trxgirl
corbis

Tired of the same old gym routine? Perhaps, it’s time to introduce some variety with a challenging new piece of equipment: the TRX.

You’ve probably walked into the gym before and noticed those bright yellow straps hanging from the ceiling or stationary machine. Whether you have no idea what they’re for or have dabbled with them a bit, it’s time to put them to good use!

U.S. Navy Seal, Randy Hetrick, originally developed the TRX Suspension Training System. While deployed, Hetrick needed a way to stay fit, so he built the first TRX using a jujitsu belt and parachute webbing. This later developed into the TRX system we know today, found in gyms across 60 plus countries and used by elite professional athletes like NFL quarterback Drew Brees.

But what makes the TRX system so great?

Suspension training, as one might infer, involves suspending certain body parts above the ground and relying on your bodyweight and gravity for added resistance.

Movements can be modified to make the TRX suitable for all levels, from the complete gym newbie to the professional athlete. Since you’ll rely on balance for many of these movements, you’ll need to stabilize your core and engage multiple muscle groups, making it great for full-body training.

Yet, perhaps the biggest benefit is its portability.

The TRX can be used practically anywhere. It’s lightweight, making it the perfect piece of equipment for the frequent traveler or for anybody who wants a challenging at-home workout. All you need is a sturdy place to anchor the straps (think a door frame, weight machine, balcony etc.) and you’ll be set!

Inverted Row

invertedrow
corbis

Works: Back, Biceps

Face toward the handles (palms facing in) and walk feet forward until body is parallel to the floor and arms are extended straight in front of you (walk feet back up to make this movement easier). Bend at the elbows and pull your chest up to the handles. Keep elbows close to the body and back flat. Slowly lower yourself back to starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Suspended Lunge

Works: Quads, Glutes, Abs

Face away from handles and place right foot in both straps. Firmly anchor left foot in front of your body as if you were performing a traditional lunge. Make sure everything (shoulders, hips, knees are pointed forward). Lower down into a lunge, extending right foot behind you. Your left knee should not extend past the toe (if it does, walk this leg forward a bit).  Push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat for desired number of reps before switching to the other leg.

Chest Press

TRXchestpress

Works: Chest, Arms

Face away from anchor point and grasp handles using an overhand grip and shoulder-width stance. Extend arms straight out in front at shoulder level. Lean your body forward so you’re diagonal to the floor (walk feet forward to make this less challenging) and bend elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor. Keep elbows up and push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.

Standing Fallout

Works: Chest, Shoulders, Abs

Get into the same starting position as you would for the chest press. As you lower your chest toward the floor, raise your arms straight up above you, until your arms are in line with your ears. Keeping the arms and back straight, return to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Knee Tucks

Works: Abs

Face away from handles placing feet in each of the straps, top of foot facing down. With feet suspended over the floor raise yourself onto your elbows in a plank position (shoulders should be stacked over elbows). Curl your knees into your chest and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for desired reps.

Hamstring Curls

Works: Hamstrings, Glutes, Abs

Lay flat on back facing toward handles. Place heels in each of the straps and pull hips off the floor while keeping your core tight. With your arms at the sides, pull your heels toward the glutes, making sure to keep hips off the ground. Return to starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Glute Bridge

Works: Glutes, Hamstrings, Back

Get into the same position as you did for the hamstring curls. Lift body off floor, until you’re diagonal to the floor. Pull heels towards the glutes, pushing those hips up toward the ceiling until you’re fully extended. Make sure to squeeze those glutes at the top to get the full range of motion! Slowly return yourself back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps. 

Biceps Curl

Works: Biceps, Abs

Face toward the straps and grasp both handles with an underhand grip. Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level, walking your feet out until your body is diagonal to the floor. Pull your chest up to the handles, bending at your elbows and bringing your hands toward your temples (your elbows should be stationary during the movement). Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Mountain Climber

Works: Abs, Triceps, Back, Quads, Hamstrings

Lie flat on your stomach facing away from the straps and place feet in each handle. With feet suspended over the floor, raise yourself onto the elbows in a plank position (shoulders should be stacked over the elbows). Pull your right knee into the chest while keeping your back from rotating sideways. Return your right leg to starting position and repeat with your left leg. Repeat this sequence for desired reps. 

Single-Leg Squat

Works: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Abs

Begin by facing toward the anchor point, holding handles in front of your body at chest level (there should be a slight bend in the elbow). Hold one foot off the floor in front the body and lower yourself into a squat position, arms extending in front at eye level. The lifted leg will be parallel to the floor (but not touching) at the bottom of the movement. Pushing through the heel, raise your body back up to its starting position. Repeat for desired reps before switching to the other leg.