Just as I love chin-ups, deadlifts, scrambled eggs, the color purple, brightly colored shoes, and my Mapex Saturn Series drum set, I also love the TRX. (Remember those; you’ll have a quiz one day.) Yes, it’s just one piece of equipment to use in the training tool box, but it does have many uses. I prefer it for the infinite varieties or row variations, suspended push-ups, split-squats, and ‘core’ work, but today I’d like to share several TRX exercises that I’ve been playing around with recently and really like. Before that, let me show you why purple is my favorite color:
My parents and grandparents got me those books when I was little, and I think the color’s stuck: I even had a 2nd grader I teach drums to give me a purple crayon before a lesson. Anyways, on to the TRX…
Suspension training has become popular enough in the past few years that it’s likely that your gym has a TRX or related suspension trainer. If not, you can pick up one on your own. A few options other than the TRX include the EliteFTS Blast Straps, Jungle Gym XT, or Gymnastics Rings. They all have subtle differences, so you can perform each of these exercises with them. If your gym doesn’t have one of these, I’d encourage you to suggest that they pick one up, find a facility that stays a little more up to date, or pick one up for home use.
On to the exercises!
The first exercise, which I’ve been using for a while now, is called the TRX Wolverine Lunge. I’ve found it to be fantastic as a low-grade drill that can be used for strength training, mobility, or for a metabolic response, depending on your fitness level. I prefer to use it as part of a warm-up and/or cool down sequence. In the video below, you’ll see there’s a big anterior chain stretch, from the quads & hip flexors of the trailing leg, through the abdominals, and into the chest & lats. It feels great, and after completing that movement for a few reps you’re almost guaranteed to stand up tall, take a deep breath and feel a nice kick of “I’m standing up really straight!”
The second exercise is a ‘Cool Combo’ from TRX Head of Training and Development Fraser Quelch. Fraser demonstrates a combination of a TRX Burpee and a Scorpion. He provides a great explanation in the video, so I’ll let him do all of the talking. Let me just tell you, this one will have you sucking wind pretty quickly. I used it as part of a finisher this evening, and I was almost ready to stop and just join the track team who was sprinting by me. These’ll jack your heartrate up very quickly.
Lastly, let me share some Muscle-Up modifications with you. I had a friend of mine from school explain to me the finer points of the kipped muscle-up, and I’ve figured out how to do them. I can bang out about 5-8 on a straight bar, and I’d like to learn how to do them on rings or the TRX. I need to work on the transition from the pull-up to the dip in the muscle-up, but the next three videos are sequences that you can use to work-up to the suspension trainer or ring muscle-up. If you beat me there, I’ll be very jealous.
The first video is from Frank Addelia, and it’s a pretty traditional muscle-up using the TRX:
Frankie’s a strong guy, and that movement might be very difficult for some of you; I can’t do it yet! However, Coach Robert Dos Remedios has figured out an awesome regression/modification that allows you to work on the transition movement and deload your complete body weight. The exercise is still tough, but it is great for helping to figure out the pull/dip transition.
That movement might still be difficult, if our shoulder strength or range of motion doesn’t allow for that quick flip from pulling to a dip position. If that’s the case, I’d suggest working on comfortable full-range pull-ups as well as comfortable full-range dips. (Comfortable meaning joint pains probably an indicator this isn’t for you.) To work on a regression of the muscle-up, you can try another Cool Combo from Fraser; this time it’s a TRX Low Row to Tricep Kickback. You’ll have to provide a powerful pull, but you’ll have more assistance from your legs, and the tricep/pec strength requirements are reduced. I should note, this is the only time tricep kickbacks are ever acceptable.
I hope that you have access to a TRX or other suspension trainer, and can experiment with these exercises. I’m definitely a proponent of following a specific training template, but learning new exercises allows you to keep mentally fresh and stay interested in your training. In the case that you don’t have access to a suspension trainer, drop me a comment below, and I’ll review some equipment modifications we can make.