Red Cross donates TRX equipment to Fort Polk's WTU
October 25, 2010
- System allows wounded Soldiers to increase strength
- System situated in company area, allowing for training in private
FORT POLK, La. -- The TRX equipment and exercise program is a suspension training system that uses body weight to achieve fitness goals. The system is starting to gain attention in the Army. Thanks to the American Red Cross, the newest workout equipment on Fort Polk will not be found at any gym. Rather, it can be found at the Warrior Transition Unit.
The Red Cross donated two TRX apparatuses to Fort Polk's WTU to help its Soldiers increase strength and continue performing physical training despite individual injuries and setbacks. The equipment was donated Oct. 19 when TRX trainers arrived at WTU to conduct a "train the trainer" course. Training on the uses and functions of the equipment is provided by the company as part of the purchased package. TRX trainers flew in from their headquarters in California to teach WTU Soldiers the proper use of the equipment.
The TRX systems were bought with grant money from the Red Cross's military hospital outreach program, a program that assists wounded warriors, according to Roxanne Stevens, station manager of the Fort Polk American Red Cross office. The importance of this equipment is "it's really versatile for all types of exercise," said Stevens.
The TRX equipment consists of a 20-foot metal frame, 12 TRX suspension cables and the one-day training course. "The system is portable and relies on the buddy-team concept, using their own body weight for less impact," explained Maj. Robert Rodock, WTU commander. He explained this equipment is ideal for WTU since it allows each Soldier to exercise and train according to individual strengths and capabilities. "The equipment caters to any injury - the user controls how much weight is put on the equipment since it's body weight based," said Tom Keane, military program manager for TRX. "The versatility is what makes it an excellent fit. There are so many types of injuries that this system can cater to any need."
TRX has been around for about five years and was originally designed for Soldiers to work out and train while deployed. Keane explained that the idea to use the system for injured Soldiers came after the Warrior Games last year when the trainers learned the Marine Corps team had trained on the TRX.
The Department of Defense Warrior Games is an annual event "celebrating the achievements and abilities of wounded, ill and injured service members through athletic competition." Upon learning that injured and disabled service members could more effectively train while using the TRX equipment, Dr. Joe Martin, sports chiropractor and head of the military education department at TRX, decided to do more research on how the equipment could cater to injured service members.
He spent time working with amputees at Balboa Park Naval Medical Center San Diego, Calif., to better learn how the equipment can assist in building core strength and helping the recovery process. The time spent with those patients translated into equipment that allows the user to "progress each exercise regardless of their individual fitness level," he said.
Keane, Martin and Brian Bettendorf, TRX exercise physiologist and head of sports medicine and rehabilitation, were on hand at the unveiling of the equipment Oct. 19 and remained on post until Oct. 21 to provide the training on the systems and assist the leadership of WTU in learning the ins and outs of the systems.
Maj. Christopher Cooper, chief of adaptive sports branch of Warrior Transition Command, was also on hand to observe the TRX training and how it's presented. Six other WTU units Army-wide have used the equipment with positive feedback; however, Fort Polk's TRX training was Cooper's first opportunity to observe the equipment and training.
Cooper said the TRX system will aid in the physical and mental strengthening of the Soldiers, and the feedback he's received so far has been positive.
Once the WTU leadership learns the system, they will teach other Soldiers in the unit how to use and benefit from it, relying on each other with the buddy system approach without having to go to a gym.
Keane explained that injured Soldiers often feel self-conscious working out at the gym due to their injuries. The TRX system is located in the WTU company area and will allow the Soldiers to conduct their PT in the privacy of their unit.
The TRX has many positive attributes, from mobility to variety said Keane. Most importantly, Soldiers can continue to train and regain strength. "With the TRX, they can get back to feeling like Soldiers."