Have you ever felt intimidated by the TRX bands in the gym? If you’ve never been shown how to set up and use them, it can be hard to know where to start and what to do. I’d like to use them but I give them a wide berth—when I see them I draw a blank.
Luckily, master trainer at The Gym Group, Jenni Tardiff talked me through using TRX bands—the best-known brand of suspension trainers—and gave me four simple exercises to try.
It’s quite natural to be wary of unfamiliar gym equipment. This is partly what “gymtimidation”—feeling nervous about working out in a gym environment—is about. It includes worries about being judged, not being fit enough, not knowing what to do, how to use the equipment or what to wear, and being afraid to ask questions.
“Not all gyms have TRX bands and it’s not a common piece of equipment compared with dumbbells, so it’s normal to feel unsure and they can seem scarier,” says Tardiff. “With the right guidance and practice, the TRX can be a useful and versatile addition to your fitness routine.
“TRX can provide a full-body workout, improve stability and core strength, and it’s adaptable for any fitness level.”
Four Simple Exercises Using TRX Bands
A photo posted by on
1 TRX row
Adjust the bands to mid-length—about waist height— and stand facing the anchor point with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold the handles and lean back—the further forward you position your feet the more challenging it will be. Lengthening the bands will also make the move more challenging.
Pull your body towards the handles, using your back muscles. Keep your elbows close to your sides and pause at the top before lowering yourself slowly with control. Keep your body in a straight line and your core engaged.
2 Pistol squat
Adjust the bands to mid-calf length or a little higher if you don’t have the range to squat low. Face the anchor point, hold the handles and extend one leg in front of you. Lower your body into a squat position, keeping your extended leg off the floor. Push through your heel to return to the starting position. When you’ve completed your reps, switch to the other side.
3 Half-range pull-up
Adjust the bands to mid-length or slightly higher. Stand facing the anchor point with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold the handles and bend your knees so you are almost sitting on the floor. Lean back with your elbows slightly bent. Using your back muscles, pull your chest towards the handles. Pause at the top, then lower yourself back down slowly and with control.
4 Plank to pike
Adjust the bands to mid-calf length. Place your feet in the handles and adopt a high plank position with your arms extended, hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Engage your core and lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming an inverted V. Return to the high plank position under control.
Once you’ve mastered these moves, expand your repertoire by working your way through this list of the best TRX exercises, reaping the many benefits of this often-overlooked piece of equipment. Dig into our TRX coverage and you’ll find plenty of workout routines as well.
TRX bands are a great addition to a home gym too, because they don’t take up much space. “I love that you can use them pretty much anywhere,” says Tardiff. “So if the sun is shining and you feel like working out in the park, you just need to find a spot to hook it up,” like a sturdy tree branch or pull-up bar in a park gym. Our guide to the best suspension trainers will help you choose some bands to use outside of the gym.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.