The TRX suspension training system has burst its way onto the scene, and odds are if you have a gym membership, you have seen the TRX straps somewhere inside your facility. The TRX is an excellent tool for exercise, whether you are just getting back into exercise or are a seasoned veteran at your gym. In this article, I’ll give you some tips and ideas on how to utilize this popular piece of equipment.
The reason the TRX suspension training system has been gaining so much attention and popularity is its versatility and varying degrees of difficulty. Put simply, you are lifting your bodyweight, and YOU control the difficulty. To DECREASE the difficulty of many of these exercises that I am about to give you, simply move your feet away from the anchor point (where the TRX is attached). To INCREASE the difficulty, you simply walk your feet further towards, or under, the anchor point. Gravity plays a big role in resistance with the TRX, and you’ll feel it when you get started. Lets go over some
Basic TRX exercises that you must incorporate in your next workout
Three TRX Exercises for Beginner Lifters
TRX Assisted Squat
Adjust the handles of the TRX so that they are at the mid-point of the strap (pull tabs near the clamp of the handle allow you to adjust the handles towards the anchor point). Position yourself facing the anchor point, so that your arms create a 90 degree angle at the elbows. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, and eyes looking straight ahead. To begin the exercise, think about pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you, and squat down in a controlled motion until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Don’t let your knees go out in front of your toes, as this puts extra stress on the knees, which we want to avoid! To stand back up, imagine that you are trying to rip the floor in half with your feet, this will keep your knees from caving in (knee valgus), which creates extra stress at the hip and knee. Stand up completely, and repeat. Do this for 3 sets of 12-15 reps, with 45 to 60 seconds rest between each set.
This exercise will engage all of the muscles in your lower body, as well as muscles in your core. Try to put as little weight as possible through the handles and control most of the weight with your legs.
The handles of the TRX should be at mid-point for this exercise (same spot as for squats). Position yourself so that you are facing the anchor point, and move your feet towards the anchor point so that you are leaning away from it. You may have to do a few practice reps to find the right foot placement. Start with your arms fully extended and body leaned away from the anchor point, with your palms facing each other. Pull your body towards the anchor point in a controlled tempo, driving your elbows back behind you and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to the start position, repeat. Do this for 3 sets of 12-15 reps, with 45 to 60 seconds of rest between each set.
This exercise will work to strengthen the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and arms.
To perform the TRX Plank, you’ll need to move the handles of the TRX straps to their full length, so that they are about 12” off of the floor. Sit on your butt, and put the arch of your foot (middle of your shoe) into the soft part of the handle. To make sure you don’t get the straps twisted, put your LEFT foot into the RIGHT handle, then cross your right leg over your left leg and put your RIGHT foot into the LEFT handle. This way when you roll over to your stomach, your feet and the straps will be in the correct position (NOTE: when you turn over to your stomach, the soft part of the handle will rotate around your foot so that it is touching the top of your foot. You can hold the plank in one of two positions, either resting on your forearms or in a push-up position. Hold the plank for 45-60 seconds, keeping your body in a straight line from shoulder to ankle, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat. Do this for 3 rounds
Three TRX Exercises for Advanced Lifters
TRX Pistol Squat
The TRX Pistol Squat is a unilateral, or single leg, variation of the TRX Squat. Single leg exercises require more balance and stability than a standard squat, which increase the difficulty level. Take the same set-up you would use for the TRX Squat, and then lift one leg off of the ground. As you drop down into the squat, push the heel of your foot that is off of the ground towards the wall ahead of you and keep that leg fully extended. Drop down to parallel, stand up, and repeat. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg, resting for 60 seconds between each set (one set includes 8-10 reps on EACH LEG).
TRX Single Arm Row
The TRX Single Arm Row is, you guessed it, another unilateral variation of the Row listed above. To perform this exercise, take the same set up you would with the TRX Row, except hold both handles, or put into single handle mode, as shown here . Keeping your shoulders square to the anchor point, drive your elbow back behind you, and lower back to the start position. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps with each arm (one set includes 8-10 reps with EACH ARM).
TRX Knee Tucks
Use the same set up as the TRX Plank, except instead of holding the plank, you are going to pull your knees in towards your stomach. Contract your abs tightly when pulling your knees in to make sure you are using your abs and not just your hip flexors for this movement. Perform 3 sets of 10 slow, controlled reps. Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.
The TRX Suspension Training System is an excellent tool that you can use to add into your workout routine. If you split your training days up and do upper body one day and lower body the next day, use these exercises in accordance with your routine. You can perform the abdominal exercises at the end of all of your training sessions! Master these TRX moves, and I have no doubt in my mind you will be moving on to different variations and more challenging exercises!