The What’s and How’s of TRX

Those black and yellow straps may look daunting, but fear not!  Here is an easy guide to help you approach TRX with confidence.  Total body workout at the end!

First, what is TRX?  TRX is a bodyweight suspension training system.  Using your own body weight as resistance, you can adjust the level of difficulty by standing either farther or closer to the suspension base (don’t worry, this will all make sense soon), making TRX an excellent workout option for both beginner and seasoned gym-goers.

Next, how do I do it?  First you will likely need to readjust the straps to suit your height.  Make sure the little tick marks around the top loop are even:


Next, either pull the straps up or down using the adjustment buckle so that the loops hit right around the middle of your calf, with the plastic handle hitting just at your knee.

Great!  You are ready to go!  Next how to hold the straps.  You want a firm grip around the middle rubber section, and you want to keep the straps taught at all times as you are going through the movements, which will cause you to engage your arm muscles and core throughout.  That also means you have to lean against the straps and trust them: don’t worry, nothing will come collapsing down.  The closer you are to the base of the straps, the more you load the straps with your own body weight.  The farther away you are, the less the load, and the movement becomes easier.  It is up to you to adjust and find a good spot that is both challenging, and achievable.

Lower Body

  1. Basic Squat: lean against the straps and squat back.  Holding on to TRX for stability allows you to achieve a nice low squat form without collapsing backwards.  You can add a jump to these too for more of a challenge.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.00.24 AM

2.  Lunge: Bring one knee up to your chest and then slide it back to that it barely touches the floor, and then return to center.

trx lunge

3. Pistol Squat:  With one leg extended out, squat with the other, and return to standing.

trx pistol squat

4. Side Step:  With your arms and core engaged, lean against the straps and take one wide step to the side and squat.  Return to center.

trx side squat

Upper Body

1. Rows.  Plant your feet, and keeping the straps tight, lean back with your arms extended.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull yourself up so that your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.  Return to start.


2.  Tricep Extensions: Spin around and keeping your head and neck in line with your tail bone, lean against the straps so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor, with your elbows bent – your hands should almost be touching your forehead.  Extend out, pushing yourself up.

trx_tricep extension

3. Chest Press.  Similar to a pushup, but a little more challenging because you are trying to stay in place.  With arms extended, a little wider than shoulder width apart, bend your elbows and lower your chest so that it grazes your thumbs, and press back up.

4. Chest Fly: Lean back with arms extended, and keeping arms straight, pull from your shoulder blades, pulling yourself up between the straps.  Return to start.

trx reverse fly

5. Reverse Chest Fly: Same as the fly, but facing the other way towards the floor.



  1. Tucks: For this exercise as well as all of the other core movements, its extremely important to keep your feet flexed in the straps, so that they don’t slip out.
    trx tucks
  2. Side Tucks: same a basic tuck, but this time swing both knees out to meet the outside of one elbow.
    trx side tuck
  3. Atomic Bomb Pushups: a combination between a pushup and a tuck.
    trx atomic bombs
  4. Pikes:  this requires a very tight, controlled core, and locked legs.
    trx pikes
  5. Bridge:  Flip around on your back, and lift up.
    trx bridge
  6. Bridge w/ Hamstring Curl:  For a challenge, while keeping butt lifted, straighten legs and return to start.
    trx bridge with hamstring curl 

Planning your TRX Workout:  Aim for timed sets, rather than reps, and opt for whole body routines.    Below is a simple one you can print and take with you to the gym.  Always remember to warm up with 5-10 minutes of cardio, and get a good stretch at the end.

TRX Workout

Happy TRX-ing!

Juliane, ACSM CEP


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