The TRX always freaked me out a little bit. For one, it kind of looks like a torture device. I remember the first time I saw one and was like, “I’m supposed to CLIMB that?” (A hint: you’re not. Haha.) Eventually, I got to know and love the TRX thanks to classes in Tucson and a workshop when I taught at the resort.
What I love and have learned about the TRX:
-It’s as challenging as you want to make it. Sometimes a quick stance adjustment (stepping forward or away from your base point) will alter the difficulty of the exercise. You’re bored in your chest press? Just take a step back and it instantly becomes more exciting. With any exercise equipment, start easier and increase your challenge from there.
-They don’t take up a lot of space, and they travel well. TRX is fantastic for outdoor workouts; just loop it over a tree branch (make sure it’s a sturdy one, k?) and you’re ready to go.
-How the heck do you make the straps shorter and longer? Why may you need to change them? To make the straps shorter or longer, you’ll pinch the metal attachment and you can slide the straps down or up. You can do almost any exercise with the strap fairly long. If they’re super short, you may need to lengthen them a bit. A good rule of thumb: if you’re facing the base point, you can use a shorter strap; if you’re in plank or facing away from the base point, make the strap a little bit longer.
-You can get in a killer strength and cardio workout with this single piece of equipment. Also, if you don’t want to buy one, it is possible to make your own at home.
I thought I’d share some of my all-time favorite TRX moves, especially since it can be a little intimidating until you work with it a bit.
Squat and reverse reach. For this one, you’ll face your base point, hold onto the TRX straps and step away until the straps are straight and arms are extended straight up at a diagonal. Keeping your chest lifted and core tight, sink your hips low into a squat. Exhale to stand from your squat, extending one arm back and back to start. Squat and reach to the opposite side as you rise.
Low single leg row. This exercise works your back, core, and challenges your balance. Facing the base point, you’ll hold onto the straps and walk your feet in front of you until your torso is at a 45 degree angle or parallel to the floor. Extend one leg and while keeping your legs and hip lifted, perform a row. Squeeze your elbows in towards your torso and extend your arms to release.
Mountain climbers. For TRX mountain climbers, you’ll come into a plank position and place your feet into the straps. Exhale to bring one knee towards your chest, inhale back to plank, exhale to switch. Make sure to keep your back flat, core tight, and your hands stacked directly under your shoulders.
Bicep curl. Facing the base point, grab the straps with an underhand grip, and step away from your base point, leaning back. As you lean back, keep a straight spine and core tight. Bend your elbows, and keep your elbows in line with your shoulders. As you extend your arms, make sure to keep your elbows lifted.
Split squat. You’ll step one foot into the strap, and turn away from the base point. Make sure to hop or step a few steps forward to give yourself a safe stance to sink down into a squat. (Think of this as lunging with your back leg in the strap.) Make sure as you sink down, you keep a tall posture and watch the front knee to make sure it doesn’t extend past your front toes.
Pendulum plank. You’ll come into a plank position with your feet in the straps. Keep a flat back, tight core, and stack your hands directly under your shoulders. As you exhale,
Single leg burpee. This is one of my all-time favorites. You’ll place one foot in the strap and face away from the base point. Extend your arms up overhead, and then reach down to touch the floor. Shoot both feet back behind you into a plank (with one foot in the strap and the other on the floor, or hovering in plank), place that foot back behind your hands to stand up.
Chest press. Face away from the base point and know that the angle impacts the difficulty of this move: if you step back, it will be more challenging. Keeping your shoulders down and core tight, bend the elbows out to a 90 degree angle and squeeze your chest to bring them back to center.
Pushup and knee tuck or pike. Place your feet in the straps and face away from the base point. Come into a plank position, stacking your hands under your shoulders and keeping your back in a straight line, with hips in line with your body. Perform a standard pushup, and as you rise, tuck your knees if towards your chest, or keeping legs straight, lift your hips into a pike position.
A circuit using many of the above moves:
Let me know if you give it a try!
Are you a fan of the TRX? What’s your favorite exercise??