end-all piece of training equipment (I don't happen to think one exists), I do believe it is one of the best all around pieces of equipment ever made......Period! But what about the new TRX Rip Trainer?


The three planes of movement

First Some Basic Physics
In our day-to-day life, we function in an fairly stable, 3D environment. The ground is stable, the chair is stable, etc. The same is not true however when we ride our motorcycle. Only in sports is the ground reaction force against an unstable substrate. Our bodies move in and are subjected to forces in all three planes of movement. The three planes are:

  1. Sagittal Plane – divides the body into left and right halves.
    Exercise/movement example – bench press, crunch, Forward or backward lunge, running, standing and sitting on the bike in motocross.
  2. Frontal Plane – divides the body into front and back halves.
    Exercise/movement example – lateral lunge, standing side bend, shoulder lateral raise, leaning a bike in a turn in motocross
  3. Transverse Plane – divides the body into top and bottom halves.
    Exercise/movement example – standing shoulder external rotation, cable rotation, swinging a baseball bat, anytime the upper and lower body is twisting on a motorcycle.

The combination of one, two, or even all three planes of movement are possible within a given movement while riding a motorcycle. The rider not only experiences movement in all three planes but also various forces. Some forces are symmetric while others are asymmetric in nature. Asymmetric forces try to twist and force the rider off the bike while symmetric forces like a g-force make it difficult for a rider to sit or stand. Riding is extremely dynamic and the loads experienced are typically not singular but a combination of both symmetric and asymmetric forces. A rider's muscles contract and relax as they react to external forces. The core muscles, however are used in an isometric contraction to stabilize the rider and maintain balance primarily in the transverse plane. Essentially, most movement in sports, not just motocross, takes place when the lower body is planted and the core has to stabilize and adjust to a different area. In motocross the core has to stabilize to resist movement in the sagittal plane (upper body moving forward and backward), the frontal plane (upper body rocking side-to-side) and transverse (upper body twisting relative to the lower). And most of the time in motocross, all three planes of motion are happening at the same time.


The bending movement of the upper body relative to the fixed lower body happens in the frontal plane. Lifting the left leg in a turn happens in the sagittal plane.

The Problem With Traditional Training
The problem with traditional movements in the gym is that they typically isolate a certain plane of motion. Most exercises are sagittal and frontal dominant with very few transverse movements. And certainly there are very few traditional exercises that are multi-planar. Exercise machines make it even worse by doing everything possible to limit movement to one particular plane. Even when the machines are temporarily neglected and, for example, a dumbbell is selected, the planes that the dumbbell exercises are often biased toward still remain sagittal and frontal. This training approach has brainwashed the average gym member into thinking that all exercises should be performed in strict planes of movement. This is where functional training comes in to play and particularly the Rip Trainer.

Traditionally, most multi-plane training has occurred with various forms of cable chops utilizing different handles in standing, kneeling and half kneeling position. The TRX Rip Trainer aims to introduce a new method and more importantly can be used just about anywhere sans the need for a gym. And again, if you follow the site, you know I am a huge proponent of training without the need for a gym.

TRX Rip Trainer: What Does It Do?
Okay, I stole this next paragraph from the TRX site, but really I don't know how to say it any better.

"Originally created to meet the needs of combat sport athletes and physical therapists the Rip Trainer provides a unique mix of rotational resistance, core stability, and coordination training. Its innovative lever bar and resistance cord system creates a variable, asymmetric load, ideal for training balance, explosive power, or adding a high-intensity metabolic challenge to your workouts. The Rip Trainer is scalable to all levels of fitness, easily portable and can be used virtually anywhere by attaching it to any secure anchor point.​"

If all of the above mumbo jumbo has you confused, click on the video below and I think what I am trying to say will become obvious.

TRX Rip Trainer Review: What Do I Think?
What I immediately noticed about the TRX Rip Trainer, is that it’s one of the best ways to workout the core for motocross. In fact, the Rip Trainer is a core strengthening specialist and is perfect for just about every movement experienced on the bike. Why is it so good? Because it provides resistance to rotational exercises and also adds an imbalanced factor to traditional exercises like the squat and lunge. The device is not only a core strengthening tool but also improves local muscular endurance in the core which is probably more useful in most sports vs. actual increases in absolute strength. I use it for sure but like the TRX Suspension trainer, it's not the only thing I do. I think the TRX Rip Trainer shines when it comes to off-balance core training but I don't like it for more traditional movements that occur in the sagittal plane like the bench press, arm curl, or squat. If I am going to do those exercises, I prefer the more traditional route of dumbbells and barbells.

The squat/press combo is a great example of how the Rip Trainer applies an asymmetric loading, forcing engagement of the core in an isometric contraction during the squat to prevent from falling over. The Rip Trainer is literally trying to pull you backwards while doing the squat. This forces you to isometrically engage the core just like while riding.

The Rip Trainer allows for a whole new set of workouts that you just cannot get at the gym or get with any other piece of equipment. You can actually perform exercises that mimic race time situations. Whether you play Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey or even Mix Martial Arts, the TRX Rip Trainer can help strengthen your form because it allows you to workout just like you would during the game or race.

Hits:

  • Easy setup
  • Learning curve on equipment use is fast. Almost immediate
  • Superior Isometric core training
  • Multi-Joint and multi-plane training
  • Easily incorporated into existing programs
  • Excellent tool for Motocross and other Action Sports training
  • TRX website support/community is great for new ideas on Rip Trainer use

Misses:

  • If you are looking for a do-all piece of training equipment, I don't think this is it
  • The DVD that comes with the Rip trainer is far below TRX standards. Toss it but there are others.
  • Not as compact as the TRX Suspension trainer

Good Workouts for Motocross

Rip™ Training: Metabolic Conditioning Workout

4-Minute TRX Rip Trainer Tabatas Workout

TRX Suspension and Rip Trainer Combos

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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