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Fit For Malibu: Suspension training: a workout that won’t leave you hanging

Lori Corbin, Contributing Columnist
9:37 am PDT March 15, 2017

Like food or fashion, the fitness industry is always on the hunt for the next big thing, and there’s been quite a few trends that proved runway winners.

The Reebok Step gave way to the BOSU. By 2000, kettlebells joined spinning as the “it” work out. Suspension workouts arrived around 2004, with the “swing and strength” format evolving from yoga hammocks and silks to bungee cords. Today’s top functional fitness tool is the bright yellow and black TRX (total resistance exercise).

“We want people to move better and mobility is one of the pieces that is commonly missed,” said TRX master trainer Frasier Quelch at a recent IDEA Fit convention in Los Angeles.

Developed by Navy Seal Randy Hetrick, the TRX is now considered the gold standard in suspension training. Studies showing the TRX engages more core muscles, burns more calories and builds more strength than exercising without it.

The TRX “fitness anywhere” motto is just that. Throw it over a tree limb, basketball pole or hotel room door, and you’ve got a portable gym at your fingertips.

In-home Malibu trainer Justin Boetel feels it can ramp up a workout or help those new to exercise.

“You can use it as a high performance tool,” Boetel said. “You can adopt your body weight to various angles to make it as hard or as easy as you want.”

Diamond’s Malibu Gym plans group exercise classes featuring the TRX this summer once the construction dust settles.

“I have two trainers who use them in their personal training sessions right now,” said Diamond, the Malibu Gym owner.

If you are looking to give TRX a try, Malibu Fitness is your best bet. Owner Lonnie Galate offers five classes a week in a feisty interval training workout that incorporates 15 TRXs and a host of fitness toys: resistance bands, battle ropes, the jump box and more.

Newbies might want to show up on Wednesday mornings when Galate, also a TRX instructor, offers a 30-minute introduction class.

“Using your own body weight, it incorporates core muscles while boosting strength, flexibility, cardio and balance,” Galate said.

And let’s be clear. Yes, you can certainly use one without instruction, but that has its drawbacks.

Unfamiliar movement at various angles and skill level can be risky. TRX offers certifications, and it never hurts to ask if your trainer has one. With an impressive educational arm to their program, TRX now specializes in yoga flow, seniors, children, rehab and athletes.

If you’re looking to try anti-gravity or hanging yoga, you’ll have to travel south to Studio K in the Palisades. Their adult yoga class uses hammocks that assist participants in everything from their warrior pose to headstands. Plus, cocooning in the hammock at cool down is a treat.

If you can handle the drive, there’s sling training with the bungee 4D Pro.

Created by a German trauma surgeon, this apparatus has been snapped up by Crunch Gyms in West Hollywood and Burbank for their Adrenaline Rush workout. Icanix Fitness in Simi Valley has them, too. I’m told these clubs are the first to bring this tool to America.

In a 4D Pro session, it’s not uncommon to bounce through 100 pushups in an hour, along with leaps, jumps, jacks — all assisted by this bungee. Beyond the bonus of added strength, this tool puts the fun back in fitness.

Fit For Malibu is a new monthly column by Malibu resident Lori Corbin, who has been the food and fitness coach for KABC-TV for 18 years. Questions can be directed to