There are a lot of suspension trainers on the market and the TRX is not your only choice. The TRX is, however, our favorite. It's superlight, no problem to set up, and stores easily in any gym bag.
1. Single-Leg Squat
Stick your right leg out in front of you with your knee fully extended and squat as low as you can on your right leg.
Drive through your heel to come back to the starting position, keeping your core muscles tight throughout the movement.
- Hold a TRX at 45 degrees (A).
- Place left foot flat on floor with right leg suspended and toes pointed up.
- Squat down on left leg, dropping slightly lower than 90 degrees (B).
- During squat, keep right leg straight at all times.
- Perform 20 reps, then switch legs.
The TRX serves mainly to help you keep your balance during the single-leg squat. Try not to pull too much on the handles to help you back up to the starting position—the movement should be initiated from the foot planted on the ground.
2. Back Row
All rowing exercises need to be initiated with your lats, not your arms. Think of a crane: Your arms just work as cables—the motor is located at your shoulder blades.
If these become too easy, progress the move by setting your feet farther forward.
- Hold handles at 45 degrees with feet slightly forward (A).
- Perform row squeezing shoulder blades together.
- Fully extend arms, then row back to the start. Repeat for 20 reps (B).
Perfect posture is a must on TRX rows. When you lean back, your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Keep your core muscles tight, and don't allow your back to round.
3. Suspended Crunches
These are not the crunches you've come to know and loathe.
Because your abs are working to support your body weight at rest (as well as to flex your spine), a set of suspended crunches packs twice the wallop of floor crunches.
- Assume pushup position with core tight and hips slightly elevated.
- Place both feet in each stirrup of the TRX approximately 18 inches off ground (A).
- Crunch knees to chest, contracting abs and keeping hips elevated (don't sag) (B).
- Extend legs and repeat for 25 reps.
Keep your elbows fully extended. This will keep extra stress off of your triceps.
4. Chest Press To Tricep Extension
Two moves become one for the perfect marriage of chest and triceps toning.
- Hold handles, palms down, at shoulder height.
- Place feet at shoulder width 45 degrees behind you (A).
- Perform chest press, extending arms (B).
- Bend elbows to 90 degrees, moving thumbs toward temples (C).
- Perform a tricep extension (D).
- Perform 12 reps of the chest and tricep combo.
5. Bicep Curl
Pumping iron isn't the only way to give your biceps the look you crave. Using a TRX and your body weight provides all the resistance you need for a shapely set of (mini) guns.
Keep the movement slow from start to finish to maintain the focus on your biceps.
- Face the TRX and grab handles with palms turned upward.
- Place feet in front, slightly forward, with the TRX at 45 degrees (A).
- Keeping elbows high at shoulder level, curl biceps until pinkies reach temples (B).
- Extend arms, tighten core and repeat for 15 reps.
6. Push-up To Pike
A test of pressing strength, core stability, and total-body coordination, the pushup to pike will help you tone your chest, triceps, and shoulders, and provides a unique training stimulus to your abs.
- Assume pushup position with both feet in TRX stirrups (A).
- Perform a pushup.
- Return to plank, then raise hips upward as high as possible, leaving legs straight (B).
- Return to plank and repeat for 15 reps.
If you're new to the TRX, don't hesitate to break this exercise into two moves. You can do a set of 15 TRX pushups, rest, then follow that up with a set of 15 pikes. Once you've mastered both moves, combine them as shown here.
7. Suspended Lunge
Nothing hammers your glutes and hamstrings like deep lunges. Placing your trail leg into the stirrups of a TRX ensures that you'll place all the stress on the front leg.
- Start standing facing away from the TRX approximately three feet (A).
- Place right leg in both stirrups, as shown.
- Bend left leg to 90 degrees (B).
- Return to standing position and repeat for 20 reps.