By Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A. (Kinesiology), P.T.S.
Personal Trainer in Toronto
TRX Inverted Body Rows
TRX suspension trainer inverted rows are a great exercise for the upper back – lats and rhomboids. Start by performing these with legs down and progress to elevating your legs on a bench for a greater challenge. Row up until your elbows go past your back. Try to keep your spine/neck in the neutral position – don’t tilt you head. Exhale as you row and inhale on the return down.
Strength Band Resisted TRX Inverted Rows
When bodyweight rows become too easy you can progress with either a weighted vest or strength bands. Loop a strength band around two dumbbells or other anchor points. Place the band just below chest height. Focus on controlling the end range of motion and pause at the top of the row. Try to get your elbows behind your back. Exhale as you row upwards and inhale on the return. For healthy and stable shoulders you should be rowing twice as much as opposing pressing movement.
Tricep Rope Extensions
I am performing tricep extensions with a rope in this video. This is more difficult and requires more forearm strength. However, they can be performed with TRX suspension kit. The further you step away from the bar, the more difficult the exercise. This one works the triceps and requires core strength/stabilization. It also is a grip strength exercise.
TRX Bulgarian squats are even a little better than standard ones on a bench. These work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They challenge your abs/core a bit more because of instability. You will also find you use your calves and anterior tibialis more for balance. The second benefit is the stretch. Since the straps move, the back leg can move back and this provides a great stretch of the hip flexor. Since these are more challenging than standard Bulgarian squats start slow. I would begin using only bodyweight, then progress to a weight in one hand so you can use the other arm for balance. Inhale as you are going down into the squat and exhale as you are coming up.
TRX pikes are a great exercise for abs but also require upper body strength as you have to hold up a good percentage of your bodyweight. These pikes can also be performed on a stability ball or with a Power Wheel. Have the straps hanging about 3 feet above the floor and place your feet in them. Your hands should be direct below your chest, shoulder width apart. Bring in your thighs to your belly with bent knees or straighter if you are more advanced. Exhale as you tuck and inhale as you return to the starting position.
TRX “atomic” pushups are a combination exercise that works upper body and abs. It is a combination of a pike or tuck and a pushup.
TRX roll-outs are similar to stability ball and Power Wheel roll-outs. This is a great exercise for the abs. On your knees, grab the TRX handles. Move forward and outstretch your arms overhead. Pause at the point where you feel your abs contracting hard then return to the starting position.
Single leg pistol squats with TRX are a great exercise for glutes, quads, and hamstring. TRX removes a bit of weight and assists with balance. They help you progress to regular pistol squats. Squat down to a depth you are comfortable with. Contract your core while squatting. Keep your back straight. Press through the back half of your foot. Inhale on the way down and exhale as you come up from the squat.
TRX push-ups are a challenging chest exercise. They are more difficult than the standard push-up as there is the instability factor. You get a deep stretch at the bottom of these push-ups. Keep your core braced and glutes contracted. Handles should be at chest height and just outside shoulder width. Lower yourself slowly while inhaling. Push-up and exhale.
TRX arm curls are a challenging biceps exercise. You can adjust this based on how close you position yourself to where the straps are attached. Curl with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor (arms at a 90 degree angle). The upper arm should not move throughout the movement. Keep your core braced and curl. This movement should be slow and controlled in both directions as it is a bit strenuous on the muscle and joint. Exhale as you curl, inhale on the return.
This is an advanced tricep exercise that requires a lot of strength. However, my changing your body position in relation to where the TRX is attached you can adjust difficulty. Try to keep the spine in a straight line throughout the movement. Start with elbows at a 90 degree angle with elbows pointing forward. Brace your core and extend your elbows. Exhale as you extend and inhale on the return.