Firm up every inch of your body with these do-anywhere TRX exercises.
If there’s one understated, super-sculpting exercise tool we’d carry around for the rest of our lives, it’s the TRX.
These suspension trainers are so handy for getting in any kind of workout you want – whether you wish to blast fat, sculpt muscles or strengthen your core. In a nutshell, they give you the benefits of strength training without needing you to lift heavy weights or tackle big machines. Plus, they are insanely easy to set up.
At home, all you need is to make sure there’s a reasonable amount of space to move, that the ground is flat and non-slip, and you have a door that opens away from you. (You can buy TRX suspension trainers here.)
In the gym, you can probably find the TRX suspension trainer hanging from a beam or pull-up bar. If not, ask a trainer to mount it for you.
Once that’s done, get ready for a ton of fun. First, learn about the crazy amount of exercises you can do. Then, challenge yourself with them – the moves aren’t as easy as they look. They require a fair bit of core strength and stability.
Sara May, a fitness trainer from Triplefit explains: “When we work out using a TRX system, the anti-gravity makes our body unstable, forcing us to engage our core muscles to ensure we have the right balance and technique. Even if you’re working on your arms and legs, you are consistently engaging your core muscles.”
For a better idea of the TRX benefits, try this total-body workout designed by Sara. It involves eight exercises – each targeting different muscle groups – to sculpt your body from every angle.
Unlike most calorie-torching workouts which emphasise speed and power, this TRX plan is all about slow and deliberate movements. “The slower and more controlled the manner you do the exercises, the greater your core contraction,” says Sara. And that means sexier abs.
So while this workout won’t leave you huffing and puffing, your muscles (especially the core) will go through a prolonged burn – the kind that carves nice muscles and fries stubborn fat. Trust us, you’ll want to do it over and over again.
(Watch this video for two bonus TRX exercises!)
The plan: Do the exercises in a slow and controlled manner, resting 20 seconds between each rep and set.
Estimated workout time: 30 minutes
1. TRX Squat
Targeted muscles: Quads
Strap length: Medium[A] Stand facing the TRX with feet hip-width apart. Hold handles in front of chest, elbows bent 90 degrees and palms facing each other. Lean back slightly. [B] Lower body as though you’re sitting on a chair, knees bent 90 degrees. Keep weight on arms and heels. Straighten knees and return to standing position.
2. TRX Row
Targeted muscles: Upper back
Strap length: Medium[A] Stand facing the TRX with feet hip-width apart. Hold handles as you straighten arms in front of you, palms facing down. Body is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. [B] Bend elbows as you turn palms to face each other, pulling torso up until your body is aligned from shoulders to knees. You should feel your upper back muscles contract. Extend arms to starting position.
Make it harder: Lower body closer to the ground before you start.
3. TRX Backward Lunge
Targeted muscles: Quads, glutes and hamstrings
Strap length: Medium[A] Stand facing the TRX and hold handles in front of chest, palms facing each other. Step right leg back to start. [B] Lower body until right knee almost touches ground, then straighten back up. Step right leg forward. Switch sides to complete rep.
4. TRX Bicep Curl
Targeted muscles: Biceps
Strap length: Short[A] Stand facing the TRX with feet hip-width apart. Hold handles in front of you, palms facing up. Body is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. [B] Bend elbows 90 degrees as you pull yourself forward, handles in front of face. Extend arms, then bend elbows to return to starting position.
Make it harder: Lower body closer to the ground.
5. TRX Sit-Up
Targeted muscles: Front abdominals
Strap length: Long[A] Sit facing the TRX and rest one heel in each cradle. Extend legs in front of you and lie down. Extend arms overhead as you engage abs and prepare to sit up. [B] In one slow motion, sit up tall until body is bent 90 degrees. Lower body to floor, vertebrae by vertebrae.
Make it easier: Extend arms in front of you, parallel to thighs, as you do the sit-ups.
6. TRX Plank
Targeted muscles: Front abdominals, oblique and lumbar
Strap length: Long
Sit facing the TRX. Step one foot into the opposite handle (left foot into right handle), followed by the other foot, so that your legs are crossed. Turn your body around (uncross legs) and get into plank position, straightening legs behind you. Hands should be directly under shoulders and body should be in a straight line, parallel to the ground.
Holding time: 20 seconds
Make it easier: Rest one knee on the ground.
7. TRX Mountain Climbers
Targeted Muscles: Front abdominals, oblique and lumbar
Strap length: Long[A] Get into TRX Plank position to start. [B] In two slow counts, bring right knee towards chest. Straighten right leg behind in another two slow counts. Repeat on left side and alternate. Make sure hips do not sink.
Holding time: 20 seconds
Make it easier: Hold in plank on forearms.
Make it harder: Do the mountain climbers in push-up position.
8. TRX Chest Press
Targeted muscles: Chest, biceps and triceps
Strap length: Long[A] Stand facing away from the TRX with feet hip-width apart. Lean forward and hold handles in front of you, arms extended and palms facing the ground. [B] With body aligned from head to heels, shift weight to balls of feet, bend elbows and lower chest as far as you can go. Push up to return to starting position.
Make it easier: Step one leg forward.
Make it harder: Go closer to the ground.