By: Nick Petrucci
10 Benefits of the T-REX Weight Harness
The T-REX weight harness was inspired to effectively reduce lower back stress during resistance training. Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems and is frequently a site of injury during weight lifting. Orienting the load on the T-REX more posterior or behind the body decreases the moment arm to the lower back in comparison to traditional methods such as barbell, trap bar, dumbbell, or kettlebell lifting which decreases the torque stress to the lower back.
The torque stress and counter force is opposite when comparing the T-REX to traditional weightlifting. Most traditional methods such as a barbell squat or deadlift movement forces a flexion torque moment forward trunk lean. The T-REX forces an extension torque moment backward trunk lean. Since the torque stress is opposite so are the counter forces. A barbell squat or deadlift movement facilitates an extension counter force backward trunk lean which demands more back muscle engagement, which can lead to lower back tightness, discomfort or pain. The T-REX facilitates a flexion counter force forward trunk lean (hip hinge) which demands more core muscle engagement, creating trunk stability.
The lifters who are most efficient in technique during lifts like barbell squat or deadlift more often do not have back pain. Learning proper lifting mechanics and breathing/abdominal bracing technique is hugely important when increasing loads. Since the counter force movement does not naturally facilitate core engagement during the barbell lifts it takes a conscious deliberate effort to ensure proper abdominal bracing during the lift for optimal tension. Using a belt can help provide feedback to facilitate this tension. Core engagement occurs more naturally when performing a hip hinge movement with the T-REX to overcome the force of the posterior load. Optimal pressure and stability is maintained by keeping a big breathe in during descent and ascent utilizing the diaphragm muscle.
The athletic position is seen in many sports, occupations, and life. Visualize a linebacker about to make a tackle, a soldier bending over to put someone over their back to carry them, or loading the legs preparing for a vertical jump. Again since the load is more behind while using the T-REX the counter force promotes a forward trunk lean hinging at the hip. There are other ways to promote a hip hinge such as deadlift variations with a barbell, trap bar, dumbbells, or kettlebells. The T-REX allows one to work the hip hinge movement without increased torque stress on the lower back.
Since the T-REX facilitates a hip hinge counter force and forward trunk lean there is increased demand on the hip musculature “glutes”. The benefits of learning to coordinate the glutes during double leg and especially single leg loaded movements is paramount to maintaining stability. Start with double leg movement and progress to single leg movements appropriately. Efficient timing coordination of the glutes decreases demand from other muscle groups like the quads and back muscles which can reduce knee and lower back stress.
The T-REX challenges a different balance, again compared to traditional methods. Barbells, trap bars, dumbbells, and kettlebells force you to your forefoot, the T-REX forces you to your heels, therefore there are opposite counter balances. Traditional methods force a counter balance from the forefoot to heel and the T-REX forces a counter balance from heel to forefoot. Most all “free” weight methods of training force you to compensate through your heels. Should we train and challenge multiple planes and directions of balance? The T-REX offers a solution that promotes a compensation from heels to forefoot. Contact sports require this type of balance compensation being able to overcome a force that takes you to your heels. Two football lineman engaging require optimal balance through the mid to forefoot for stability to produce optimal force output into the opposing player.
The design of the T-REX allows one to perform a variety of free weight movements. Some of these movements include lunge variations, loaded carries (even surfaces, uneven surfaces, hills, stairs, sand, etc.), hip hinge movements (double limb, single limb), step ups, plyometric jumps, deceleration, rotational movements, and agilities. The T-REX is built durable to allow loading from 15 kg (33 lb), the weight of the T-REX, up to a recommended 227 kg (500 lb) max load (when mounted to a standard olympic barbell supported by a durable power rack).
The T-REX can be trained with in multiple settings ranging from the weight room, an outdoor field, stairs at a stadium, stairs within a stairwell, hills, trails, beaches, sport training sites, your home garage, and more. The T-REX weight harness system has its own portable rack that easily assembles/disassembles (the T-REX can also be racked on any standard barbell supported by a durable power rack found in many gyms). It also has its own cart that transports the T-REX, portable rack, and standard barbell weights or bumper plates. The whole system fits conveniently in most any vehicle to utilize T-REX training almost anywhere. It can also be racked on any standard barbell supported by a durable power rack found in many gyms.
The T-REX has six high dense foam pads to disperse pressure throughout the back and shoulders evenly for maximal comfort. The pads are configured so that the T-REX fits most users ranging from adolescent and beyond. It is adjustable with a quick release locking pin mechanism that accommodates a variety of torso lengths to provide efficient mechanics during training.
The T-REX is so comfortable it can be used for prolonged periods that can include various movements/exercises in one long set. Maintaining tension over a longer period of time or performing intervals can be a great way to not only train stability and strength, but also cardiovascular conditioning endurance training. Whether it is an alpine skier training for downhill, a military soldier training to tolerate a heavy rucksack for increased periods, a firefighter training to be able to carry tanks and high rise packs up stairwells, preseason football training, or a CrossFitter, the T-REX is an incredible way to simulate these tasks and workouts.
Author, Nick Petrucci, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and former elite athlete inspired to help others optimize human performance and reduce potential of injury.