Randy Hetrick, a US Navy SEAL, came up with the TRX® System because he was trying to find a great workout that he could do anywhere while on deployment. When something is developed by a Navy SEAL, you know it’s for the best of the best. That’s the promise of TRX, and it doesn’t disappoint.
What Is TRX?
TRX, or Total Resistance exercise, is a type of Suspension Training® that uses hanging straps and your own bodyweight to get in a total-body workout. What sets suspension training apart from other simple hanging exercises is the addition of foot cradles.
TRX Suspension Trainers® leverage your body weight to build strength, balance, and flexibility, engaging your core with each move. With your hands or feet in the straps you can perform a nearly endless range of exercises, from squats, to pushups, to hamstring curls.
If you want a more challenging TRX workout, all you have to do is adjust the angle of your body and the height of the handles or foot cradles. Imagine doing pushups. With your feet on the floor, they’re supporting some of your bodyweight. If you elevate your feet, your arms are supporting more weight. The higher you raise your feet, the more weight your arms are supporting. It’s the same for every exercise you do with TRX — it’s all about the angle!
Another one of the advantages of TRX is that it can be used anywhere there’s a solid enough anchor point. You can use anything from a pull up bar to a large tree branch. The system also comes with a doorframe anchor. Be sure you choose an anchor point that’s high enough for the exercises you plan to do. Sometimes a doorframe or basement ceiling is too low to accommodate the full range of TRX exercises. Your best bet is to find a TRX-equipped fitness center to work out in, where professionals have already set up the equipment for you.
When you’re using suspension trainers, make sure that the straps are always taut – slack can be dangerous especially when you’re supporting more of your weight on one side than the other. Similarly, make sure that the straps aren’t rubbing against your anchor point, each other, or a part of your body. That friction causes wear and tear to the straps that could lead them to break.
Engage ALL Your Muscles
Many exercise machines target one major muscle or muscle group. That’s great for bulking up specific muscles, but for an all-around workout, you need to activate your stabilizing muscles, too. These groups of muscles contribute to your overall strength and let you translate your gains in the gym to everyday tasks such as picking up and carrying heavy items.
Because the TRX system doesn’t restrict your range of movement, you have to use every muscle in your body to make the equipment work for you. What’s more, because of the instability of the straps, you’ll have to keep your core engaged to maintain the right form while you’re doing your reps.
If You Enjoy Yoga, You’ll Love TRX.
There are many similarities between TRX exercises and yoga. For example, yoga relies on the tensing and holding of muscles without moving them. While that’s a great way to tone muscles and build strength, it doesn’t increase overall muscle mass.
TRX on the other hand, enables you to move your joints through a full range of motion against the resistance of your body weight. Moving your joints and lengthening and contracting your muscles helps build both strength and tone, while doing more to build mass than yoga alone. Many yogis use the TRX system in addition to their yoga practice.
Three TRX Exercises to Get Started
Here are three great introductory exercises. Remember, you can choose how hard you want your workout to be by changing the height of the straps and the angle of your body. As a rule, you can adjust the difficulty of TRX workouts by changing where your body is in relation to the base of the straps. Think of it like a fulcrum on a lever. You’ll find the exercises easier when your body is closer to the vertical position because you’re supporting less of your own body weight. Conversely, the exercises get harder when your body is more parallel to the floor. If you’re doing an exercise with your feet in the cradles, the opposite is true.
A classic exercise to work your chest and triceps. Adjust the straps so that they’re about arms-length from the floor. Starting on your back, work on of your feet into the cradle. Next, roll over onto your side and place your other foot in the other cradle. Be sure you can support yourself with one foot before you try this.
Now, start in plank position with your palms on the ground and your feet in the TRX cradles. Your arms should be aligned under your shoulders.
Keeping your arms close to your torso, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor until your hands are even with your chest.
Push up to starting position and repeat.
The row works your back and biceps. Adjust the straps so that they’re about shoulder height. Position yourself under the TRX straps and hold the handles, keeping your body in a straight line, arms extended. Start from a standing position and lean back with your body angled at about 45 degrees to the floor. You can lean back farther to increase the difficulty.
Draw your shoulders back, and raise your body, bringing the handles to your chest.
Relax your arms to lower yourself back to the start position, and repeat.
Jump squats work your quads and glutes. This exercise can be done on its own, but using the TRX helps provide support and stability. Adjust the straps so that they’re about shoulder height. Stand with your back straight, arms extended, and palms facing each other while holding the TRX handles.
Keeping your knees facing forward and in line with your hips, squat. Make sure you are placing your weight in your heels.
Jump, keeping your back and arms straight.
Land softly and repeat.
You can check out these moves and more like them in our 20-Minute TRX Workout blog.
Ready to Try TRX for Yourself?
The TRX system is easy to use, but the best way to get the most out of the system is to work with a professional. Especially if you haven’t built up your core strength yet, it’s important to learn the basics of TRX. Schedule a session with a personal trainer or book a group exercise class today, and start taking advantage of this military-grade workout.
You’ll see TRX straps hanging from the ceiling of the fourth-floor fitness center in our Upper East Side campus.