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TRX training helps Airman get back on track

By Jose T. Garza III | JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs | July 18, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND — For a 668th Alteration and Installation Squadron technical sergeant, running has always been in his family.

Tech Sgt. James Cummings' father and sister ran track so it was natural that he followed in their path.

The NCO in charge of engineering installation ran track in high school, and when he later joined the Air Force running was part of his training for the physical training test.

Last year, Cummings was informed of some news that would rock him.

During a doctor's visit to determine if he needed exemption from the running portion of the PT test due to lingering knee issues, the technical sergeant was told he could no longer run again.

"Being told that I would not be able to run again was very annoying and was discouraging," said the jovial Cummings who moved to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from Misawa Air Base, Japan in 2013. "I usually don't get depressed, but to be told I can't do something that I have always been able to do was depressing."

He was set on proving the doctor wrong.

Cummings went through six months of physical therapy that included beginners and advanced pool therapy to strengthen his knees.

The therapy helped relieve the stress from Cummings' knees, but it did not stabilize the muscles, he explained.

Working out at the Gateway Fitness Center one day, he discovered an alternative method that would provide him the proper rehabilitation he needed - TRX.

TRX training allows individuals to use their bodyweight while holding straps to perform various exercises that work their entire body.

"I was in the gym working out when I saw a display on the wall," said Cummings. "There are a lot of leg exercises that people can do with the straps. I talked to Mike White, (Gateway Fitness Center fitness trainer), and he said they do a TRX class every Tuesday and Thursday. I figured what the heck, what's the worst that can happen?"

What happened was Cummings found a comfortable way to exercise again, after some initial struggles.

Cummings said the straps gave him extra stability and made it easier for him to do leg exercises.

"I told my physical therapist that I was doing TRX on top of the other exercises that she gave me," the technical sergeant noted. "She told me that it's awesome and to stick with it."

Cummings has stuck with the training for seven months. He revealed that he is able to run again, but it has been a gradual process.

He said his upper and core body strength has also improved since doing TRX, adding that he was able to perform well in the pushups and situps portion of his last PT test.

"TRX has been awesome and on top of it being a full body workout, it has helped stabilize my knee and allowed me to run again," Cummings said. "Every time I do it, I get stronger.

"My core is so strong that I am able to drop down and do 40 to 50 pushups on my knuckles with one foot on the floor."

Cummings suggests TRX for any Airmen who are struggling with core body workouts.

"People would be amazed at the amount of stabilizing muscles they have after doing TRX training," he explained. "I was so sore the first few weeks of doing the exercise, but it was worth it."

The technical sergeant credits White for donating his time to help him with his rehabilitation.

"He is always there," Cummings said.

Being there for Cummings is just part of the job, White said.

"After some initial struggle, he showed improvement and that improvement motivated him to get better," the fitness trainer explained.

The Gateway Fitness Center offers TRX Training at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 671-2565 for more details.