Since former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick created the first TRX prototype in 2001, the suspension training system has become essential equipment at functional training facilities and gyms around the world, and in the suitcases of fit travelers.
The keys to its success? “Every movement is full-body,” Hetrick says, and it’s portable, simple to use, and super versatile.
That is, if you know what to do with it. To help you get the most out of the set of straps, we headed to TRX-loving Nimble Fitness where Hetrick helped us demo some multi-tasking moves that work your back, glutes, and abs—which is perfect for summer (whether you’re getting ready for a vacation or taking it along on one).
Here are three super-effective TRX moves you can do three different ways. —Lisa Elaine Held
(All photos: Lisa Elaine Held and Jamie McKillop for Well+Good; shot at Nimble Fitness)
1. The Three-Way Fly
Hetrick calls the three back-strengthening fly variations the I, Y, and T, based on what your body looks like when you’re in them. (Picture it, it helps.) “You can alternate between them and you essentially get everything from the lats up to the top of your shoulders,” he say.
Starting position: With the TRX at mid-length, stand with your feet together and lean back, arms in front of you. Then, move one foot slightly behind you to act as a “kickstand.” (You can work up to doing it with your feet together.)
Three ways: Move your body forward extending your arms in a straight line over head (I), overhead but slightly out to the side (Y) or out to the side and parallel to the floor (T).
2. The Three-Way Lunge
“Remember, this is not an arm exercise, it’s a glute exercise,” Hetrick advises. If you don’t feel it in your glutes, you’re probably not doing it right. For this one, the three variations progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced, so you can progress as you get stronger. (And actually, if you’re super advanced, you can add a jump at the top of any of these.)
Starting point: With the TRX at mid-length, hold the handles in front of you, elbows bent. Feet should be shoulder width apart, and then engage your hip flexors and abs to lift one leg so that your quad is parallel to the floor.
Three ways: For all three, you want to lunge backward, keeping your front thigh parallel to the floor and your knee at a 90 degree angle (not extending forward past your foot). For beginner, plant your foot behind you on the floor as you lunge. For intermediate, keep your foot in the air when you lunge backward, never letting it hit the floor as you move forward and back. For advanced, lunge back and extend your leg to the side, extending your foot as far to the opposite side as possible.
3. Three-Way Plank
Planks are already the ab move of the moment, and slipping your feet into a TRX just ups their ability to make your mid-section super strong.
Starting point: To get into the TRX (at full-length) on the floor, start by laying on your back and slipping the foot cradles over your toes. Then roll over onto your stomach and your feet will follow (this can take a few tries to perfect!). Keep your feet flexed, abs pulled in, back straight, so that your whole body is in a straight line. Your elbows (or hands) should be directly underneath your shoulders.
Three Ways: The first exercise is as simple as it gets. Just stay there! Holding plank in this position is harder than it looks. Hetrick calls the second variation the Body Saw. All it involves is moving your body slowly back and forward. Go as far as you can in either direction without sacrificing form. To take it up a notch, move off of your elbows onto your hands and do the same motion. “On your elbows, you have more stability and support, so you’ll have to work harder on your hands,” he says.
For more information, visit www.trxtraining.com
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