There’s a lot to love about the TRX (opens in new tab), the most well-known brand of suspension trainer. The first is that virtually any exercise you do on these straps can be made easier or harder simply by moving closer or further away from the anchor. The second is that you can set them up in both the most mundane of places, like your bedroom door, as well as more exotic places like the beach, so you can work out with a bracing sea breeze. The third is that the whole caboodle is fit-in-a-drawer small. The thing we love most, however, is that by adding instability to well-known moves, you’re always giving your core a good going-over.
That’s why we’ll be rifling through our drawers until we find the one we stored our TRX in, to run through these five full-body exercises, recommended by Charlotte Tooth (opens in new tab), senior course instructor for TRX UK. To turn the moves into a workout, throw them together into a circuit. Split a minute between work and rest periods for each exercise, depending on your fitness level, doing as many rounds as you wish.
1 TRX Squat
Targets: thighs and glutes
Set the straps to hip height and stand facing your anchor point, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, elbows bent and in line with your ribs. Sit back and down as if you are sitting on an invisible chair, bending at the ankles, knees and hips. Push your knees out to keep them over your toes and keep your back straight. Push back up to standing by straightening your legs and squeezing your glutes.
Tooth says: “Try not to lean away from the straps too much. Your weight should be in the front/middle of the foot so your legs do more work than your arms.”
2 TRX Arabesque
Targets: hamstrings and glutes
Set the straps to hip height and stand facing your anchor point, holding the handles, elbows bent in line with your ribs. Lift your left knee into your chest, then hinge forward from your hips and kick your left leg out behind you. As you tip forwards, reach your arms forwards and press down into the handles to activate your back and core muscles. Keep your standing knee slightly bent. Return to standing the way you came, pulling your left knee to your chest. Complete all the reps on one side, then switch.
Tooth says: “Slightly turn out your lifted leg for more activation in the sides of your glutes. You’re looking to feel a stretch in the back of your standing leg as you hinge forwards.”
3 TRX pike
Targets: core, shoulders and back
Set the straps to calf height and, facing away from the anchor point, place your toes in the foot cradles. Place your hands under your shoulders and lift up to a strong plank position. Make sure your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels, and that your feet are flexed and pushing into the straps. Begin to hinge at the hips, raising your bum as you look back at your ankles. Keep your arms straight the whole time. Slowly lower back to a plank position, gazing at your fingertips.
Tooth says: “Think of pushing your armpits back towards your thighs as you pike, so you don’t end up leaning too far forwards! Maintain an active plank so you don’t lose your form.”
4 TRX suspended lunge
Targets: thighs, glutes and core
Set the straps to calf height and stand facing away from the anchor point with your right foot hooked into both foot cradles. Hop forwards a little so there’s some tension in the straps. Keeping your weight over your left leg, begin to bend both knees and lightly tap your right knee on the floor behind you. Press hard into your left heel to bring yourself back up to standing, pulling your right knee forwards as you stand. Mirror the movement of your raised leg with your opposite arm to help you balance. Complete all the reps on one side, then switch.
Tooth says: “Keep your weight forwards by leaning slightly over the front leg, as if you were looking over a cliff. If you struggle with balance, have a chair nearby.”
5 TRX Y-raise
Targets: shoulders, back and core
Lengthen the straps as far as they go and, facing the anchor point, stand on the balls of your feet, holding the handles with your arms extended and overhead, forming a Y shape. Lower your arms slowly in front of you, directly in line with your shoulders, bringing your feet to flat. Keep tension in the straps the whole time. Return to the Y shape by pulling your arms back above your head, ensuring you keep your arms straight. Your body will move backwards and forwards, controlled by the movement of your arms.
Tooth says: “Keep those elbows straight! If you are tempted to bend them, you may have made the exercise too heavy. Move back an inch or two to make it easier. Straight arms keeps the work in the shoulders!”
Buy TRX Home 2 (opens in new tab) | £179.95
Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.
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