Pro Tips

Expert Advice: Ex-Navy SEAL Stays Functional With TRX

TRX inventor Randy Hetrick says real growth lies outside your comfort zone.


THE MOST IMPORTANT evolution in training I have seen in my lifetime is happening now. Within the past five or six years, fitness has begun a migration toward functional movement. These are big, integrated, loaded movements that mirror or shape the actual activity you need to perform in sports—or in life. 

Being a part of TRX, I believe all of us who train should also be adding some sort of unilateral training to our routine. If you squat and deadlift, that’s totally fine. But now try to take one day out of your normal workout and perform some sort of analogous movements in a less stable, single-sided environment. Training one side at a time identifies imbalances and activates the stabilizers at a higher level. It also makes you strong as hell when you go back to bilateral mode.

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I began to shift to the strap in my 30s after I first began to experience injuries. Hey, I used to be a meathead. Before I hit my mid-30s, well, I thought I was immortal. Then, my lower back had become problematic from doing tons of deadlifts—in retrospect not with great form—and like any meathead, “the harder the better.” As a Navy SEAL, I got a shoulder injury from an underwater ship mission—I came off a ladder and ended up dangling by my left arm with about 90 pounds of gear on my back, swinging on the open seas in the middle of the night. I heard a pop sound. But I had to complete the training exercise and never got it checked.

The funny thing about guys who lift heavy weight is that a lot of them spend way too much time developing the big prime-mover muscles, while forgetting to focus on the stabilizer muscles. 

We’ve had many, many athletes who will look at the straps and say, “What’s this gonna do for me?” Ten minutes later they’ll say, “How did I live without this thing?” One good example is the big men in sports—an NFL offensive lineman who’s never tried a side plank with his feet in the straps. Generally speaking, it’s quite a shitshow. You can squat 600 pounds, press 400, push a sled across a football field, but you can’t hold yourself in a plank for 15 seconds? 

Remember: Your first day on TRX is your worst day on TRX. Each day after you will improve in a significant way. 


Hetrick, a judge on Sweat Inc., invented the TRX while deployed. Shop at