September 21, 2021 9 min read
Have you ever noticed those long straps hanging from the ceiling in the gym or on your favorite fitness social accounts? It's time to talk about this versatile and highly efficient suspension trainer: TRX bands.
TRX bands are a unique piece of equipment that is sure to spice up your workout. Simple in design, these bands pack a powerful punch for cardio, strength, and mobility training. Let's break down how to use the TRX suspension trainer for a full-body power workout, with just nine moves in 30 minutes to target your lower body, upper body, and core.
TRX, or "total-body resistance exercise," bands are straps that hang from above to allow for suspension training.
Suspension training is working out with part of your body suspended above the ground, using both gravity and your body weight to help you build muscle and get stronger.
TRX bands have three parts: the suspension anchor, the straps, and the handles/foot cradles. You will find the suspension anchor at the top of the TRX bands, consisting of loops and carabiners and designed to attach to a point above where you are working out.
Below the anchor are the straps, each with adjustment tabs that allow you to choose the appropriate size for each exercise. The handles and foot cradles are at the bottoms of the TRX bands. Some exercises will require you to grab the handles, while others will require placing your feet in the foot cradles.
Randy Hetrick, a former Navy SEAL Squadron Commander, created TRX bands. In search of full-body workout equipment that could travel easily, he rigged up the first TRX bands with a jiu-jitsu belt secured over a door frame. Eventually, he developed this early version of TRX bands into a complete TRX system at his fitness club in San Francisco.
If you're going to trust anyone to develop a powerful workout tool, trust a former Navy SEAL. The TRX training system that Hetrick developed is now in many gyms and fitness clubs. As it grows in popularity, it is becoming more common in home gyms for people of all ages.
This study of TRX training in older adults found that TRX training greatly benefited their participants, highlighting the suspension trainer's value for people of all ages.
One common hesitation for beginners working with TRX bands is the misconception that they are challenging to set up. This suspension trainer is easy to install in your own home or on the go – All you need is an anchor point and flat ground.
If you're installing it permanently in your home gym, you can use the included equipment to anchor the TRX bands to your ceiling or at the top of a tall wall (approximately 7-9 feet high). Don't forget to find a stud!
If you are looking for something temporary, you can anchor the straps over any door by sliding the anchor over the top and closing it towards you. Your body weight will keep the door closed and allow you to use the suspension trainer.
Another great option is to wrap the TRX bands around sturdy structures in your home. Popular choices include exposed beams, railings, or your weight rack (as long as it's bolted down). Just be sure that whatever you choose can support your body weight.
Designed initially for the travel-friendly workout, TRX bands are easy to take with you and set up wherever you are. We've seen people wrap their TRX bands around anything and everything – from tree branches to swing sets to fences. As long as it is sturdy and has space for the bands to wrap around it, it is fair game for your TRX training.
One final note about setup - You want to ensure that you have enough space to complete your TRX exercises. You should have enough room to grip the TRX handles and walk backward until the straps pull tight – Around 7-8 feet away from the anchor point. You also want to have approximately 5-6 feet of width.
TRX bands provide you the opportunity to work your entire body, improving your cardio, strength, stability, and coordination. TRX suspension training can help both beginners and pros by building and toning muscle in full-body workouts.
The nature of TRX bands' reliance on your body weight ensures that the movements you complete with them are natural to your own body. We love this because it allows you to work on "functional fitness," meaning movements you use in your everyday life.
Check out our article on functional fitness to learn more about its benefits.
TRX Bands allow you to work on cardio, strength, stability, and coordination for your entire body. Depending on your focus for the day's workout, you can hit each of these areas without any additional equipment – No dumbbells required! Use quick-paced tempo moves to get your heart rate pumping or slow it down with controlled bodyweight exercises for a strength focus.
Not only do TRX bands allow for a variety of exercises, but they are also a great way to switch up a workout routine that is starting to feel stale.
One study in the National Library of Medicine showed that adding variety to your workout can make you more likely to continue working out in the future. Who needs a personal trainer to avoid the ever-dreaded plateau and gym-boredom? Instead, switch it up by trying something new with TRX bands.
As we mentioned earlier, TRX bands are incredibly travel-friendly. No more worrying about how you will get your workout in on your next trip or packing your dumbells into your suitcase. You can roll up your TRX bands and bring them with you wherever you go. It is like having a complete gym in your luggage – what can be better than that?
Okay, now that you're all set up and ready to work, let's cover a standard 30-minute TRX workout plan for a total body workout.
We will hit your entire body in this workout, so be sure not to skip the warm-up. Grab your water bottle, your Amped-AF Pre-Workout drink, and let's warm-up.
Your warm-up should include aerobic exercises to get your blood flowing and your body loosened up. Check out this article on dynamic stretching for a simple but effective warm-up routine.
We will start with three lower-body moves using our TRX bands. Let's work those legs and glutes!
Next up, let's hit that upper body to build up your chest, biceps, and triceps.
Note: The closer your feet are to your anchor point, the more difficult the low row. For a greater challenge, take a few steps closer.
We can't forget the core! It's time to shred those abs with some of the most popular TRX exercises.
Looking for more cardio?
Spice this one up by adding six mountain climbers in between each push-up. Perform mountain climbers by bringing your knees into your chest, alternating sides with each rep.
Wow, what a workout! Drink water to re-hydrate and grab a Hyperade to replenish yourself after this challenging 30-minute workout.
Now that you are a TRX pro, it's time to hit the gym and get that body working. Whether you are looking for a strength day, cardio, mobility training, or anything in between, the TRX suspension trainer will help you work smarter to get stronger.