Picture this: You’re hiking somewhere in the Southwest United States. There are plenty of mountains and tripping once could mean the end of your life.
It’s like something out of a movie, you fall off the edge of a cliff and you’re left hanging by your fingertips. Assuming you have the strength, you pull yourself up. If not, you take a free fall to your death.
Sounds like quite the hyperbole, but the TRX Suspension Trainer makes you better at functional training for these types of scenarios.
To get a better idea of why the TRX training system is so great, you need to understand functional training.
The Importance of Functional Training
Functional training can simply be defined as training to make you more capable of living everyday life. Having a functionally trained body is important. Keep my exaggerated hiking example in mind as you read this article; by the end, you will see the point I’m trying to make.
Training functionally is beneficial for preventing injuries, losing weight, gaining muscle, and keeping the heart healthy. The TRX Suspension Trainer is designed specifically for functional training. They also do a great job of explaining the importance of functional training on their website.
What You Can Do With The TRX Training System
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the possibilities are endless with this training system. TRX trainers are just as good for strength as they are for flexibility. Below I will cover a variety of exercises and stretches you can do with the TRX.
Before beginning, it is worth noting that the TRX straps can be adjusted to two different lengths. There is a long length and a medium length. You can make the TRX straps longer by pulling down on the adjustment clip that the straps run through. Similarly, you can make the straps shorter by pulling the adjustment strap upward.
Flexibility Movements With The TRX
The above photo is a poster from the company themselves. As you can see, there are a variety of flexibility movements you can do with the TRX training system.
Because TRX focuses on functional training, you can be assured that you can stretch out all the major muscle groups. Below I will personally walk you through a beginners flexibility routine with the TRX suspension trainer.
Beginners TRX Flexibility Routine
Stretch out the chest and shoulders – In my opinion the TRX is one of the best ways to stretch out this area of the body. Keep the straps at a long length and face away from the rack. Keep one leg in front of your body and the other behind, but make sure both feet stay planted. Position your arms as if you were doing a fly – chest-high and slightly bent at the elbows. Allow the tension in this position to stretch out the muscle fibers in your chest. To stretch the shoulders, simply drop your arms with a supinated grip and follow the same motion.
Upper Back Stretch – The TRX is also great for opening up the thoracic spine. This is a simple maneuver – adjust the straps to a medium-long length and grip both handles straight out in front of your body. Keep your arms and the straps taught. Take a few steps back and allow some weight to sink into your heels while pulling on the straps. Play around with the position of your feet, but you should feel a nice stretch in your upper back.
TRX Hip Hinge – So many people have tight hips and it holds you back more than you think. The TRX hip hinge is great because it loosens up your hip flexors and relieves stress in the lower back. You want to have the straps at a medium length. Simply grab both straps directly in front of your body at the height of your pelvis. Then, take a slightly staggered stance while keeping the TRX straps taught. While keeping your back flat, allow your hips to hinge, bending your body forward. You will feel a stretch in your hips, lower back, and hamstrings depending on your position. A hip hinge could also be performed in the same way with a neutral stance.
TRX Kneeling Quad Stretch – Ah yes, we cannot forget about the quads. Quads are often neglected in terms of stretching, but the TRX suspension trainer makes it easy. Adjust your TRX straps to a medium length and assume a kneeling position. Gripping both straps in front of you at chest height, fall back on your heels while keeping the straps tight. You will feel a crazy stretch in your quads, one so good that you’ll want to stretch them way more often.
Strength Building With The TRX Training System
Just like the flexibility movements, the above image is a poster from the company showing some of the various strength movements. In my opinion, the TRX training system is loads better for strength than it is for flexibility. There are plenty of exercises that can be done, some more advanced than others, but I will cover a few of my favorites below.
My Personal Favorite TRX Strength Exercises
TRX Chest Press – I love these because you can vary the intensity easily. To perform the chest press, keep your straps at a long length and face away from the system. Keeping your feet together, walk your body out until you’re in a plank position. The motion is similar to a push up – you keep the straps aligned with your shoulders and allow your chest to do the work. By walking your legs behind your body in this position you will intensity the exercise. You can lighten the load by taking a couple steps forward.
TRX Row – Similar to the chest press, you can vary the intensity in a simple manner with these. With the straps at a medium length, face the system and hold the straps taught at chest height. Allow yourself to fall back with your arms and the straps extended in the same position. You will now be in an ideal position to perform the TRX row. The intensity of this exercise can be increased by sliding your feet towards the system. Similarly, you can decrease the intensity by moving further back.
TRX Bicep Curl – Yes, believe it or not you can even do bicep curls with the TRX suspension trainer. Just as if you were doing the TRX row, face the system with the straps at a medium length. Again with a supinated grip (underhand) extend your arms a little bit higher than chest height. You may need to get closer to the system than you expect to perform these bicep curls. Remember to keep your elbows close to your body and allow your biceps to do the work. I find that it’s easier to do TRX curls when you put most of your body weight on your heels while standing at a slight angle.
TRX Ab Workout - Plenty of Exercises to Choose From
Although you may prefer to do abs on a yoga mat or hanging from a bar, you can certainly do them on a TRX trainer too. With six total sets split across two exercises, you can get a great ab workout in using the TRX.
TRX Mountain Climbers – Mountain climbers are a staple ab workout, and one that gets even better when you suspend your legs. Begin with your TRX straps at the longest length. Start on your butt facing the system and slip one foot into the loop hanging off the handle. With one foot locked into the loop, flip your body and proceed to get your other foot locked in. Using your arms to support you, you’re now in the perfect position to do mountain climbers as normal. Do these for 3 sets of 25 reps.
TRX Crunches – TRX crunches are self explanatory, but they offer a nice twist compared to normal crunches. Keep the straps at a long length and sit facing the system. Get your feet locked into the loops and then lie flat on your back. You want your body to be far enough back from the system so that your hips are off the ground. Refer to the poster above to see what I mean. Do these for 3 sets of 25 reps and your TRX ab workout will be complete.
Now That You Know What The TRX Offers... You're Probably Wondering About The Cost
I’m keen to suggest workout equipment that is great for home use and inexpensive (ex- these bowflex dumbbells). Without a doubt, the TRX suspension trainer falls under both of these categories. As long as you have the space and a solid mount, you cannot go wrong with purchasing this piece of equipment.
In terms of cost, there are a couple of options when looking at TRX models on amazon. There are three main models being marketed currently.
A Brief Description of Each TRX Model
TRX All-in-one: The TRX All-in-one appears to be a middle ground of the three models. At a price of $150, you are guaranteed a workout guide, indoor and outdoor anchors, and storage supplies. I would recommend this model if you feel like you would benefit from the workout guides. Additionally, this model is more durable than the TRX GO model which is mentioned below.
TRX GO: This is TRX’s cheapest and most lightweight model. I would recommend this model to anyone on a budget who would like to try out TRX. The great thing about the TRX GO is that it has the durability to be used both indoors and outdoors. At a price of $99 you cannot go wrong with trying this phenomenal training system out.
TRX PRO3: Lastly we have the TRX PRO3 which is the most expensive of the three models. For a price of $199 you get the best quality TRX trainer with 8 video workouts and an 8 week workout program. If you’re looking to get the full TRX experience, this model is the best choice for you.
Below I’ve put together a table that compares the three models with prices. The table also compares the quality of each TRX model. Keep in mind that only the TRX GO suspension trainer is of lesser quality. The two pricier models are of the same quality, the only difference is in the add-ons you get.
The TRX Go is the cheapest model. It is slightly less durable than the other two models, but it is just as good.
TRX All-In-One is my recommendation of the three models. It is very durable and comes with several add-ons.
The TRX PRO3 is comes with the most add-ons. You are getting the most durable model with workout guides and an 8 week program.
Conclusion: Is the TRX Suspension Trainer The Right Choice For You?
Although I may sound biased, I truly believe that anyone can benefit from owning a TRX trainer. Not only can you perform a variety of different exercises with this system, but you can greatly improve your flexibility as well.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the TRX represents the pinnacle of functional training. If you train your body functionally, you will be better equipped to take on everyday life.
I have personally had the pleasure of training with the TRX suspension trainer for the past 4 years. Not only has it helped me from a hypertrophy standpoint, but I have become a lot more flexible.
Perhaps the greatest thing about this piece of equipment is the price point. It won’t break your bank to buy one of these. The cheapest TRX model starts at $99, and it is well-worth the money.
You can mount the TRX in your home, at the park, or even at a friend’s house – that’s how versatile it is!
I encourage you to take the leap and get on the TRX train today. It is the perfect trainer whether you are trying to gain muscle or become more flexible.
Alternatives to the TRX Trainer - Suspension Trainers on a Budget
I highly suggest just saving $99 and purchasing the cheapest TRX models, but it’s worth noting that there are other suspension trainers on the market. A simple amazon search will yield a variety of suspension trainers that are slightly cheaper than the one highlighted in this article.
I’ve taken the time to list a couple good budget options below, but in my opinion the TRX beats all of them.