Even if you have no clue what it is, you’ve likely seen a TRX suspension training system at your local gym—it’s that black and yellow strappy-looking thing hanging from the ceiling. TRX (or, Total body Resistance eXercise, if you want to get formal) training utilizes this singular piece of equipment for a total body workout that focuses on strength, balance, and flexibility, explains Elizabeth Heidari, Director of TRX at Flex Studios in NYC. Here, what you need to know about the insanely effective workout.
It’s just you and the strap
“TRX works based on your own body weight,” explains Heidari. “Simply by moving your hands and feet in space, the resistance becomes heavier or lighter.” There are no weights, other machines, or equipment required, just that one strap. In gyms and studios, it’s usually anchored into the ceiling, though Heidari points out that it’s surprisingly portable and great for travel. Simply throw it over the jungle gym at the local playground, and you’re good to go. Purchase a strap online to use anywhere you want.
Anyone can do it
Yes, really. Because you’re only using your own body weight, TRX training is very scalable, points out Heidari. Simply adjusting your positioning slightly will instantly make any of the moves more or less challenging. This method allows for anyone at any level to achieve their desired fitness goal.
Balance is essential
While you can lean and hang off the strap for support, TRX moves are meant to challenge your balance, teaching you to engage your core first, before moving your arms or legs, says Heidari. Not only will this work your abs like no other, it’s also beneficial in teaching you how you should be walking and moving in your everyday life.
It’s ideal as a form of cross-training
Especially if you typically prefer more low-impact workouts. “TRX is a great cross-training option for somebody who is already doing yoga or Pilates, but isn’t into super-heavy weight lifting or heavy cardio,” Heidari explains. But don’t worry, you’ll still be building and toning your muscles, and can easily incorporate plyometric moves to get your heart rate up, she adds.
You can do it on your own
While there are many studios around the country that offer TRX training and classes, most gyms have at least one system set up that anyone can use. Heidari suggests trying these two basic moves to get started:
Bicep curl: Facing the anchor point, plant your feet, grab the rungs, then lean back with your arms straight out. Engaging your core, and curl your forearm towards you.
Plank: Facing away from the anchor point, hook the tops of your feet into the loops. Push out into a plank, either on hands or forearms. Start on your knees, or lift them off the ground to make it more intense. Because you need to immediately engage your abs so that your back doesn’t start to take the weight and start to hurt, it’s a great way to quickly learn how to do a proper plank.