Fitness Trail: Think about the exercise and posture


When choosing an exercise for your program, one of the most important components is determining the position of your body during the exercise.

For example, if you plan to train your pecs with dumbbells or a barbell, it is important that your body is positioned in space and time. This is due to the fact that in order to effectively work the pectoral muscles with free weights, you need to be against gravity. The chest muscles must be opposed to gravity (that is, the body position is on the back – the chest is facing the ceiling) in order to overload the muscle group. As a result, you cannot work the pecs effectively with free weights while standing, as it puts far more strain on the deltoids than on the pecs.

Now when you train with resistance tubes, the TRX Suspension System or the RIP Trainer, your body position will vary in relation to gravity. You can train the chest muscles very effectively while standing with a resistance tube, as the resistance tube “pulls” against you. In this case, however, the position of the body must point away from the anchor point of the hose, TRX suspension system, or RIP trainer in order for you to push the load away from the anchor point, effectively activating the chest muscles.

Below are four tips on how to determine how your posture needs to be to effectively train certain muscle groups. Ask your doctor before you start exercising.

number 1 – Determine the position of the muscle or muscle group. Is the muscle group anterior, posterior, lateral, or medial? Is the muscle group an upper or lower body muscle group? In the chest muscles example above, this is a front muscle group that is responsible for performing pressure movements. Think about how you would effectively push a load with your pecs.

No. 2 – When exercising the chest muscles, you must lie on your back when exercising with free weights, and facing away from the anchor points when exercising with resistance tubing, TRX suspension systems, RIP trainers, or cable / pulley systems.

No. 3 – When training with the TRX suspension system, body weight is the load that you shift. In the example of exercising the chest muscles, you would therefore look away from your anchor point and the closer the weight of your body is to the floor, the more challenges are placed on the chest muscles. When you are exercising the latissimus dorsi (i.e. the broad part of the back), you want to be facing your anchor point. The closer your position is to the ground, the more load will be placed on the lats.

Number 4 – Determine the correct and most effective line of pull for each exercise. If you think back to tip 3, the more direct the pull line is made, the more the muscle or muscle group is stressed, which creates more work. When trying to strengthen your lats and do an inverted row with the TRX suspension system, be sure to position your sternum just below the anchor point above you.

Jackie Wright is the owner / manager of Mountain Life Fitness in Granby. She can be reached at and by email at