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The Ultimate TRX Workouts

Workout
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Doing the same moves every session will only lead to your progress stalling and your motivation evaporating. Basically you’ll get bored with the barbell. That’s why getting to grips with suspension training will get you back into the muscle-building groove. An hour-long session with a suspension trainer like a TRX significantly boosts levels of the muscle-building hormone testosterone, according to a study in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research. After subjects did suspension training for 23 exercises, blood samples showed total testosterone levels were 18.6% higher than those taken halfway through the session, while levels of the stress hormone cortisol were 25% lower two hours after training. Try these two suspension training supersets to start adding size and strength, then move onto the longer workouts below.

Chest and back session

Move 1A is TRX press-ups, where you do press-ups but with your feet elevated in the handles. Move 1B is TRX inverted rows, where you hold the handles in both hands with your heels on the floor and your body straight, then pull yourself up towards your hands. Do ten sets of ten reps, resting 60 seconds between each set.

Quads and hamstring session

Move 1A is TRX split squats, where your back foot is elevated in a handle, and you lower into a lunge and then come back up. Move 1B is TRX squats, where you hold both handles and, keeping your chest up, squat down as low as you can. Do ten sets of ten reps on each leg for move 1A, and 20 reps of move 1B, resting 60 seconds between each set.

The Travel TRX Workout

When you’re travelling, whether for work or leisure, you can find yourself surrounded by confusion. Home comforts are missed, your passport plays hide and seek, and exercise routines get trampled – which means your levels of lean muscle can suffer. But there is a solution to stay trim on the go: you can harness this chaos, using a TRX and a deck of cards. Whenever you have a spare 20 minutes, just hook the suspension trainer over your hotel door and let the cards shape your workout.

How it Works

Letting chance take over means no workout will ever be the same. “This method of muscle confusion, where you frequently vary the moves and rep ranges, makes sure this never becomes easy and your muscles get comfortable,” explains Bradley (opens in new tab)Simmonds (opens in new tab), the PT and fitness model demonstrating this circuit. Staying out of your comfort zone will keep your heart rate high to churn through calories and keep your body fat levels low. And if nothing else, you’ll be able to pass the time with solitaire if your flight ever gets delayed.

Directions

Set a timer for 20 minutes. Shuffle the deck, then turn over the top card. Match the suit to the move here. The number is how many reps you need to do between one and 14 (ace can be high or low depending how hard you’ve been hitting the in-flight G&Ts). Keep going until you finish the deck or, more likely, run out of time. Rest as needed. The joker means you do all the moves to failure, then rest for 60 seconds.

Hearts: Jump squat

Squat

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Hold the TRX handles with straight arms and lean back. Lower into a squat, keeping your knees wide apart, then drive up powerfully and jump.

Spades: Inverted row

TRX Inverted Row

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Grasp the handles so your palms face down and lean back, arms and body straight. Pull your body up to your hands. Pause at the top, then lower.

Diamonds: Chest press

TRX Chest Press

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With straight arms, hold the handles with the straps over your shoulders. Bend your arms to bring your hands to your chest. Press back up.

Clubs: Pike

Boy Doing TRX Pike

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Put your feet through the handles and get into the top of a press-up position with straight arms. Contract your core to bring your feet towards you and raise your hips.

The Ultimate TRX Workout

Strength and conditioning specialist Alexis Antonopoulos has designed this workout to target all the key muscles. To do the workout you should complete all nine exercises back to back, with a two-minute rest between each. Repeat this three times, or if you prefer, to failure. Each move should be done for 16-20 reps unless otherwise stated. Tailor the difficulty of each exercise to your needs by altering the length of the ropes to change the angle the exercise is performed at. The closer you are to the ground, the harder it is.

Chest press

Targets Chest, triceps

Assume an incline stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest towards your hands, keeping your entire body as straight as possible - similar to a press-up - then return to start position.
 
Beginner Start from kneeling position

Intermediate Start from a standing incline position

Advanced Add a weighted vest or raise your feet using a step

Squat

Targets Quads, hamstrings, glutes

Stand facing the TRX holding a neutral grip. Keep your arms straight and sit into a squat position with your legs parallel to the floor. Use your glutes to return to a standing position.

Beginner Arms straight, regular squat

Intermediate Do a small jump at the top of the squat

Advanced Do the same but only use one leg, alternate the leg you use between reps

Plank

Targets Core

From a kneeling position place your arms through the loopholes so the TRX is resting halfway down your forearms. Lift your knees off the ground so your feet are the only part of the body still in contact with the floor. Ensure your body is in a straight line and try to maintain a 90˚ angle at your elbow and shoulder joints. 
 
Beginner Hold the position for 20-60sec

Intermediate Slowly open the angle at your elbow and shoulder by just a few centimetres to increase the tension in your core, then return to the start position – 16-20 reps

Advanced Maintaining a strong core position, reach one arm forward several centimetres while lifting your opposite foot off the floor as high as you can. Return to the original position and repeat on the other side – 16-20 reps

Bodyweight row

Targets Biceps, back, shoulders

Take the handles, lean backwards with extended arms and walk forward three small steps. Keep your chest high and pull your body up until your chest touches the handles. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly lower back to the start position.

Beginner Follow the form guide exactly

Intermediate Increase the decline by only walking forward two little steps

Advanced Add a weighted vest or alternate between each leg – or do both if you’re feeling brave

Hamstring drag

Targets Hamstrings, glutes, core

Adjust the TRX loops until they are about 30cm off the floor. Sit on the floor in front of the TRX, place both heels in the loops and lift your hips off the floor. Keep both feet flexed towards your shins and your legs hip-width apart. Press your heels into the foot cradles, elevate your hips and pull your heels towards your glutes before returning to the start position.
 
Beginner Follow the form guide exactly

Intermediate Lift your hips while bringing your heels towards your bottom

Advanced The same as intermediate but only using one leg at a time

Jackknife

Targets Core

Keep the TRX loops about 30cm off the floor. From a kneeling position put your feet in the loops and assume a full press-up position so your feet are suspended. Pull your knees in towards your chest and return to the start position, engaging your core to keep a straight back the whole time. 
 
Beginner Follow the form guide exactly

Intermediate Pull both knees diagonally across your body towards the opposite elbow, return to the start position and alternate

Advanced Use just one leg (the opposite leg remains above the floor in line with your body

Triceps press

Targets Triceps

Adjust the TRX so it is at mid-length. From a standing position take the handles and extend your arms overhead in front of your body and walk back for a couple of small steps. Keeping your upper arms rigid and your body aligned, bend your elbows and lower your body to make a 90˚ angle of flexion. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.
 
Beginner Follow the form guide exactly

Intermediate Extend the TRX until it’s longer than mid-length

Advanced The same as intermediate but only use one arm at a time

Bulgarian split squat

Targets Quads, glutes, hamstrings

Adjust the TRX until the loop is at knee height. Assume the same stance as a regular split squat (a forward lunge position), but place your rear foot through one of the loops. Maintain upright posture and lower your back knee until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors of the rear leg, then return to the start position.
 
Beginner Follow the form guide exactly

Intermediate Add a weighted vest

Advanced Hop at the top of the movement

Side Plank

Targets Obliques

Adjust the TRX so the loops are around 30cm off the floor. Then, lying on your side, put your feet into the loops and lift your hips off the floor so your weight is supported by the TRX and your forearm. Hold steady and raise the opposite arm to make a T shape.  
 
Beginner 20-60 seconds each side

Intermediate Do side plank dips: lower your hips 5cm from the floor, then lift them up as high as you can while maintaining form – 16-20 reps each side

Advanced Thread the needles: reach with your opposite arm underneath your body, rotating at the waist and slowly return to the start position – 16-20 reps each side