The Only Body TRX Workout You’ll Need
Whether you’re new to the gym or a seasoned vet, you’ve likely seen those colorful straps hanging around and wondered, “What in the world are those?” or “I know what they are but can I really get a great workout with them?” Well, you’re in luck, because we are about to answer both those questions.
The TRX Suspension Trainer (those straps) created by Navy SEAL squadron commander Randy Hetric, was kind of a happy accident. Randy unknowingly packed his jiu jitsu belt for a trip overseas and during a training exercise, he and his group were at a loss as to how to strengthen their climbing muscles. Randy tied a knot at the end of that belt, secured it over a door, lifted his body weight, and voila, born was a workout for the entire body using minimal equipment that’s easy to transport.
Suspension training exercises are better than other bodyweight exercises because they support a variety of back exercises that are difficult to do without equipment. And they add balance challenges that wake up every muscle—especially the core. Even better: most exercises on the TRX system are easily modifiable for all levels of fitness.
Now that you know what it is, what it targets, and why it provides awesome strength training, go ahead and give it a try! The total body workout below will get you started and ready to rock the straps. For the Overhead Raise, One Leg Wide Row, Fly, Curl, Modified French Press, and Side Bend, you can modify it and make things a little easier by moving your feet farther away from the wall or TRX anchor. To make these exercises more challenging, move your feet closer. For all exercises, remember to keep your core engaged to help maintain good form and avoid injury.
After you complete this TRX workout plan, you’ll have a new piece of equipment and eight new exercises in your fitness arsenal, not to mention lots of new information and skills you can show off when the next newbie drops in. Spread the TRX love!
TRX Full Body Workout
Reps: 15 | Circuits: 3 | Rest: 60 seconds between circuits
Foot Up Split Squat
This exercise targets the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and calves.
- Starting position: From a standing position place one of your feet into the foot cradles and your arms by your sides (or hands folded at your abdomen.)
- Drop your body down toward the floor, bending at your hips and knees and leaning your torso slightly forward.
- Push off your front foot to return to the start position.
- Keep a straight spine and your hips pointing out rather than down to protect your low back, allowing the load bearing leg to fire as much as possible.
- Complete two sets of 15. One on each side.
This exercise targets the arms, chest, shoulders and upper back.
Secure the straps to your feet by facing the straps while in a seated position. Pull the foot cradles over your feet, then roll to one side.
- Starting position: Place your hands on the floor in front of you and with your feet in the TRX handles behind you in a push-up position (or plank position) bend at the elbows and lower your chest to a hover, shoulder blades pointing toward the sky.
- Push up until your arms are straight, being mindful not to lock out your elbows. Lift hips in line with your shoulders.
- Complete 15 reps
- A quicker pace will increase your heart rate. Just be mindful of proper form
This exercise targets the shoulders and upper back and, bonus, it’s weightless but full of benefits.
- Starting position: Lean back on your heels facing the anchor point as you hold the handles with your arms fully extended. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground with equal weight on both sides, and your palms facing down.
- Pull the handles overhead with your arms straight and hands close together, keeping a straight spine and a tight core.
One Leg Wide Row
This move targets your chest, arms and core.
As you perform this exercise, if you have trouble with your balance, try and focus on something that is not moving, like the TRX anchor point. Keep your core tight and your elbows in on the ascent, and make the decent as slow and deliberate as the pull up.
- Starting position: Raise your right foot out in front of you and lean back, holding the handles with your arms fully extended, and your palms facing down.
- Pull your chest up to the handles, bending your elbows using your arms and core strength
- Complete 15 reps on both sides, finishing the right side before switching to the left.
This exercise targets your upper body and core.
Time to isolate those pecs and get a stronger chest. The level of difficulty on this exercise depends on how parallel you are to the floor, so choose your adventure! With a neutral spine, neck, and pelvis, a tight core and a flexed chest, let’s get to it.
- Starting position: Lean your body forward with your hands in the handles and equal weight on both sides. Lift the straps to shoulder height with your legs straight. (Your shoulders, hips and feet should be in a straight line.)
- Pull the handles together in front until they meet in front of your chest.
- Inhale as you open your arms and exhale as you close.
- Keep your arms straight throughout. (If you bend your elbows it becomes a TRX chest press.)
This exercise targets your upper body, biceps and forearms.
The bicep curl starts with a properly positioned lower body. Face the anchor point as you lean back keep those glutes, legs, and core tight, and, as always, a neutral spine, with your chin pointed up, neck straight and pelvis curled forward.
- Starting position: Lean back holding the handles with your arms fully extended, feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground, and your palms facing up. (Your body from head to feet should form a straight line.)
- Pull your body up to the handles, bending your elbows and curling your hands toward your shoulders. (The last part of this move is important. Raising your hands up makes it a bicep curl. Keeping them at chest height, makes it a row.)
Modified French Press
This is the kneeling version of the standing tricep workout. It targets your triceps, upper body, and you’ll feel it in your core if you’re doing it right!
- Starting position: From your knees, position your forearms and palms parallel to the ground
- Lean your body forward and bend at the elbows, keeping your shoulders as stationary as possible to allow your triceps to do the work.
- Straighten your arms as you lift back up, keeping your core tight.
- Be mindful not to bend at the waist on the descent or your triceps will not fire.
This exercise was made for the TRX system. It targets your lats, obliques, and side hip muscles so rarely offered a chance to work against gravity in this way, plus it improves core stability. Inhale on the lean and exhale on the pull.
- Starting position: Holding the TRX handles overhead, lean to the right side (away from the anchor point) with your arms straight. This mimics a side plank position.
- Drop your hips to the right, beyond your right knee, keeping your head framed between your arms.
- Pull your body back up to the starting side plank position.
- Complete all reps on the right side before you switch sides to the left.
Tips for your best TRX Workout
Use this valuable information to 10X your TRX full-body workout results.
- Make sure to change the length of TRX straps to best fit your intended movements.
- The further away you stand from the anchor point, the easier the movement will be. However, the closer you move underneath the straps, the harder you’ll have to work!
- TRX workouts are comprised of seven basics movements. That’s it! Once you know them, you know TRX and can build your workout from there.
- The ease of TRX workouts is that if you have gravity, you have resistance (and you always have gravity.)
- Because they improve mobility, flexibility, endurance, core power, and heart strength, TRX workouts are no joke!
- You’re using your body weight so it’s always your workout. It doesn’t get any more personalized than TRX.
- Always keep equal tension in the straps.
- Start correctly. Proper positioning will set you up for success.
- Stop if your midsection starts to sag or your lower back begins to hurt.
- No slacking. If the straps aren’t taught, you won’t be either.
- If you’re feeling fatigued, try modifying rather than stopping an exercise. Sometimes you simply need to adjust.
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