Sculpt and strengthen your body from every angle with these TRX exercises, designed by fitness trainer Jo-Leigh Morris.
If you’ve seen a TRX in your gym, chances are, you’ve probably also seen someone not knowing what it’s for or how to use it. A TRX suspension trainer is essentially a long strap of canvas with two rubber handles at each end. You anchor them to the ceiling or a bar (or even a sturdy tree branch), and it turns into a gruelling full-body workout that strengthens your core, improves your balance and increases muscular endurance.
“TRX is an amazing piece of kit because it works every muscle in your body,” says fitness instructor Jo-Leigh Morris, who developed a pilates TRX class at boutique studio BXR in London.
“You can easily increase and decrease the intensity just by stepping closer or further away. When you are using weights, you need to keep swapping weights to work different muscle groups or for different exercises, which can be limiting on equipment and also time.
“The TRX is an efficient way to flow through a workout with minimal equipment and maximal work. It works the core the whole time, whilst challenging balance and stability. It exposes muscle imbalances, which highlights to the clients what areas they need to focus on, and it’s a great tool for assisting with injuries. The cherry on the top? It’s accessible so you can take it anywhere with you.”
We asked Morris to share some of her top exercises that target every muscle using a TRX.
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BEST TRX EXERCISE FOR YOUR CORE
“This is my favourite core exercise as not only are you fatiguing the core, you are also lengthening the spine and the hamstrings, and working the shoulders through stabilisation,” says Morris.
How to do a pike on a TRX:
- Start in a straight-arm plank with your feet suspended off the ground in the foot cradles of your TRX.
- Lift your hips towards the ceiling – keeping both your arms and legs straight and your feet flexed.
- Look towards your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position. That’s one rep.
BEST TXR EXERCISE FOR YOUR GLUTES
“This is a functional movement that hits straight into the glutes,” says Morris. “The straps help set the back into a good position and also offer great support for anyone with injuries or lack of strength and mobility.”
How to do a squat on a TRX:
- Stand facing your TXR straps, with your feet hip-distance apart and your toes pointed out slightly.
- Grasp the TRX in front of your body, keeping your palms together.
- Then shift your hips back and bend at the knees to lower down and squat.
- As you lower down, raise your arms upwards, keeping them bent at the elbow.
- Drive up through your heels to return to standing. That’s one rep.
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BEST TRX EXERCISE FOR BICEPS
“On the TRX you can keep bicep curls controlled, it’s a smaller muscle group so when the muscle starts to fatigue you can step back to continue with the reps,” says Morris.
How to do a bicep curl on a TRX:
- Facing the TRX, grab the handles with your palms facing towards you.
- Walk your feet underneath the anchor point of the TRX – so your body is in one straight line, at a slight angle, leaning back with tension on the cables.
- Start with your elbows bent at shoulder height and the handles facing towards your forehead.
- Maintain a strong plank position and slowly lower your body back towards the floor until your arms are completely straight.
- Slowly bend your arms with control and curl yourself up towards the handles to the start position. That’s one rep.
BEST TRX EXERCISE FOR SHOULDERS
“Not only does this exercise isolate into the shoulders, it’s also a mobility exercise,” says Morris. “With a lot of people working at a desk in a slouched position, the Y raise focuses on increasing your range of motion and mobility, while also retracting the shoulders back into a better postural position.”
How to do the Y raise on a TRX:
- Stand facing the TRX anchor point with your palms facing forward.
- Hold the TRX handles and pull your arms up overhead into a “Y” position while maintaining tension on the TRX straps.
- Engage your core and slowly lower your body backwards to your starting point with straight arms.
- When your arms are fully extended, repeat the move.
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BEST TRX EXERCISE FOR HAMSTRINGS
“Hamstrings are one of the biggest neglected muscle groups,” says Morris. “As most people are sat at desks, the hamstrings become really tight and underworked. When we do lower body exercises, other muscle groups always switch on, but doing a TRX hamstring curl completely isolates the hamstrings – allowing the other muscles to switch off.”
How to do a hamstring curl on a TRX:
- Lie on your back with your heels in the TRX foot cradles, keeping your legs extended about a foot above the ground.
- Engage your glutes and hamstrings to raise your hips and lower back off the floor.
- Maintain this raised position and pull your heels towards your glutes.
- Keep your shoulder blades on the floor, and place your arms by your side, pressing into the floor to help stabilise your torso.
- With your hips raised, extend your legs back out, in a controlled manner to the starting position. That’s one rep.
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