5 TRX Exercises that Provide Terrific Workouts for Everyone

By Gregory Brown and Patricia Salber, MD, MBA | Published 1/16/2021 2

Woman doing a TRX workout

TRX is easy to use at home. Just place the suspension anchor over a sturdy door and you're ready to workout. (All photos used in this story are licensed to the author)

Whether your ultimate fitness goal is to build strength, improve your core stability, flexibility, balance, or endurance, a TRX training system*** and your body weight may be all you need to achieve your goal. Further, the TRX system provides terrific workouts for both women and men regardless of their age or prior exercise experience. 

Do you want to understand more about how this suspension exercise can benefit your body? And, do you want to learn how to perform a variety of basic TRX workouts? This is exactly what you’ll get as you continue reading this article.

What is TRX?

TRX stands for Total-body Resistance eXercise. The TRX system is a portable suspension training tool that was created by Randy Hetrick when he was a US Navy SEAL.

The gym version consists of heavy-duty black and yellow straps that are attached to a mechanism that is used to suspend them from the ceiling. The home version has an anchor device that you can throw over a door.

The other end of each strap is fitted with a sturdy loop and a padded handle. The loops are used by hands or feet to suspend the body in a way that leverages body weight and gravity.

The system can be used to perform a variety of TRX workouts to achieve either a full-body work out (as we describe in this article) or spot exercises to compliment the rest of your workout.

TRX workouts challenge every part of the user’s body, especially the core. It whips them all into shape. In each of the exercises below, a part of the body is suspended above the ground while using the strap to maintain balance. This provides total-body strength training which is perfect for both new and experienced exercise devotees.

What are the benefits of TRX workouts?

TRX workout for women

Look at how many muscles she is activating with this one simple exercise. (Photo supplied by the author)

When compared to other fitness tools and exercise, the TRX and TRX workouts*** are found to be beneficial in a number of ways:

  1. TRX workouts do the following: 
      • work the entire body
      • burn calories
      • help you obtain the body shape that you’ve been aiming for

      Most importantly, the TRX system will help you stay fit, healthy, and strong.

2. TRX workouts are economical as they require no exercise equipment and machines other than your portable TRX straps. You can perform TRX workouts even if you have no gloves, shoes, weights, or access to a gym. Simply hang the strap over a door, and you are good to go. You no longer have to spend a ton on fitness equipment in order to provide your body with efficient and effective physical exercise.

3.  Working out with TRX puts you in control of the resistance and the extent to which you want to challenge yourself. You can simply change your body position to increase or reduce the intensity of the challenge. Because of this, TRX workouts work for people at all levels of fitness.  

4.  TRX provides a fast, efficient total-body exercise. It helps improve your balance, endurance, flexibility, and core strength.

Other benefits of TRX include the following:

      • simple set up – throw the device over a study door and you are ready to start
      • economical – You don’t have to belong to a gym to do TRX exercises. You can purchase a TRX over-the-door home system*** and get the same fitness benefit.
      • convenience – work out any time, anywhere
      • portability – throw it in a suitcase to workout when you are travelling
      • versatility – you can do hundreds of different exercises
      • short transition time in between exercises – just adjust the straps or change positions
      • work out multiple muscle groups at the same time, often including the core
      • adjust the level of resistance by moving closer or farther away from the pivot point
      • it is low impact

More Women’s Health Content:  A Unique Approach to Women’s Heart Health

TRX workouts plan

Here are some effective TRX workout plans for beginners and advanced users to effectively touch up body fat, build muscle, and strength.

TRX Push Up

Even though the photo shows a gym TRX suspended from the ceiling, you can do the exact same exercise on your home system. (Photo licensed to author)

1. TRX push-up

This workout targets your chest, arms, and shoulders.

To perform the TRX push-up, adjust the TRX so that the foot cradles are 8-12 inches from the ground. Then get yourself into a plank position; hook your toes through the cradles (in the TRX straps) with your hands on the floor. 

Push up your body so that your body weight rests on your palm. (It’s fine to use your yoga mat to cushion the palms.)

While keeping your core tight and your legs straight, bend your elbows to bring your chest down, just between your hands. Repeat this exercise 10 times, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat!

  • For beginners, move slowly, and take a rest if you get tired during the exercise.
  • For advanced users, bring your knees toward your elbows after pushing up your body. Hold for 5-10 seconds before you return to normal, then repeat for 25 reps.

2. TRX hamstring pull/curl (not pictured)

This is an amazing TRX workout for the legs and other lower parts of the body (hips, glutes, and thighs).

To perform this exercise, adjust the TRX so that the foot cradles are 8-12 inches from the ground. Lie on the floor with your face up, arms stretched by your sides, and palms flat on the floor.

Place your heels in the TRX lower cradles and position your feet well to secure them. Press your heels inward, towards your hips to lift your hips while maintaining a tight core and hold for a few seconds.

Then straighten your legs to bring your body back to a neutral position. Repeat the exercise.

  • Advanced users can perform this exercise by alternating the exercise for each leg instead of using both legs at a time. This will make the workout more challenging.
woman doing a TRX lunge exercise in a gym

Lunges are one of those perfect exercises that work most of your lower body. (Photo supplied by the author)

3. TRX lunge

This is also a perfect TXR workout for the legs and abs.

To perform this exercise, adjust the strap so that it is about 8–12 inches from the ground. Stand so you are facing away from the anchor point. Then, place your right foot in both foot straps.

Place your hands on your waist while standing with your left foot planted firmly on the ground. Bend your knees to lower your body down into a lunge until your left thigh is parallel to the ground while stretching your right leg backward. Push back into the starting position.

Do 10 reps and repeat the exercise with the right leg.

  • Beginners can hold on to the wall or a chair for support until they can carry out this on their own.

4. TRX body row (not pictured)

This TRX workout is perfect for working your back, biceps, shoulders, and abs.

To carry out this exercise, adjust the straps to mid-length. Then, keep your feet together and grab the strap handles in both hands.

Next, bring your hand close to the other, stretch your hands out, and lean backward until your weight is on your heels and your body is almost at a 45 degrees angle with the floor.

While keeping your shoulder stiff and your core tight, bend your elbows and pull up your body till your hand reaches your chest. Stretch back your arms to return to start and repeat 10 times.

  • Note that the further your feet are from the pivot (anchor) point, the higher the angle you will have to the ground, and the less challenging this move will be. You can, therefore, move your feet closer to the pivot point or perform the exercise by raising one leg off the floor, to increase the challenge.
TRX Chest Press exercises for women

TRX chest presses are a great way to strengthen the muscles in your arms, chest, and upper back. (Photo supplied by the author).

5. TRX chest press

The chest press target the arm, core, chest, and shoulders.

Before you perform this exercise, set the TRX to its full length. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and face away from the pivot point.

Hold the strap in both hands and stretch out your arms, straight out in front of you. Lean forward, bringing your body into a push-up stance. Bend your elbow and press your body forward to bring your chest closer to your hands.

Stretch your hands and press into the straps to bring your body back to the starting position.

  • To increase the challenge, stretch your arms up as you perform the chest press so that it aligns with other parts of your body. Then reverse the movement to bring yourself back to the neutral position. This is also known as TRX chest press with standing fallout.

Tips for safe and effective TRX exercise

  • Warm-up properly before embarking on any TRX exercise. This will help prepare your body for the new task and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Ensure that the strap is properly fastened to the door, wall, or ceiling before using it.
  • Wear the right footwear and tight-fitting clothing that will allow free body movements.
  • You can increase the workout intensity by moving further away from the anchor point.
  • Make sure your body is aligned properly to engage the whole core.
  • Don’t push yourself too much above your fitness level. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, so if you feel exhausted, take a short rest!
  • Avoid direct contact of the TRX with your skin to avoid injury.

[Editor’s note: if you are like me and you need to see someone doing the exercise and then explain to you how to do it, consider buying a TRX training video. Here’s a link*** where you can check them out (Remember, we earn a small commission on any purchase. It supports our work, but it does not affect your price).]

The bottom line of TRX workouts

Have you been looking for an efficient way to burn calories, build healthy muscles, improve your core strength, and get your body into shape? These TRX workouts are for you! Grab those straps, perform these TRX workout exercises, and your health and fitness level will never remain the same.

Links with *** are affiliate links. We receive a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. It helps us run our business and does not add to your costs.

Published August 2, 2017. Reviewed and republished 12/5/20.

[Editor’s note: All affiliate ads in this story are marked with ***. I have the over-the-door TRX home system*** and use it regularly either on my own or in conjunction with my Zoom-based personal trainer. It is amazingly versatile. And it can be used to strengthen just about any muscle in the body. I highly recommend it. If you want to ask me any questions about it, put them in a comment on this post. Pat S.]





    • A sturdy door is one that doesn’t move when closed and your full body weight is pulling on the TRX. I use an ordinary bathroom door in my home gym. You can test it by putting the stabilizer over the closed door and pulling as hard as you can on it. You want to be able to trust the stability of the setup, so start with some simple exercises that don’t make you feel insecure about falling (you won’t but it takes trust in the setup to feel comfortable). Once you have tested your setup and are comfortable that it will support you no matter what, you can advance to exercises that require the system to support your full body weight without falling.It doesn’t take long.

      I believe, from an exercise point of view, that the TRX is safe for your age (if your doctor agrees). You can do a wide variety of exercises using it. Start with simple, basic ones like the ones in this story.

      Be sure you buy the TRX from a site that allows you to return it if it turns out not to be your cup of tea. I love mine but I have an online personal trainer who mixes things up and is superb at giving me instructions when she does something more complicated on the TRX. As I mention in the story, you can buy training videos that may help as well.

      Good luck! And, here’s to some great TRX workouts.

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