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.

What Are TRX Bands?

TRX, or "total-body resistance exercise," bands are straps that hang from above to allow for suspension training.

TRX functional training equipment on grey background

 

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.

What Are the Different Parts of a TRX Band?

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.

Where Did TRX Bands Originate?

Randy Hetrick, a former Navy SEAL Squadron Commander, created TRX bands. In search of r 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.

How Do I Setup My TRX Bands?

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.

What Are the Benefits of Suspension Training with TRX Bands?

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.

TRX Bands Promote Functional Fitness

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 Offer Diverse Workouts

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.

TRX Bands Are Travel Friendly

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?

30-Minute Full-Body Power TRX Workout

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.

Warm-Up

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.

Lower Body: Squats, Lunges & Hamstring Pulls

We will start with three lower-body moves using our TRX bands. Let's work those legs and glutes!

Exercise #1: Squat (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Adjust the TRX straps to mid-length. Stand facing the anchor point and grip the TRX handles. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your elbows should be slightly bent.

  2. Lean back and lower down into a squat. Straighten your arms as you lower. Imagine that you are sitting down in a chair and aim to get your hamstrings parallel to the floor. You should feel this in your glutes.

  3. Stand and return to the starting position.

Exercise #2: Lateral to Curtsy Lunge (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps Per Side)

  1. Starting Position: Readjust your TRX straps so that they are back to full length. Stand facing the anchor point with your arms outstretched. Grip the handles with your palms facing the ground.
  2.  Lateral Lunge to the Left: Step your left foot out to the side, bending the left knee and putting your weight into your left hip. Be sure to keep your right leg straight while you do this.
  3. Curtsy Lunge: Without returning to the starting position, lift your left foot and bring it back behind your right leg on a diagonal, bending both knees as you do so. Its called a "curtsy lunge" for a reason - the name should help you visualize this one.
  4. Repeat: Bring your left foot back to the lateral lunge position from Step #2. Continue alternating between the two types of lunges for 10-12 reps.
  5. Now the right leg: Repeat on the right side.

Exercise #3: Hamstring Curl (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Keep your TRX bands at full length for this exercise. Lie on your back with your arms outstretched to create a "T" shape with your body. Your palms and back of your head should be flat on the floor. Place your heels in the bottom of the TRX foot cradles.
  2. Bend your knees to pull the TRX bands towards your body. Be sure to keep your shoulders flat on the ground while you pull in the straps. Make sure you feel the hamstring curl in the right place (your hamstrings!).  

Upper Body: TRX Chest Press, Low Row & Triceps Extension

Next up, let's hit that upper body to build up your chest, biceps, and triceps.

Exercise #4: TRX Chest Press (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Keep your TRX bands at full length, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and face away from the TRX bands. Grip the handles with your palms facing in towards you and straighten your arms out in front of you. Lean forward, putting your weight into the TRX bands.
  2. Lower your chest towards the TRX bands by bending your elbows. You should feel this one in your arms and chest, just like when doingother types of  chest presses. Keep your body in a straight line while you lower.
  3. Straighten your arms and push yourself back up into the starting position.

Exercise #5: Low Row (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Stand facing the TRX bands with your feet close together. Grip the handles and rotate your arms so that your palms are facing one another. Walk your feet forward and lean backward, putting your weight into your heels. Extend your arms in front of you. Your body should be making a diagonal line towards the floor.
  2. Bend your elbows and pull yourself up towards your hands. Be sure to keep your body stable while you pull, squeezing your shoulder blades together and engaging your core.
  3. Straighten your arms and lower back to your starting position.

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.

Exercise #6: Triceps Extension (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Stand facing away from the TRX bands with your feet hip-width apart. Grip the handles with palms facing out and raise your hands until they are level with your face. Lean forward, putting your weight on the TRX bands. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Extend your arms until they are straight, pushing the TRX bands forward.
  3. Bend your elbows to return to your starting position.

Core: Push-Ups, Alligators, & Pikes

We can't forget the core! It's time to shred those abs with some of the most popular TRX exercises.

Exercise #7: Push-Ups (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  1. Starting Position: Start in a full plank position, facing away from your TRX bands. Hook your feet into the foot cradles.
  2. Lower your body towards the floor, engaging your core to ensure that you do not sag towards the ground or push your booty up towards the ceiling.
  3. Straighten your arms to return to the start position.

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.

Exercise #8: Reverse Fly Alligators (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps Total)

  1. Starting Position: Stand facing your TRX bands. You can either keep your feet together or stagger them with one foot slightly forward. Grip the handles with your palms facing the floor. Lean backward until your body forms a diagonal with the floor. Pull the TRX bands tight.
  2.  Lift your right arm as you pull your left arm down (think: alligator mouth) and raise your torso. While you are lifting, rotate your torso to the right.
  3. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Exercise #9: Pike (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

Young athletic woman in sports clothing training legs with trx fitness straps in the gym

  1. Starting Position: Return to a full plank position with your arms fully extended and your weight on your palms. Face away from your TRX bands. Hook your feet into the foot cradles.
  2. Bring your feet in towards your chest while lifting yourself into a "downward dog" position.
  3. Extend your legs, bringing your feet back to a starting position.  

Cool-Down

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.


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