Let me preface this by saying.... unfortunately there is no affiliation or monetary kick back from the following statement!!
The TRX is the most versatile piece of personal gym equipment you can purchase.
The kettle bell is a close second, however it takes some months of appropriate, and specific coaching to master all the benefits of the bell. Whereas the TRX has a significantly shorter learning curve, travels a heck of a lot easier than a kettlebell, and costs much less to have shipped to you!
We love our TRX’s here at NSS and you will see clients of all ages and abilities working through some of the staple moves with these suspension trainers. The TRX row, assisted squats, specific stretches - which are wonderful, but with over 1 million results on a quick Google search of "TRX exercises" we know there are hundreds of thousands of exercises and exercise variations you can perform.
A few of our favorites are specific to the midsection.
1 – TRX Body Saw
Position the TRX handles approximately 1 foot from the ground, place your feet into the stirrups, and raise your body up off the ground onto your elbows, getting into a plank position with your feet suspended. From here start to slowly rock your body weight forward, then backward (the “saw” action). Feel free to explore as far forward and backward as you can while remaining comfortable and in control.
Getting into the stirrups can be one of the trickiest pieces of these exercises, watch this little tip to make it easier.
Things to consider – keep a tight midsection and don’t let the low back arch while you “saw”, a pad under the elbows may help make this exercise considerably more comfortable, when done with the exercise slowly lower your knees to the ground to get out of the TRX stirrups.
Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 forward and 10 backward saws.
To vary this exercise try sawing for time, or pausing the front and back position for a 2 count.
2 – TRX Fall Out or Roll Out
Position the TRX handles at approximately knee height, grasp the handles facing away from the TRX attachment. From here you will, with straight arms, slowly “fall out” by raising your hands forward until your elbows are in line with your ears. The goal is to keep tension on the TRX straps and brace through your shoulders, midsection and lower body. Pause at the bottom of the motion and return back to your base by squeezing your midsection.
Things to consider – just like with the body saws, keep your midsection tight to prevent your low back from arching and putting pressure through the spine instead of the core muscles. If you aren’t ready to go all the way elbows to ears, feel free to adjust how far you fall out until you are ready for more.
Do 3 sets of 5-10 reps.
Another variation is to widen your hands as you fall out to change stress through the shoulders. You can also wear a weighted vest or try single leg to increase the difficulty.
3 – TRX Knee-Ins
Position the TRX handles approximately 1 foot from the ground, place your feet into the stirrups, and raise your body up off the ground onto your hands. From this “top of a push-up” position, tighten your midsection and slowly bring your knees forward toward your chest. Once near the chest slowly bring the knees back to base position.
Things to consider – as with the previous 2 exercises keeping the low back neutral and not arched is important. Also, as you drive your knees toward your chest try and not raise the hips up, rather keep them stationary.
Complete 3 to 5 sets of 10 reps or try going for 20-30 seconds.
Want to change it up a bit, drive your knees in an alternating, single leg fashion. Or keep your knees straight as you bring them toward your chest and go into a pike position as seen below.
4 – TRX Side Plank Rolls
Position the TRX handles approximately 1 foot from the ground, place your feet into the stirrups, and raise your body up off the ground onto your elbows. From this position rotate your body to the side until your chest and hips are pointing at the side wall, and you are up on a single elbow. Hold for a 2 count, then roll forward onto the other elbow, holding for a 2 count once you get there. You will work back and forth, from elbow to elbow for a set of 5 each arm.
Things to consider – this exercise affords a lot of opportunity for the feet to start swinging around, take your time to ensure you are able to control that swinging. Also, the TRX stirrups may “slip” a little as you rotate, so be prepared for a possible shift as you roll.
Perform 2 to 3 sets of 5 rolls per side
To adjust you can try the TRX side plank rolls on your hand, or not roll at all and just hold the side plank position for time.
But enough reading… go have at it with the most versatile piece of personal gym equipment available!