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best trx exercises

17 Best TRX Exercises: Beginner & Advanced

TRX exercises, otherwise known as suspension training exercises, have many benefits that stand them apart from other strength-based movements, especially since they rely heavily on your own body weight. They’re incredibly popular amongst fitness fanatics as TRX training promotes better balance, flexibility, mobility, and core stability alongside targeting your overall strength!

Here at OriGym, we’ve put together a list of the 17 best TRX exercises for beginners, as well as for those who are working out at a more advanced level. 

We’ve separated them into three categories; beginner, intermediate, and advanced, so you can progress steadily or skip ahead to more difficult exercises if you already have experience in this area!

Ever thought of pursuing a career in fitness? If so, go check out OriGym’s Advanced Sports Nutrition qualification, or download our latest prospectus before we jump right in.

What are TRX exercises? 

For those who don’t already know, here’s a quick definition to answer the question; what are TRX exercises? 

In short, TRX cables exercises are part of the TRX System, which was developed and officially founded by Randy Hetrick, a U.S. Navy SEAL in 2005. While Hetrick created terms like ‘TRX’ and ‘TRX Suspension Trainer’ (the piece of equipment that you use to perform TRX suspension exercises), it is just a form of suspension training, which is thought to have existed since before the 1800s. 

TRX fitness exercises are classed as bodyweight exercises, as they only require the body weight of the user as well as a set of TRX straps. They focus on enhancing the balance, stability, flexibility, and overall strength of those who perform them. 

In the study titled 'Effects of TRX versus Traditional Training Programs on Core Endurance and Muscular Strength', T. Heltne (University of Wisconsin, Kinesiology) et al. state:

The results suggest that TRX training methods are just as beneficial for increasing core endurance, flexibility and measures of functional movement compared to a more traditional training program.

It is therefore evident that the TRX System is a valuable method of training for those looking to increase their strength and overall fitness, and that TRX functional training exercises are a great idea if you hold these goals! 

Download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in.

TRX Exercises for Beginners 

#1 - Low Row

Set Up: You will need the TRX suspension rig to be hooked onto something that is high up and tightly secured. For this exercise, one of the easier TRX warm up exercises, the lower you secure the hoops the harder it will be.

Starting Position:

trx rope exercises

  • Stand underneath the secured suspension rig, your feet hip width apart. 
  • Take one hoop/handle in each hand using an overhand grip, your palms facing inwards.
  • Lean backwards until the rope loses its slack, and you are suspended by it at a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor. 
  • Make sure that your arms are fully extended. You can adjust the length of the straps on the TRX suspension set up to make the exercise more difficult, or shorten them to make it easier and more like the inverted or normal row.
  • You are now ready to begin one of the best suspension trainer exercises on our list. 

Execution:

trx band exercises

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, as well as the muscles in your back, and inhale before beginning the movement. 
  • Exhaling as you do so, bend your elbows to pull your body upwards. Ensure that your back is straight.
  • You should feel the burn from this in your upper back. 
  • When you reach the top position, hold it for two seconds. To fully engage your back muscles, ensure that your elbows are squeezed into your sides, and that your shoulder blades are retracted at the top of the movement. 
  • Inhale before beginning the second phase of the TRX exercise. 
  • Exhaling as you do so, extend your arms to bring yourself back to the original position.
  • You have now completed one rep. Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids.

Secondary Muscles: Biceps, triceps, deltoids.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During this Exercise:

  • Having the straps tightened too high up will result in a regular Row instead of a Low Row. 
  • Having the straps too loose will result in your body not being parallel to the floor. Your straps should allow you to be suspended in a low position, but just off the floor so that only your feet are touching it.
  • Bending at the waist rather than keeping your body straight. If you do this, you are not completing this exercise properly, and risk injuring yourself. It's one of the most effective suspension rope exercises when completed properly, so be sure to keep proper form. 
  • Forgetting to keep your elbows tucked in. This could result in injury to your shoulder joints.
  • Forgetting to engage your core. If you do this, not only will you miss out on training this area, but you will also risk straining your lower back. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The Low Row is one of the best TRX exercises for strengthening the muscles in the back that are difficult to target otherwise. Not only does it target the latissimus dorsi, but it heavily involves the trapezius and the rhomboids (the muscles that make up the middle back), that are sometimes missed by other back exercises. If you're interested in trying another version of the row, check out OriGym's renegade row exercise guide
  • When it comes to training the posterior chain (the structures behind the spine and the legs), this exercise provides an easy way to do so without using heavy weights. It reaches every major muscle group in the back, and even the deltoids and abdominal muscles! 
  • There are many ways to alter the Low Row to make it more challenging, which is another benefit and makes it one of the best TRX exercises for beginners. Once you’ve mastered it and moved on from TRX warm up exercises, you can try a more difficult variation. 

#2 - High Row 

Set Up: You will need the TRX suspension rig to be secured and positioned in front of you, just above head height. It's one of the easier TRX cables exercises, so be sure to try it if you're just starting out! 

You might be interested in our guide on how to do the Pendlay Row if you're into this exercise. 

Starting Position:

trx training exercises

  • Stand with your body facing the suspension rig. Have your feet at around hip width apart.
  • Next, take one handle in each hand in an overhand grip. Make sure the straps are loose enough so that they fall just below chest height. Be sure that your palms are facing away from you.
  • Lean backwards, so that your weight is shifted back onto your heels – but keep your feet flat on the ground. 
  • Suspended fully by your rig, you are now ready to begin this TRX exercise.

Execution:

trx functional training exercises image

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, and inhale before beginning the exercise. 
  • Row your body by pulling upwards and transferring your body weight from the rig to your hands. 
  • Your back should be straight throughout the movement, and your core should remain engaged. You should exhale as you complete this phase of the exercise. 
  • When your chest and hands are equal to one another, hold your position for two seconds. 
  • Transfer your weight back to the rig again as you lengthen your arms. When you reach the starting position, you have completed one repetition. Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Trapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi. 

Secondary Muscles: Biceps, forearms. 

Common Mistakes To Avoid:

  • Letting your aim stray, as this will put extra strain on the side of your body that is doing most of the work. To avoid this, ensure that you move your elbows at the same time and keep rowing forward, not to the side.
  • Crossing into a variant of the High Row by shifting your hand position. To avoid this, keep your palms facing forward and away from you.
  • Forgetting to engage your core. This can reduce the overall benefit that the exercise has on your body, and even cause injury, particularly to the lower back. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The High Row allows you to heavily target the trapezius, meaning that it’s a great variation to add to your routine since the main muscle targeted during the Low Row is the latissimus dorsi. If you complete both exercises with the TRX, you’ll reap all of the benefits when it comes to training your back. 
  • During the High Row, the biceps and triceps are worked alongside the major muscle groups in the upper back, so it’s a good all-round exercise for the upper body. 
  • It’s one of the best beginner TRX exercises since good form is relatively easy to maintain - the starting position is uncomplicated. It’s also great for those who are more experienced, as it can be modified easily to up the resistance! 

#3 - Single Arm Row 

Set Up: You will need to have the TRX suspension rig set up so that it is secured in front of you, and suspended at about an arm’s length away for this movement. It's one of the more basic TRX exercises, perfect for beginners!

Starting Position:

trx training exercise video

  • Start by facing the rigging system, and position your feet at around hip width apart.
  • Grip one of the handles with your right hand, in an overhand grip. 
  • Walk a pace or two away from the suspension system, until you are leaning backwards with your arm fully extended towards the device.

Execution:

best trx exercises image

  • Now that you are in position, ensure that your feet are planted firmly to the ground, and that your elbows are at your side. You can dangle the off-arm behind you for balance or hold it into your chest.
  • Inhale before beginning this TRX exercise, and ensure that your core is engaged. 
  • Lean all the way back, allowing the system to fully take your weight.
  • Bending at your elbow, pull yourself upwards until your working hand is equal to your chest. You should exhale as you do so. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale.  
  • Slowly lower yourself back down to full extension of the arm whilst exhaling, and you will have completed one full repetition. 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, rectus abdominis. 

Secondary Muscles: Biceps, deltoids, and erector spinae. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Not engaging your core while you are completing the Single Arm Row. If you fail to do so, you won’t train this area alongside the main muscle groups worked, and you also risk injuring your lower back. 
  • Descending too fast. If you let go and move too quickly, you risk putting adverse pressure on your muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
  • Failing to keep your shoulders and chest up. If you let your shoulders sag during this exercise, you could cause injury to the area - be sure to maintain good posture. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This is one of the best TRX exercises for beginners who have mastered both the High and Low Row, as it is still relatively easy to execute. 
  • The single arm row works wonders for your core strength, improves your balance, and strengthens the major muscles in your upper and lower back. It’s great for building unilateral strength since it only uses one side of the body at a time, and therefore forces your joints to work harder towards stabilization. If you hadn't already guessed, it's one of the best TRX strength exercises. 
  • For those looking for a challenge, it can easily be altered to a higher difficulty. To do so, simply increase the length of time that you pause at the height of each rep.

#4 - Plank

Set Up: For this exercise you should position the TRX suspension straps so that they are about 15cm above the ground. 

Starting Position:

trx bodyweight exercises

  • Kneel facing away from the straps and place your arms in front of you on the floor, so that they are resting just underneath your shoulders. This will provide you with a stable base for the exercise. 
  • Carefully hook your feet into the straps, with your toes facing the ground.
  • Until you are ready to begin, keep your weight on your forearms and knees.

Execution:

trx military exercises image

  • Engage your core and inhale before beginning the exercise.
  • Position your body so that it is parallel to the floor by extending your arms, and keeping your core engaged. 
  • Hold the position for a minimum of 10 seconds, or however long is comfortable to do so. Breathe in and out steadily as you complete the exercise. 
  • If you cannot maintain proper form, gently lower your knees to the ground, take a break, and then resume the plank.

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Anterior deltoid, rectus abdominis. 

Secondary Muscles:  Triceps brachii, hip flexors, thoracolumbar fascia. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Attempting the TRX plank before you are proficient at performing a basic plank exercise. The TRX version requires a lot of core strength, being one of the best suspension trainer exercises for building this.
  • Allowing your shoulders to slope forwards. You should keep them upright and engaged when performing this exercise to avoid injury to the shoulders or lower back, and to increase the benefits that they receive. 
  • Forgetting to breathe. While holding the plank, remember to breathe steadily rather than holding your breath! Breathing in through your nose and holding before exhaling helps to contract your muscles.

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The TRX plank is designed to build your core strength further than a regular plank could. Having your legs in a suspended position rather than being anchored to the ground forces your core muscles to work harder to stabilise your body, and therefore targets them further. It's one of the best TRX rope exercises for building core stability. Once you master this exercise, you may want to try the press up row for another core-targeting exercise!   
  • It’s one of the most ideal TRX strength exercises for building muscle strength in your lower body to support your spine and lower back, and can therefore help you to progress to more advanced TRX military exercises over time.  
  • Another benefit is that there are a number of variations of the exercise that you can use to target different muscle groups, such as the TRX version of the Side Plank (that we’ll discuss shortly). 

#5 - Knee Tucks

Set Up: For this exercise (one of the easier exercises with the TRX), the TRX straps need to hang down to your calves, around 15-30cm above the ground so that your feet can fit comfortably into the high plank position.

Starting Position:

trx suspension training exercise videos

  • Lay on the ground on your stomach, facing away from the anchor point.
  • Place your feet securely into the handles with your toes pointing towards the floor.
  • Engage your core and lift your body into a high plank position. Your hips should be at around shoulder height and your arms fully extended.

Execution:

trx military exercises

  • Ensure that your hands are facing forward underneath your shoulders, and that your body is straight. Engage your core, and inhale before beginning the movement, which is one of the best TRX flexibility exercises.  
  • Bring your knees slowly up towards your chest, keeping your feet together and exhaling as you do so. 
  • Stop when your knees are under your waist, and hold your position for one second before extending your legs backwards towards the anchor point.
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Rectus abdominis, obliques. 

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, glutes, quadriceps.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Holding your feet apart. You should keep your feet together in the straps during the exercise as this will help you to keep your core engaged and your body straight, and you’ll therefore avoid unnecessary injury. 
  • Arching or bending your back. Not only will this undo any of the benefits that you hope to gain from completing the exercise, but it will also put immense pressure on your back and likely cause a nasty injury. 
  • Attempting knee tucks before you can perform a plank. You should be proficient in regular planks before you attempt this exercise, otherwise you could injure yourself due to having insufficient core strength. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • Knee tucks are a great choice of TRX exercise for those looking to tone their abdominal muscles and obliques. When you bring your knees towards your chest with all of the necessary muscles engaged, you’re loading your upper body and core with your body weight and therefore building strength in the area and developing your posture. 
  • Since you’re in a high plank position when performing this exercise, your triceps take a portion of the strain and are therefore strengthened. This will improve your overall stability and balance over time, and prove useful when you progress to other TRX suspension training exercises. Check out OriGym's list of the best tricep exercises if you're interested in training this area!
  • For those who suffer from lower back pain or want to build spinal stability, this exercise can help since it is low-impact and most of the pressure is placed elsewhere. The main role of the spine and back in general during this exercise is to stabilise the body, so it isn’t too strenuous for these areas. 

#6 - Kneeling Tricep Press 

Set Up: Set up your TRX suspension rig so that it is suspended at head height (when you’re in the kneeling position), from the wall or bars. Consider using a mat to kneel on to protect your knees.

Starting Position:

trx fitness exercises

  • To complete this exercise, turn your back away from your rig so that it is behind (and above) you.
  • Take one handle in each hand in an overhand grip, your palms facing forwards. 
  • Kneel down, being careful not to make contact with the wall or bars behind you. You should now be on your knees, with your back to the rig. 
  • Ensure that your back is straight. 

Execution:

trx exercise list image

  • Inhale before you begin this exercise, and ensure that your core is engaged.
  • Keeping your back straight and bending at the elbows, exhale as you bring your upper body down (so that your chest is moving downwards and your forehead is moving towards your knuckles). 
  • Your body should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • Push yourself back up into the starting position, using your triceps to drive your body upwards.  
  • When you return to the starting position, you have completed one repetition of this exercise (one of the best suspension workout exercises). 
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps.

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, calves, biceps, forearms. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Allowing your back and hips to sag. If you don’t maintain good posture, then the exercise won’t work your triceps as hard as it should do. Plus, you’ll leave yourself susceptible to injury. 
  • Not aiming for a full 50-degree angle to the floor. Any less than this, and you won’t have the resistance needed to properly complete the exercise, which is one of the best TRX resistance training exercises. 
  • Forgetting to keep your arms straight. If you fail to do so, you risk injuring your arms or shoulders. 
  • Flaring your elbows. This can cause injury, but you can easily avoid this by ensuring that your elbows are positioned at a 90-degree angle in relation to your body when performing TRX fitness exercises. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This is one of the best TRX training exercises for beginners who want to strengthen their arms, particularly the triceps (the clue is in the name!). When you use your triceps to drive yourself back towards the starting position, you are loading a good portion of your body weight onto them, and therefore targeting them specifically compared to other TRX training exercises that work the arms and upper body. 
  • The Kneeling Triceps Press allows you to train your triceps without the use of free weights, such as kettlebells or dumbbells, that you would otherwise need. We do have a guide on how to get bigger arms in which we talk about exercises such as the ‘Skull Crusher’, but you’ll soon see that there aren’t many free weight exercises that target the triceps in isolation; this one is a must. It's one of the best TRX suspension trainer exercises! 

Intermediate TRX Exercises 

#7 - Chest Press 

Set Up: For the chest press, one of the most effective upper body TRX suspension training exercises, you will need your TRX suspension rig to be set up with the cables hanging at waist height. 

Starting Position:

best trx exercise image

  • Stand underneath the suspension rig with both hands gripping the handles (in an overhand grip). Your palms should be facing inwards. 
  • Your feet should be around hip width apart. 
  • Steadily lean your body forwards, keeping your back straight, until you're at around a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor. 
  • Your elbows should be at around a 45-degree angle in relation to your body. 

Execution:

Trx suspension training exercises

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise, and tighten your core and glutes. 
  • Keeping your back straight, exhale as you drive your body upwards by extending your arms. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale before beginning the second phase of the exercise.
  • Exhaling as you do so, allow your body to return to the starting position in a controlled movement. 
  • Once you reach the starting position, you have completed one chest press. Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Pectorals.  

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, triceps, biceps. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Forgetting to keep your body straight. If you bend at the waist or knees, you are not completing the exercise correctly, and you also risk injuring yourself. When completing intermediate suspension workout exercises, it becomes even more important to keep your body straight.  
  • Allowing your core to sag. If you’re fatigued after performing a few reps, you should step out and rest rather than completing the rest of your set with poor form, otherwise you could injure your back. 
  • Placing your arms out at your sides. You should keep them straight out in front of you, otherwise you will place stress on the rotator cuffs and could injure yourself.

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • Although the pectorals are the primary movers, the chest press allows you to work your triceps, biceps, forearms, and shoulders, as well as your abdominals to a lesser degree. It’s a great all-round bodyweight exercise, and one of the best TRX bodyweight exercises for those looking to build strength in the upper body. 
  • As the TRX version of this exercise is pretty unstable (as you’re working to keep the TRX straps still) it forces the muscles involved to work harder. This will give them a significant boost in strength and improve your overall stability, and even help you out in day-to-day activities that require this. It's one of the best TRX functional training exercises! 

#8 - Lunge 

Set Up: For this exercise, one of the most useful TRX gym exercises, you should ensure that the suspension straps are positioned to hang around 15cm off the floor. Be sure to use this as a starting point and adjust them accordingly depending on your height. Ensure that you have access to some gym mats for added support.

Starting Position:

basic trx exercises

  • Place your rear foot into the TRX handle, your toes facing the floor. 
  • Ensure that your front leg is straight, as well as your back. 
  • Your head should be in line with your spine, and you shoulders should be upright. 
  • You should have the gym mats placed beneath your rear foot, to support your knee during the execution. 

Execution:

trx training exercises for beginners

  • Engage your core, and inhale. 
  • Bring your rear leg backwards as you would during a regular backwards lunge, until it rests on top of the gym mats, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Both knees should be at a 90-degree angle, and you should be careful not to allow your front knee to go past your toes. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale.
  • Drive yourself back upwards with the majority of your weight shifted onto your front leg, until you reach the starting position, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors. 

Secondary muscles: Abdominals, hamstrings, calves.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Stepping too far forwards or backwards. This is a common mistake that results in pressure absorption in the front knee, and has the potential to cause muscle or ligament strain (and in the worst case scenario, tears!). 
  • Performing the lunge too fast. Speed should be within the safety region of the exercise, and shouldn’t compromise good form. Too much speed can destabilize the process, especially if you are not used to lunges, and leave you susceptible to injury. 
  • Forgetting to keep your knee aligned with your ankle. If you allow your knee to go over your toe during a lunge, not only do you remove all of the benefits of the exercise, but you risk serious ligament damage. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • In comparison to regular lunges, the added instability of the TRX version means that the muscles in your lower body as well as those at your core are forced to work much harder to keep your body stable. If you’ve mastered regular lunges, you should definitely consider using TRX fitness exercises alongside variations of the lunge to enhance your lower body strength and stability, especially if you play competitive sports! 
  • Performing lunges on each leg separately helps to improve balance and strength within both legs, as opposed to training just one. With regular practise, TRX lunges can enable you to have a better balance of power, strength, and efficiency when exercising. 
  • The TRX version of the lunge is also ideal for those who want to build up a significant amount of lower body strength over a short period of time. The exercise engages the entire lower body in just two movements, meaning that you’ll see progress faster than you would with other suspension strap exercises. If you want to build even more lower body strength, check out OriGym's guide to the sumo deadlift here

#9 - Push Up

Set Up: For this TRX exercise, you will need to have the TRX suspension rig set up so that the handles are around 15cm off the floor. It's one of the more intermediate TRX suspension training exercises, so proceed with caution! 

Starting Position:

Trx training exercises for beginners

  • Get into a high plank position by slipping your feet into the handles of the TRX (your toes facing the floor), and fully extending your arms.  
  • Keep your shoulders in line with your hands, and keep your legs as straight as you can get them. 

Execution:

Trx training exercises for beginners image

  • Inhale, and ensure that your core and glutes are tight. 
  • Taking your time and exhaling as you do so, lower your body towards your hands as you bend your elbows. They should be at around a 45-degree angle in relation to your body, and at a 90-degree angle themselves. 
  • When you reach the bottom of the movement, hold your position for two seconds. Inhale.  
  • Taking care to keep your body totally straight, drive yourself upwards into the starting position, exhaling as you do so. 
  • When your arms are fully extended, you have completed a single repetition. Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor. 

Secondary Muscles: Triceps, anterior deltoid, abdominis rectus. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Allowing your body to sag in the middle. This can cause all kinds of injuries, particularly to your lower back, and completely eradicates any benefit that you wish to receive from completing the exercise. You can engage your glutes to avoid this.
  • Lowering your body below hand height. This could result in you sustaining a permanent injury to your rotator cuff muscles. 
  • Trying to up the difficulty before you have discovered and explored your limits. This will increase the risk of injury during a TRX version of the push up in particular, as it is already a difficult variation in itself. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The regular push up is a staple bodyweight exercise that works the entire body. The TRX Push Up is even more effective since it forces the body to work even harder to complete the movement, and is therefore one of the best TRX bodyweight exercises for anyone looking for a challenging alternative. 
  • When performed with the TRX, push ups challenge your pectoral muscles on a whole different level. They will need to work even harder to stabilize your shoulder blades, amongst other joints and muscles in your upper body, making this a perfect exercise for those who participate in sports. 
  • For those with mobility issues, the TRX version of this exercise is sometimes considered safer than a floor-based push up, since they can adjust the straps to be as high as they wish and progress from there. It's one of the best TRX rope exercises for building mobility. 

#10 - Bicep Curl 

Set Up: For this exercise, attach the cables to an anchor point above your head and adjust the straps until they hang down about mid-length.

Starting Position:

beginner trx exercises

  • Stand with your body facing towards the anchor point and grip the handles with an underhand grip. 
  • Have your feet at around hip width apart, and lean backwards until your arms are extended and your back is completely straight. Ensure that your neck is in line with your spine. 
  • Twist the handles so that your palms are facing each other. 

Execution:

beginners trx exercises image

  • Inhale before beginning the exercise. 
  • Keeping your core engaged and your back straight, bend your elbows and pull your chest towards the handles.
  • As you do so, exhale.
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale before you continue. 
  • Maintaining solid form, steadily bring your body back down into the starting position.
  • Once your arms are fully extended, you have completed a full rep. Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Biceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, forearms, rectus abdominis.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Failing to engage the core. If you start off incorrectly, you can pretty much invalidate the rest of the exercise, and easily injure your lower back. Check out our guide on how to engage your core here if you’re struggling to do so.  
  • Dropping your elbows. To ensure that you are properly working your biceps, focus on keeping your elbows up at a 90-degree angle so that they are parallel to the floor. 
  • Starting off with loose suspension straps. Slack cables will reduce the effectiveness and intensity of this exercise, so for the best workout, stay aware of how your straps feel while performing this exercise and adjust them to maintain tension in the cables. 

 Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The TRX version of the bicep curl offers a challenging alternative to the standard exercise that is often performed with free weights (or sometimes resistance bands). Not only does it engage the biceps and the forearms, but it also brings the shoulders and core into play as you drive your chest towards upwards. 
  • It adds a greater element of cardiovascular fitness to the mix, since the curl becomes a full body movement during the exercise. This is clearly an important component of fitness, and one that is more present through full body movements such as this.
  • As the exercise forces you to practise good form, it can help to Improve your posture and even relieve the symptoms of lower back pain for those who experience it. 

#11 - Crunch 

Set Up: For this exercise, the TRX straps should hang down between 15-30cm above the ground, depending on your height.

Starting Position:

trx exercises beginner

  • Face away from the anchor point in a comfortable position, lying on your stomach.
  • Place your feet into the handles, and ensure that your toes are pointing towards the ground.
  • Bring yourself up into a high plank position, with your hands facing forwards and your arms extended, and your legs suspended by the TRX straps.  

Execution:

trx fitness exercises

  • Inhale before beginning the exercise. 
  • Ensure that your back is completely straight, and that your neck is in line with your spine.
  • When well-balanced and with your core engaged, carefully bring your knees forwards towards your arms, rotating your back upwards simultaneously. You should exhale as you do so. 
  • Once your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, hold this position for two seconds (you should feel it in your abs). Inhale before continuing the movement. 
  • Exhale as you extend your legs back into the starting position, ensuring that your form is consistent. 
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Rectus abdominis. 

Secondary Muscles: Pectoralis major, deltoids. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Not being proficient in regular abdominal crunches. It is not recommended that you attempt the TRX version of the abdominal crunch unless you are confident in performing basic crunches, especially if you are not familiar with engaging your core. 
  • Rushing the movement. It does appear to be quite an easy movement, but this isn’t the case; it is an intermediate TRX exercise. It should be done with care, which means great form and a tight core, and it shouldn’t be rushed - the aim is to stretch your muscles.

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This exercise is a go-to movement for building core strength. There really is no replacement for abdominal crunches when it comes to building strength and tone in the core, and the added pressure that the TRX places on the abdominal muscles is incomparable. 
  • It can work wonders for improving your balance. One glance at the instructional video should make that obvious; it really takes a lot of balance and strength to hold good form for this one! 
  • TRX crunches can be especially useful for rehabilitation for those who have experienced an injury to their lower back, or to those who have lower back pain. You should always consult a medical professional before completing this exercise if you are experiencing pain, however. 
  • The further you position your body away from the straps, the more challenging the exercise will become. It can be altered to suit any difficulty level, meaning that it is a great progression for those looking to try more advanced TRX trainer exercises. 

Advanced TRX Exercises 

Wondering how many TRX exercises are there? 

Well, we're not done yet. This is the ultimate TRX exercises list after all, so we weren't going to stop short before we got to the good stuff. If you haven't seen anything that looks too challenging yet, you're about to be blown away... 

We mean, where else can you find this many TRX suspension training exercises for free? 

#12 - Side Plank 

Set Up: For this exercise, one of the most useful TRX gym exercises, you should position the TRX suspension straps from above so that the foot straps are about 15-30cm above the ground. 

Starting Position:

trx exercises list

  • Begin by lying on your side, and place your feet in the straps with your toes facing forwards.
  • Ensure that your left arm acts as a solid anchor (your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle), and rest your weight on your arm and your hip until you are ready to begin.
  • Have your right arm extended upwards to help you to maintain balance. 

Execution:

advanced trx exercises

  • Inhale before you begin the movement, and tighten your core. 
  • Carefully balance your right foot on top of your left foot inside the straps, keeping the right foot slightly in front of the left.
  • Whilst balancing on your left arm, drive your hips upwards until you reach the top side plank position, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Hold the position for a minimum of 10 seconds, or however long it is comfortable to do so. 
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Obliques, rectus abdominis.  

Secondary Muscles: Glutes, anterior deltoid. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Attempting a side plank without being able to complete a regular side plank. It is not recommended that you attempt the TRX version of the side plank before you are able to complete a regular side plank, especially since this is one of the more advanced TRX military exercises. 
  • Forgetting to straighten your spine. You should keep your body straight and your core muscles tight while holding the side plank position, to ensure that you are receiving the benefits of the exercise as well as avoiding injury.
  • Forgetting to breathe. While holding the side plank, remember to breathe steadily rather than holding your breath, as this will help you to remain stable and receive all of the benefits of the exercise. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The TRX version of the side plank is a challenging yet effective exercise designed to target your obliques, as well as to build strength and tone in your core.
  • The fact that this exercise requires you to anchor your feet into the TRX handles rather than on the floor means that it is more demanding on the muscle groups involved, as well as the stabilising muscles, and is therefore better for your overall progress. 
  • There are a number of variations of this exercise that can be used to target different muscle groups, and therefore make it even more challenging. 

#13 - Squat and Row 

Set Up: 

The Squat and Row can be performed at a gym, or in the comfort of your own home. All you will need is a TRX suspension cable and an area where it can be safely and securely attached.

Ensure that the straps of the suspension are adjusted to hang at midweight, and grip one handle in each hand.  

Starting Position:

trx exercise list image

  • Stand facing the TRX with your feet at around hip width apart. 
  • Grip the handles so that your palms are facing inwards.  
  • Push your chest upright, and lean back until your body is suspended at around a  45-degree angle in relation to the ground. 
  • Hold the handles so that they sit just below your chest, and they’re tucked in close at your sides. Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to your body. 

Execution: 

trx stretching exercises

exercises for trx

  • Keeping your core engaged, your glutes tight, your chest upright, and your weight shifted onto your heels, extend your arms and sit back into a squat position. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • With your weight shifted onto your heels, use your legs and lower back muscles to drive your body upwards. 
  • Bring your shoulder blades together as you return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, rectus abdominis.  

Secondary Muscles: Calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, biceps. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Arching your back. To receive the maximum results from this exercise, and to avoid injury, you should ensure that your back is straight throughout the movement. 
  • Relaxing your core. Focus on keeping your core tight and engaged throughout this exercise, otherwise you risk injuring yourself. 
  • Pinning your shoulder blades. They should be free to move around the rib cage during this movement, otherwise you leave yourself vulnerable to Downward Rotation Syndrome - and you really don’t want this! 
  • Forgetting to keep your elbows tucked in. This can lead you to shift the strain onto your arms rather than your back (meaning that you’ll erase any of the benefits of the exercise), and it can also lead to injury. 

Benefits of this Exercise

  • This is one of the more advanced TRX exercises, but it’s also one of the most beneficial once you master it. It targets almost all of the muscles within the posterior chain when you propel yourself upwards, all while using only the resistance of your own body weight. It's one of the best TRX resistance training exercises. 
  • If you’re looking to build strength and power, this TRX exercise is one of the most effective out there. It teaches you how to transfer the energy of your movements from your lower body to your upper body, and this will be incredibly useful in other advanced TRX training exercises, as well as in competitive sports. 

#14 - TRX Alligator

Set Up: 

You will need a suspension system or something similar to perform this TRX exercise. Set it up so that the anchor is facing you, and that it sits a little over head height.

Starting Position:

trx rope exercises

  • Stand facing the anchor point of your TRX suspension system. 
  • Using an overhand grip, where you secure the handles in your downward-facing palm, take one of the hoops in each hand. 
  • Keeping your arms extended out in front of you and your feet flat on the ground, lean back until the straps are taut, as if you were about to go into a TRX row.
  • Now you are in the starting position and ready to begin this movement; one of the best suspension trainer exercises!

Execution:

trx warm up exercises

trx trainer exercises

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, and that your back is entirely straight with your head in line with your spine. 
  • Instead of bending your elbows to drive yourself upwards, widen your arms so that one travels upwards and one travels downwards (it should look as though your arms are the jaws of an alligator!).  
  • One of your hands should be above the other, vertically, when you are at the peak point of the exercise. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • Carefully close the gap between your arms to bring yourself back into the starting position. Ensure that you engage your back and twist towards your grip.
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Deltoids, rotator cuffs, latissimus dorsi. 

Secondary Muscles: Rhomboids, trapezius, obliques.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Forgetting to alternate which arm you are raising each time. If you focus primarily on one arm, it will therefore be doing most of the work, and you don’t want to end up with an uneven workout.
  • Forgetting to engage the core muscles. This can put extra strain on your lower back and lead to injury. 
  • Forgetting to use an overhand grip. It’s key to performing this TRX exercise correctly! 

Benefits of the Exercise:

  • This is one of the more advanced TRX exercises since it’s such a unique movement, but it’s extremely effective once you master it. You should be able to complete it once you have mastered the intermediate exercises, and built on the strength in your back and shoulders. 
  • If you’re looking to train your back and shoulders without the use of free weights, this exercise is a fantastic alternative since it places the entirety of your body weight on one side of the body. It targets your lats, traps, rhomboids and deltoids more than most other TRX suspension exercises, and will help you to build muscle mass in these areas if you suitably optimise the reps that you complete. 

#15 - Clock Press

Set Up: For this exercise you need to use a TRX system, specifically the suspension cables. The cables need to be securely fastened above you so that the handles are at waist-height. It's one of the more advanced TRX suspension exercises, so take care if you haven't performed it previously. 

We do have a full guide to the TRX Clock Press incase you want to check that out!

Starting Position:

How many trx exercises are there

  • Grip the handles in an overhand grip, and stand straight with your back to the anchor point.
  • Ensure that your feet are positioned at just over shoulder width apart. 
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you and gently lean forward; you should be able to balance easily. Adjust the cables or your position if this is not the case.
  • Your body should be straight, at an approximately 40-degree angle in relation to the floor, with your hands in front of you and your weight shifted onto your toes.

Execution:

exercises for trx image

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise. 
  • Make sure that your core is engaged, and keep your back straight with your head in line with your spine.
  • Bend your elbows slightly, but keep your arms close to your body.
  • Carefully bend your left arm while simultaneously extending your right arm out at your side. Your left elbow should be at around a 45-degree angle in relation to your body. Exhale as you do so. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale before you continue. 
  • Drive your body upwards with your left arm, maintaining good form throughout the movement. 
  • Repeat by bending your right arm, and keep repeating the exercise, alternating arms each time until you complete your set! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise:

Primary Movers: Pectoralis major. 

Secondary Muscles: Anterior deltoid, biceps brachii, triceps brachii, rhomboids. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Making sudden movements. To avoid injuring your back, keep your movements slow and steady.
  • Touching the TRX straps. The TRX straps should not be touching your arms during the exercise, as they can chafe your skin.
  • Having the straps too tight. There should not be any looseness in the straps during the exercise, as this will erase the benefits and even cause injury if you’re unlucky. To avoid this, ensure that the straps are tight before you begin. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This is a pretty unique exercise since it’s exclusive to the TRX System, and it’s certainly one of the most advanced TRX exercises. It’s a fusion of the chest press and the chest fly, and therefore an effective way to train the pectoralis major using the resistance of your body weight. Plus, it also builds on the shoulder stabiliser muscles, which will help you out in other advanced exercises. 
  • Despite targeting the chest, it’s a pretty holistic exercise as it also trains the core and the upper body as a whole. Once you’ve mastered the previously mentioned TRX trainer exercises, you should definitely add this one to your routine as it will help you to build more tone in your upper body thanks to its difficulty level. 

#16 - Atomic Push Up 

Set Up: To perform this exercise, one of the most advanced TRX training exercises, you will need a TRX suspension system. Set it up so that it is suspended to hang just above the floor. 

Starting Position:

trx body saw with pike image

  • Start by lying on the floor, face down.
  • Make sure you are facing away from the anchor system while you do so. Your feet should line up with the suspension straps.
  • Slip one foot into each handle. You should still be facing down so the hoops should hook nicely around your toes.
  • You should now be able to walk forward on your hands until your body is parallel to the ground.
  • You are in the starting position to perform this exercise.

Execution:

trx body saw with pike image

best trx exercises image

  • Inhale before you begin the exercise, which is one of the best TRX flexibility exercises.
  • From the starting position, lower yourself onto your hands as you would in a regular push up. Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle in relation to your body.  
  • Keeping your back straight and your core engaged, drive yourself upwards with your arms.
  • Before you reach the high plank position, bring your feet up to your hips as if you were performing a squat.
  • Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • Carefully lower your feet back down again, so that you return to the starting position.
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked:

Primary Movers: Pectoralis major, deltoids, rectus abdominis. 

Secondary Muscles: Glutes, hip flexors, triceps, erector spinae (lower back). 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Not maintaining proper form at all resting points. You should always ensure that your back is straight and that your head is in line with your spine, and tighten your abs and glutes to prevent your body from sagging in the middle. It is one of the more advanced TRX exercises after all, and if you can’t complete it with good form, try a less advanced variation before progressing. 
  • Rushing through the movement. Be sure to take your time to receive all of the benefits of the exercise, and to avoid injury (to your lower back or shoulders in particular). 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This is one of the great all-round TRX suspension trainer exercises since it uses several major muscle groups, with only the resistance of your own body weight. It will greatly complement any weight training routine, especially since the added instability forces your stabilising muscles into action. 
  • This is one of the more advanced TRX exercises, meaning you can start with a regular push up, or with squats, and build up to it incrementally. One you are able to complete it though, you’ll soon realise the impact that it has on your overall strength (and on toning your upper body). 

#17 - Body Saw with Pike

Set Up: For this exercise, you will need a TRX suspension trainer. Install the straps to a stable anchor point above you. The straps need to hang down to your calves, around 15-30cms above the ground so that your feet can fit in comfortably in a plank position. It's one of the more advanced TRX exercises, so only attempt it if you've completed the others on our TRX exercise list first! 

Starting Position:

trx body saw with pike image

  • Lay on the ground facing away from the anchor point. 
  • Place your feet securely into the handles with your toes pointing downwards.
  • Rest your weight on your forearms, rather than on your palms, so that you’re in a low plank position. 

Execution:

best trx exercises list

trx exercise image

  • Engage your core, inhale and straighten your body into a basic plank position.
  • While maintaining tension in your core and good form, move your body in a steady forwards and backwards motion (this is the ‘saw’). Exhale as you do so. 
  • Carefully move into a pike by lifting your glutes upwards and contracting your abdominal muscles, paying particular attention to good form. Your arms should remain securely planted on the floor, palms facing downwards.
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale. 
  • Exhale and slowly lower your body back into the original plank position.
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Rectus abdominis, hip flexors, stabilizing muscles. 

Secondary Mover: Subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor (shoulder muscles) and erector spinae (back)

Common Mistakes to Avoid: 

  • Forgetting to keep your feet together. Keep your feet together within the straps during the exercise to maintain balance and fluidity, and to avoid injury. It's one of the most complicated suspension strap exercises, so do be careful! 
  • Arching or bending your back. You should take extra care when it comes to your positioning during this suspension strap exercise so you don’t put pressure on your spine, especially during the pike. 
  • Using your back to push yourself backwards, rather than your shoulders. If you feel tension in your back, you are moving too quickly as the tension should be in your abdominal muscles. Pay particular attention to your motion when completing the saw section of the exercise. 
  • Progressing to this exercise too quickly. This is one of the most advanced exercises on our TRX exercises list, so make sure that you have mastered regular planks before you attempt this exercise. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • This TRX cables exercise is incredibly useful for improving your overall plank technique, as it will help to hone your balance and core strength more than most other plank-based exercises. It's one of the most useful TRX suspension trainer exercises. 
  • It’s fantastic for boosting strength in your core, lower back, and in your upper body holistically since most of your body weight is placed on this area. This means that it will help those who participate in competitive sports, as well as those looking to build muscle tone and strength throughout their body. The instability of the TRX System enhances the difficulty, and therefore the benefits! 

Before you go!

Now that you’ve got a go-to best TRX exercises list, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming a suspension training pro. You can refer back to these suspension trainer exercises at any time, whether you’re in the gym or you’re planning your workout beforehand. 

If you liked this list, you'll probably want to check out:

If you’re interested in making a start on your own career in fitness, be sure to check out our range of PT qualifications here, or download our free course prospectus for more information! 

References

  1. Heltne, T., Welles, C., Riedl, J., Anderson, H. and Howard, A., 2013. Effects of TRX versus Traditional Training Programs on Core Endurance and Muscular Strength.

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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