Ask an Expert: Chris Frankel
You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Chris Frankel, the head of human performance at TRX, about functional fitness.
Why were you drawn to work for TRX?
CF: I was introduced to TRX when working with a professional golfer on the PGA Tour. I noticed that the TRX Suspension Trainer was a great tool for focusing on movement quality. Then, I discovered that TRX places a high value on education and evidence-based training. It combines all the things I value: research, practical application, professional education and results-oriented gear.
As the head of human performance for TRX, what’s your favorite part of the job?
CF: One of my favorite things is getting the opportunity to travel around the world to work with some of the best coaches, trainers, sports scientists and athletes in the industry. I learn and share with the best in the business and then bring these concepts and best practices back to the training and education team at TRX. We keep TRX education current and compelling by continually introducing new information from the greater fitness market. One of my colleagues at the University of New Mexico once told me, “Education is, and will always be, the cutting-edge advantage in the industry.” I couldn’t agree more.
Why are the TRX Suspension Trainers and functional fitness tools so effective for functional training?
CF: At TRX, we’ve developed training and coaching systems to connect the dots between bodyweight training and different modalities (e.g. kettlebells, conditioning ropes, etc.). We have spent the better part of the last seven years developing a training philosophy and methodology around movement. The TRX Suspension Trainer is a uniquely effective training tool, as it gives immediate feedback on movement quality and helps a coach quickly identify strengths/weaknesses. As movement competency is developed with bodyweight on the TRX Suspension Trainer, we then change the training conditions with kettlebells, conditioning ropes, slam balls, med balls, etc. In addition to the TRX Suspension Trainer, we believe these functional training tools maximize results.
Why is functional training and access to functional training tools and programming so important for members? Do you think most health clubs should offer functional training tools to their membership?
CF: With the continued explosion of HIIT workouts and programs, having access to functional training tools and smart programming is a “need to have” for every club who wants to stay relevant and meet members’ needs. Nevertheless, I can’t over-emphasize the importance of education in this equation. There’s a domino effect: great education leads to great programming, which drives amazing member experiences on the equipment, ultimately leading to higher retention and engagement.
Why is functional training important to you, personally?
CF: To me, functional training is the act of addressing components of fitness and skills that are “transferable” to sports, recreation and daily life. For me, it is critical for continuing to live a rewarding life at home and in the workplace.