TRX training is a steadily growing phenomenon in the fitness industry, and nowadays you can find a set of those trademark straps hanging from most gyms. The relative low-cost of a set of TRX straps and the extreme versatility of their use even allow for the at-home workout crowd to get a good full body routine tucked into a busy workday. However, there are still tons of people out there who steer clear of these easy to use implements, mostly due to a lack of understanding of how this fitness tool can be safely used and the potential benefits of performing TRX exercises. To start off, the whole concept of TRX training as a fitness system needs to be explained.
TRX training, born from the US military, was initially developed out of extra straps and paracord to allow for elite soldiers to exercise during their deployment. By using their body weight and altered angles of suspension as means of resistance for complex full-body exercise routines, they found that a full gym experience could be achieved with only 5 pounds of gear.
The best part of their new exercise system was that nearly all of the exercises that the founders could come up with utilized core strength and stability on top of whatever muscle groups were being trained. Countless exercise techniques have been developed for use with TRX straps, all of which are modifiable, and almost all of them incorporate a full-body exercise concept. Here are probably five of the best TRX exercises that can be supplemented into your current exercise routine or completed as a circuit on their own. Also check out “Must do next” TRX training exercisesRELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Best TRX exercises list
I am a huge fan of squats; barbell squats, body squats, Zercher squats… squats all day. Squats happen to be one of the greatest exercises you could ever put yourself through and can own this claim due to the fact that they develop powerful hips and a strong core. However, no squat is as beneficial as the TRX Squat. Performed with the straps set at medium length, the TRX Squat allows for an athlete to hone in their squat form and range of motion (ROM) while also incorporating their pectoral girdle for stability and support. This particular exercise is perhaps one of the absolute easiest to perfect, and is also quite possibly the easiest to modify on the fly. If full ROM squats are too easy with the straps, try performing isometric holds at varying depths. Plyometric jumps can also be added in between squats to add even heightened intensity, or squats can be combined into one smooth composite motion, called a TRX Squat Row. Any way you do them, TRX Squats will kick your butt and give you a good addition to a previous routine involving those hips and the core.
TRX Forward Lunge
This exercise is a common staple of any good TRX exercise routine, and is achieved through stepping into a lunge position away from the strap anchor point. When stepping out into the lunge, your hands should swing out, or fly, to form either the shape of a “T”, “Y”, or “I”. The same basic rules that would apply to normal free-standing lunges apply to these; keep your front knee from over-flexing past your ankle, and keep those hips and the core tight during your reps. The benefits to performing these forward lunges via TRX rather than without is through the advanced involvement of the core and pectoral girdle during each lunge rep. Unbalanced load is created down the front of the body when that single leg is brought forward into the lunge, forcing the upper body to take on more of a balance and motor control responsibility. The key to doing this exercise right is to focus on good clean technique, after that intensity can be modified by adding more load to the upper body or by increasing the speed of which the reps are performed. Due to this exercise using your hips and chest musculature, the TRX Forward Lunge is perfect as a between-set recovery exercise or as a key component to a high intensity circuit routine.
No exercise has a greater influence on your chest, arms, and core than the good o’ fashioned push-up. However, performing that good o’ fashioned push-up whilst dangling from a pair of TRX straps takes that easy to accomplish exercise and takes it to the next level. Proper set-up of the strap lengths for this exercise is at a mid-calf setting, and ideally you want to be in a perfectly flat push-up plank before starting. It is imperative that your spine does not sag while in the suspended plank position, so have a spotter help guide your posture and save your back some aching. The TRX Push-Up is significantly harder due to one key difference between it and your standard push-up; you’re no longer supported by fixed feet. This lack of balance greatly increases muscular involvement of the shoulder, back, hip flexors, and abdominals. Fun ways to modify this is to perform an Atomic Push-Up (essentially a TRX Push-Up coupled with a Knee Tuck), or to “walk” backward on your hands into a decline push-up if your TRX mount allows you to. These are great additions to a killer abs work out or as a means to finish off a brutal upper body day.
TRX Crossing Lunge (Curtsy Lunge)
If you’re looking to improve hip mobility, power, and balance… this is your one stop shop. Essentially a reverse lunge that crosses behind the forward stationary leg, the TRX Crossing Lunge taxes almost all of the leg musculature. The inner thighs and lower legs get tricked into keeping balance, and all of the hip and lower leg extensors get but through a decent strength workout. Like every other TRX exercise, this one also gives your body a fairly decent amount of core work and stability training through the controlling of each descending motion. This exercise can easily be modified by increasing the range of each step over in order to increase the amount of reach that your torso has to compensate for, or by bounding across into each curtsy position (this turns the exercise into a plyometric “Skater” exercise). Any way you perform this movement will help strengthen your hips, core, and upper back making this technique a perfect addition to an all-body work out or to that circuit routine you already have.
Last, but not least, the TRX Row… THE absolute easiest TRX exercise to sneak in any exercise regimen. This technique is simple; grab on to the straps facing your anchor point, walk your feet toward the anchor, hang back into a plank position by your handles, perform rows. This technique is also the easiest to modify, and regardless of how strong you are… it can give you a lot of work if you increase your hanging angle. Combine this exercise routine in a circuit with TRX Push-Ups or TRX Chest Press, and you’ll give your upper body the work out it’s been wanting for a while. A good aspect of performing your rows with TRX is the fact that it allows your back musculature to naturally retract and rotate your shoulder blade backward. While performing your TRX Rows, keep your butt tight and your abs and back muscles activated in order to cleanly hinge at your feet during each rep.
Challenge yourself to complete as many as you can at varying angles of load, and remember than you can play with that intensity level in order to give your rhomboids, latissimus, trapezius, and deltoids extra punishment. TRX training has exploded into a world-wide fitness phenomenon, and with its ease of use and numerous exercise techniques, it’s no wonder that TRX has become one of every fitness buff’s favorite exercise tools. This list of five techniques is by far not the end-all of what TRX has to offer, and many trainers and group fitness instructors add their own personal flavor to some of these easy to perform techniques. So the next time you go your local gym to get your lift on, try some of these exercises and ask your local fitness professionals for their own take and preferences… you might find that you’ll spend more time on the straps than you used to on the weights!
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