the best TRX exercises

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 About TRX

The TRX delivers a killer strength and cardio workout while also working your core! Here's how to use the TRX, the best TRX exercises to try, and a complete circuit workout for you! | #trx #trxexercises #trxworkout

-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 would you need to change them? To make the straps shorter or longer, you’ll pinch the metal attachment and 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.

How to adjust your TRX

-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. 


The Best TRX Exercises

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, then 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. 

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. 

TRX Workout

Here’s a circuit for you that uses many of the above moves:

TRX circuit workout - get a killer strength and cardio workout that also works your core! | #trxworkout #trx #trxhowto

Let me know if you give it a try!

Are you a fan of the TRX? What’s your favorite exercise??



Focus On: TRX

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  1. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on November 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    It took me a long time to take the leap and buy myself a TRX, but I love it. It travels well and it is just so versatile. I love it for squats and rows. I think it is also great as a training tool to build strength.

  2. kimberly on November 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    The first time my trainer said we were going to use the trx machine I said, “What you mean that swing set that looks like it came out of 50 shades of gray?” But now I love it lol

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      heh hehhhh

  3. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on November 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I adore TRX! I would use it for my workouts all the time at my gym back home, but there aren’t any here at college. I love how versatile it is!
    My favorite exercises are probably split squats and pike on the TRX. Burns in the best way.

  4. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on November 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Love this! I took my first TRX class a couple months ago at the official TRX Training Center here in San Francisco, and I loved the versatility of the piece. It was a circuit class with a pyramid set-up, consisting of cardio and resistance. I’ve since used TRX a few more times and taken another class at a different studio. My favorite TRX move I love to hate is the single-leg pistol squat. TRX is definitely a great way to get in shape, and like you said, you can make it as hard as you want. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on November 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I want a TRX (or to just try one) so bad!

  6. Anne @ on November 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    I know that the TRX is SUCH as great strength workout and I really really, really, have always wanted to try it at the gym.
    I am rarely intimidated by things at the gym, but not knowing how to use the TRX for some reason intimidates me, so I love this! I can’t wait to look up some Youtube videos and give it a try!

  7. Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run on November 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    your arms are smokin’, girl!

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      wow, thank you!

  8. Carrie (This Fit Chick) on November 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    this is great! I’ve actually never really tried or experimented with TRX, but the class is always a huge hit.

  9. Linda @ the Fitty on November 3, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I LOVE the TRX but I only see it at the gym. Man, I don’t have a good place to hang it at home anyway, but it’s one of my favourite gym equipment ever.

  10. Amanda @ Slimplify Life on November 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I tried the Plank move at a BodyTek class the other week and it was a tragic tragic scene for all those around me. You make it look easy!

  11. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on November 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve never tried TRX but funny enough I recently started doing strength exercises with resistance bands and placing them over the cable machine then performing the squat moves you highlighted above. I’ve been liking it & it challenges me in a new way. Maybe I need to give TRX a whirl?

  12. Britt@MyOwnBalance on November 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    TRX is so challenging. I won a squat jump contest once a few years ago using the TRX bands. I was pretty excited because I beat out a few guys! 🙂

  13. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on November 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I love the TRX! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Steph on November 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Is TRX low impact? My feet and knees need to be babied.

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      yes, i would just skip the plyo moves!

  15. Kay on November 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I want to try this so badly. But I’m such a total klutz, and when I watch people do TRX, they look so graceful.

    Do you recommend classes for them, or on your own?

  16. Heather @ fit mama real food on November 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    TRX mountain climbers are no joke!

  17. Mila on November 4, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Gina – I LOVE the outfit details at the bottom!! keep it coming 🙂

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm


  18. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on November 4, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I love this Gina, and the photos you’ve got in this post are amazing! You look super strong! My favourite TRX move is the split squat because it challenges me ALL the time. Like you said, one of the great things about TRX is that you can make it as easy or difficult as you need to. I think I might just do this workout tomorrow!

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      let me know if you give it a try!! 🙂 xoxo

  19. Brittany on November 4, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I love using TRX for core work — just did some pikes yesterday!

  20. Julie @ A Better Life with Burgers on November 4, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Ahh awesome post! Thanks for sharing your tips. I’ve never used TRX and I really feel like it’s something my husband and I might enjoy. I have seen people use it outside–but what about in a house/apartment? I’ll have to look that up. With the winter weather (er, darkness, this is CA after all), we want a few options for workouts indoors!

  21. Andrea on November 4, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I love using TRX, especially for core work! 🙂
    Just wanted to let you know you’re missing some text “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, “… 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      failllll to meeeee. i wanted to think of a good way to explain it, and then just forgot about it haha.
      hope you have a great day too!

  22. Tricia @ A Couple of Dashes on November 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I love the TRX but they don’t have them available for non personal training clients at my gym. Are these available for purchase not through a gym? I never thought about putting one in a tree!

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      yes, you can get them on amazon or make one!

      • Tricia on November 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

        Good to know! Thanks!

    • Sasha M on March 2, 2015 at 3:35 am

      Yes, I just purchased mine (a home-use model) at
      and I love it!! They also have sturdier ones for gym use etc.,

  23. Jenni on November 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve always been interested in trying out the TRX – thanks for your sample workout for it. Do you think it’s good to pair with yoga or calisthenic workouts?

    • Fitnessista on November 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      both! i just wouldn’t do it on consecutive days

  24. Lucie@FitSwissChick on November 5, 2014 at 12:54 am

    I have my own TRX and it always travels with me. I had the most kickass and beautiful view-workouts at different beaches!!
    OMG, single leg burpee sounds like killer, I never tried that one. I love exercises for the hamstrings (laying on your back, heels in the straps and bend/straight legs).

  25. Lauren L. @ Newest Obsession on November 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    LOVE the TRX! I am going to do this workout at the gym with my husband tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  26. MJ on February 20, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Oh my…. One minute of mountain climbers & push-up/pikes….that’s tough!!

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