I strapped it up to my bedroom door and loved how it instantly turned my tiny Brooklyn apartment into a mini gym. Simple moves like planks and jack knifes got more fun and way more challenging at once.
But sequencing workouts on the fly was a major downside. It felt kind of willy-nilly and unfocused. So I jumped at the chance to give the newly launched TRX Home2 system ($170) a go because it comes with a one-year subscription to the TRX app, which unlocks all kinds of training videos to help you dial in your workout.
I loved how it instantly turned my tiny Brooklyn apartment into a mini gym.
When I say “all kinds,” I mean it. You can choose from not only suspension workouts that use the straps—or high-intensity training sessions that use them, plus some additional gear (think: heavy ropes and weighted balls)—but also workouts on the treadmill or bike. There are cycling sessions by high-profile triathlon coach Matt Dixon, for instance, and running workouts by Andrew Kastor, head coach for Asics Mammoth Track Club.
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I began with a short, get-started video to make sure I had the straps set up just right. The TRX Home2 is super similar to the original version, just has little tweaks (like padded handles and adjustable footholds) to make it more comfortable. It took about one minute to get everything in place.
Next up: a beginner tone-up workout. The format is pretty clear from the get-go: Every workout alternates brief rest periods—during which an instructor describes the upcoming move while a model demonstrates—with intervals, usually 30 to 45 seconds, where you’re actually working. Trust me: For most moves, 30 to 45 seconds is long enough.
Having the freedom to pair a recorded workout with whatever songs you feel like is a serious perk of bringing the fitness studio home.
Once I was a few exercises in, I realized how quiet it was. Between instructions at the start of every move, the trainers are mostly silent. All I could hear was Kelly Ripa in the background and my own breathing. Snooze. Don't get me wrong: Ripa is, well, ripped and clearly an awesome fitspo model, but I needed something more to distract me from the full body burn I was feeling.
I thought the lack of background noise was a major drawback of the app—until I realized there’s a music-note button at the bottom of the screen. Press it and you can easily pair the workouts with the playlist of your choosing from your phone; the instructor’s cues call out over the tunes. Having the freedom to pair a recorded workout with whatever songs you feel like, and not being locked in to an instructor’s possibly questionable musical taste, is a serious perk of bringing the fitness studio home.
From there, I scrolled through tons and tons of workouts, divided by duration: You can choose from plans that are under 20 minutes, 20 to 40 minutes, or more than 40. If you need to stop early or decide to try something else, it’s easy to return to the home screen by just hitting the stop button. Each workout has a video showing a fitness model demonstrating every move. But if you still aren’t sure how to do it correctly, you can tap on a button in the bottom right of the screen for extra info.
You can also sync the app with your Apple Watch or other tracker to help keep tabs on your workout. And after you’re done, it’s easy to tap to review your time, calories burned, and other stats—and share them on Facebook or Instagram.
My only real complaint is that some of the workouts just piece together the same moves I’d done previously with no new instruction. After my intro workout and a core-focused session, I gave a strength for runners one a try. I expected a voiceover from a running coach, telling me how each of the exercises builds muscles that will help support my gait or help me go longer—but there was none of that. The moves were pulled from the other workouts I’d already done, and overall the routine wasn’t necessarily runner-specific.
That being said, whatever your goal, there’s so much variety on the app—almost on par with the TRX itself—that you can't help learn something new. And if you hit a workout wall with some of its more intense moves, here's my best advice: Just, er, hang in there.
Learning how to create a master playlist can also help you push past your fitness breaking point. Plus, read these tips for making your 20-minute workouts more effective. Hint: Your TRX can help.
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