Over the past decade, I have learned hundreds of suspension training exercises using the TRX. This is a list and descriptions of my personal favorites that I find easy to do, but challenging and a perfect complement to calisthenics and weight training programs completed throughout the year. If you are not familiar with suspension training, check out the name Randy Hetrick — the inventor and founder of TRX. He and is team really are responsible for creating a new fitness genre — Suspension Training — that has been revolutionary especially for people in the Tactical Professions when facilities and time are limited on deployments and tough work cycles.
The TRX is one of the best CORE training devices I have ever personally used. For more information on suspension training developed by the folks at TRX, see TRX Training. Another great tool is to do a search on youtube.com for TRX exercises and you will find an army of people posting fun and challenging exercises to try using the TRX. You will see that you work your core with all of my favorite exercises below. You will have a mix of upper body / core, lower body / core, and challenging core exercises to mix into your programs. Here are my favorite exercises to either supplement a traditional calisthenics / weights program or to replace:
Upper Body / Core Exercises
TRX rows — lean back with arms extended and bring your chest to your hands by "rowing" or pulling yourself to a bent arm position. It is real easy to mix in squats with this movement in between each pull during the extended arm part of the exercise for a quick full body movement.
TRX reverse flies (aka wide rows) — Keep your arms straight and pull yourself forward and keep your hands about shoulder height by flexing your upper back.
TRX high rows - Keep your arms straight and pull yourself forward but with your hands over your head by flexing your upper back / rear deltoids.
TRX atomic pushups — Upper body with a transition into core section. Place feet into foot straps and get into the pushup position. Bring your knees up toward your stomach, straighten your legs and do a pushup. Repeat knee up / pushup cycle for multiple reps.
TRX knees to alternate elbows (in between pushups) — You can also mix in a pushup in between these twisting exercises or just bring your knees to your left elbow for a rep and to the right elbow for a rep. Do at least 10 each side.
Any TRX exercise forces the user to engage the core. No matter what exercise you are doing, the core will be involved (abdominals, obliques, lower back, upper back, shoulder girdle). The next three exercises are even more core focused.
Challenging Core Exercises
Suspended TRX plank (left, right, regular) — Get into the pushup position with feet in TRX straps. Twist to one side and drop to an elbow. Bring the top arm under your torso 10-15 times and then switch sides. Or just hold the side plank for 1 minute each side without moving.
TRX Crunches — This crunch only works if you push down on the straps as you perform a standard crunch. It intensifies the crunch significantly.
TRX Rollout — This is similar to a plank pose with some movement added in. In fact, hold yourself in the plank pose for 30-60 seconds like this for a challenge. Place your forearms into the foot straps of the TRX just below your elbows. Lean forward in a plank pose so your TRX is vertical with the ground. Then pull back with your abs / hips to a standing position. I like to place the straps about knee high off the ground. The lower you go the harder this exercise is.
Lower Body / Core Exercises
TRX squats — These are actually a bit easier than a regular squat since you have the TRX pulling some of your bodyweight off your knees. I like to mix in a squat prior to every rep of the row series and bicep curls pictured above for a great full body workout / warm up. If you want to make it a little harder, try the TRX one legged squats — Now these are tough, but easier than the pistol squat without the TRX. Lean back and keep one leg off the floor so you drop and rise with one leg doing all the work.
TRX suspended lunge — This is a dynamic leg exercise combining balance with lunges and proper hand movement of running.
TRX Leg curls — Place heels in the TRX as shown. Lift your hips off the ground and curl your legs toward your hips. Go lightly as this really flexes your hamstrings.
With the above list of exercises, the user is able to engage the upper body push muscles of the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The upper body pull muscles are also engaged — back and biceps. Throughout the entire core is engaged — meaning, hips, abs, obliques, lower back, upper back, shoulder girdle. And the lower body (hips, thighs, hamstrings, calves) as well as balance is incorporated into this series of 10 exercises.