by: Yuri Elkaim
the-6-most-essential-trx-exercises-for-beginners
Note: This is a guest post from Ben Greenfield

Need fast and effective workouts that don’t require a gym or heavy equipment?

Try using a TRX suspension strap – they’re lightweight, convenient and let you get in a good workout just about anywhere.

The cool thing that makes TRX workouts so effective is that you’re constantly having to brace your core for each exercise.

This means you’re working more muscle groups with each movement. So, an isolation exercise like biceps curls becomes a total-body effort because you have to maintain balance and stability throughout the exercise.

This stability and balance work has some carryover effects beyond just building a strong, defined physique.

In one study, 21 people with chronic low back pain did a variety of TRX exercises (1). Researchers found that they had the greatest reduction in back pain when doing exercises in the prone plank position, which forces your abdominal muscles contract. That’s important, because when your abs contract, it can help prevent pelvic tilt and lumbar hyperextension.

So not only are TRX workouts great for getting a great workout, but certain exercises might help to reduce or alleviate chronic back pain.

In this post I’m going to teach you the 6 most effective TRX exercises for beginners.

Take the TRX with You

When traveling, TRX suspension straps are a mainstay in my carry-on bag. I can get an efficient, full-body workout in my hotel room, along with all the other weird stuff I do in hotels.

I’m going to share with you the exact workout I’ve been doing. The full workout is listed below, with descriptions of exercises after.

I do 3 to 5 rounds through each exercise, as a circuit, with minimal rest between each exercise (5 to 10 seconds max).

As with any workout, be sure to get a good warmup before you start these circuits.

Full Body TRX Workout Plan

  • 15 TRX Suspension Push-ups
  • 25 TRX Suspension Rows
  • 10 TRX Tricep Extension10 TRX Bicep Curls
  • 10 TRX Knee-to-Chest
  • 10 TRX Single-Leg Squats

The Top TRX Exercises for Beginners

Exercise #1: TRX Suspension Push-ups

Video Timestamp: 0:14

Push-ups are one of the best total body exercises, and they’re especially important when it comes to developing a well-rounded chest.

Add in the element of balancing yourself while your legs are suspended, almost like a circus performer, and you get next-level muscle toning and definition.

How to Do a TRX Push-Up

Hang the TRX so that the handles are between 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Slide one foot into each handle and get into push-up position. Perform 15 slow and controlled push-ups.

How to Change Them Up

  • You can do wide or narrow grip push-ups
  • Likewise, you can do these on an incline or decline to make them easier or harder.

Exercise #2: TRX Suspension Row

Video Timestamp: 0:49

Rows are one of the foundational – or most important – back movements. A well-performed row hits all the major and minor muscle groups of the back at once and can even help to correct your posture if you have rounded shoulders.

If you spend a lot of time sitting or standing at a computer, you should really consider adding rows into your exercise routine if you’re not already doing them.

How to Do a TRX Row

Grab a TRX suspension strap handle with each hand, facing upward toward the anchor point. Lean back at roughly a 45-degree angle and perform a row, keeping your body in a straight line (no sagging butts!) throughout the exercise. Repeat 25 times.

How to Change Them Up

  • You can “walk” your feet up or down to raise or lower your angle, which makes the exercise less or more challenging.
  • Experiment with different grip placements (palm up, palm down, etc.)

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Exercise #3: TRX Triceps Extensions

Video Timestamp: 1:47

Triceps are a muscle group that often get overlooked.

If you train your triceps less frequently than your biceps, you can end up with muscular imbalance and postural issues. The great thing about working out with TRX straps is that you can get you can get deeper into the triceps muscles than you’re able to with standard dumbbell or cable extensions.

How to Do TRX Triceps Extensions

Grab a TRX suspension strap handle with each hand facing away the anchor point.

Lean forward at roughly a 45-degree angle and perform a triceps extension, pushing your body up while keeping your body linear throughout the exercise. Repeat 10 times.

How to Change Them Up

  • Change body angle (or do this exercise while kneeling) to make the exercise more or less difficult

Exercise #4: TRX Biceps Curls

Video Timestamp: 2:36

Whether you’re looking for bigger, more defined biceps or you want lean, toned arms, TRX biceps curls have got you covered.

Like other TRX exercises, TRX bicep curls are a great way to isolate your bicep while also working various stabilization muscle groups.

How to Do a TRX Biceps Curl

Grab a TRX suspension strap handles with each hand facing towards the anchor point.

Lean back at roughly a 45-degree angle and perform a biceps curl, pulling your body up while keeping your body linear throughout the exercise. Repeat 10 times.

How to Change Them Up

  • Change body angle to make the exercise more or less difficult

Exercise #5: TRX Knee-to-Chest

Video Timestamp: 3:33

If there’s one TRX exercise that will most quickly set your abs on fire, it’s the TRX Knee-to-Chest.

With the number of stabilization muscles recruited for this exercise, it’s also a great way to improve balance and coordination.

How to Do TRX Knee-t0-Chest

Hang the TRX so that the handles are between 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Slide one foot into each handle and get into push-up position.

Keeping your upper body stead, bring your knees to your chest, then press them back to push-up position. Perform 10 reps.

How to Change Them Up

  • Angle your legs so that they go side to side as you pull them toward your chest.

Exercise #6: TRX Single-Leg Squats

The beauty of TRX suspension strap workouts is that you can perform exercises that are difficult to do with conventional weights or bodyweight alone.

TRX suspension straps allow you to safely isolate each leg, allowing an increased bodyweight load per leg. The exercise also requires a tremendous amount of balance and coordination.

How to Do TRX Single-Leg Squats

Video Timestamp: 4:15

Slide your left foot through both TRX strap handles. Stand on your right leg with your left shin parallel to the floor. Perform 10 single leg squats. Switch legs and repeat 10 times.

Do-Anywhere Workouts

TRX workouts are super convenient, they require no bulky equipment and they can be a great addition to a well-rounded training program. You can even do super-slow TRX exercises for additional cardiovascular benefits.

Plus, because the TRX is so portable – it even includes a door strap that lets you anchor it almost anywhere – you can even bring the with you when you travel.

For more on healthy travel, check out an article I wrote called Top 13 Healthy Grocery Store Travel Foods For Traveling where I show you a list of healthy foods you can pick up anywhere you go (unless you’re in the desert or something).

Want More Do-Anywhere Workouts?

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Yuri Elkaim

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life”. In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts here, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys.