If you’re looking up the benefits of TRX training, we can hazard a guess that you’re trying to work out whether it would be a beneficial exercise method for you to try out.
You’ve definitely come to the right place, as OriGym have put together a list of all the relevant benefits of TRX suspension training, so that you’re armed with everything that you need to know before giving them a go.
Before we jump right in, have you ever considered pursuing a financially rewarding career within the fitness industry? If so, be sure to check out OriGym’s L3 PT Diploma.
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What is TRX training?
TRX is an acronym for total resistance exercise, which is a form of full body workout involving suspension from specialised TRX training bands.
One of the most celebrated benefits of TRX is its simplicity. Rather than relying on weights or other equipment, the exercises use your bodyweight as leverage, so they’re easy to perform and can be done almost anywhere with very little kit.
TRX training is unique in the world of fitness because it allows you to change your centre of gravity at will, which is foremost on the list of advantages of suspension training. Practitioners attach the straps to a secure base and perform an array of exercises while suspended.
The exercise method is popular because it’s simple to perform and the exercises don't place undue strain on the body. The many TRX benefits are enjoyed across the world by everyone from professional athletes to the military, who find that using the body's resistance to exercise is an effective way to develop fitness, build muscle and work on flexibility.
TRX has an intriguing history. It was invented by US Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, who brought the advantages of suspension training to a much wider audience.
Hetrick was searching for a simple but effective alternative to traditional pushups. The very first TRX system was made up of a parachute and jiu-jitsu belt, and it's this level of simplicity which has made TRX so popular over the years. When he left the Navy, Hetrick got an MA from Stanford and began work on bringing the benefits of the TRX workout to the rest of the world.
The Benefits of TRX Training
#1 - It Can Be Performed Anywhere
One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of TRX is that it requires hardly any setup, limited space, and can be performed in any setting from a home gym to a garden (or even in your living room). Many are put off by repeated trips to the gym, and even more so by the prospect of a home gym which would require weights, treadmills, and a plethora of other expensive equipment.
None of this is a concern with TRX. All that you need to perform the exercises is a pair of straps, which are reasonably cheap (especially in comparison to weights), and extremely versatile, so you’ll be able to get all the benefits of TRX suspension training without breaking the bank.
They’re lightweight too, and small enough to fit in your gym bag. Being able to carry your gym around with you is a huge advantage, and just one of the many benefits of TRX that has made it so popular. This also means that you can combine TRX training with other forms of exercise; a good example would be a trip to the park.
Since all that TRX training requires is a pair of suspension belts and something to attach them to, you might want to go for a run and finish off your workout by fastening the equipment to a tree. In doing so, you can get all the benefits of TRX workouts alongside those of running. It saves time, effort, and money.
You can also take the equipment to work, on holiday - anywhere you like. People often discuss the advantages and disadvantages of TRX, but nothing can match it in terms of sheer convenience and portability. The physical and mental benefits of TRX are manifold, so it’s great that you can take the equipment wherever you go, and never have to miss an exercise session again.
Portability is king with TRX, which means that you can reap the many advantages of suspension training wherever you are in the world, and in nearly any setting.
#2 - It’s Extremely Versatile
Let's face it; many of us tire of repeating the same set of exercises day in day out, be that at home or in the gym.
If this is something that you yourself have struggled with, you'll be glad to know that the TRX has helped many overcome the mental fatigue associated with excessive repetition. Despite being an incredibly simple piece of equipment, the TRX suspension straps actually enable you to perform over 300 different types of exercises!
It might seem difficult to believe, but the TRX benefits can be applied to a vast spectrum of exercises including lunges, push ups, crunches and army crawls. This means that different parts of your body can enjoy the varied benefits of TRX suspension training, and you can purchase the kit safely in the knowledge that no area of fitness is overlooked.
That has the knock on effect of dramatically simplifying your workout, which is another one of the big TRX benefits. Gyms are often busy, and moving from one piece of equipment to another takes time and often involves queuing. Having a single piece of kit that eliminates all of this is one of the more profound advantages of suspension training, and one of the main reasons that so many people choose it.
Simply adjusting the position of the straps is usually enough to transition easily from one exercise to another. For example, if you want the benefits of a TRX workout for your core, you might choose to perform a plank with the straps positioned at mid-calf height and your feet slotted into the foot cradles.
Squats are just as easy, and involve adjusting the straps to mid-length, holding the handles, stepping back until you experience slight tension, and then performing the squat. One of the major advantages of suspension training lies in shortening transition times, and therefore workout length. It’s perfect for those who work a busy schedule or are pressed for time.
The sheer level of versatility offered by TRX is one of the major benefits of suspension training, and means that it’s suitable for everyone, regardless of their current fitness level or goals.
#3 - It’s Excellent for Calisthenics
Calisthenics are bodyweight exercises designed to target big groups of muscles. They have many of the same benefits as TRX, since they can technically be viewed as a form of calisthenics, but have been popular for much longer.
Calisthenics is a form of resistance training, and has many of the same advantages of suspension training in the sense that it doesn’t require any specific equipment, and you'll be using your own body weight (with only a helping hand from gravity) for the exercises. It’s been around for a very long time, as the word has ancient Greek origins, and it is used to build up aerobic fitness and, most importantly of all, develop strength. It’s great to see that the benefits of TRX workouts extend into much older forms of exercise!
The TRX System makes it exceptionally easier for the user to perform calisthenics outside of suspension training with regular practice, especially since it targets your stabilising muscles further. Many of the movements are the same, as both exercise methods involve some level of functional training, for example; squatting, jumping, planking, lunging, pushing, pulling, or hinging.
Being able to perform calisthenic exercises easily and in any setting is one of the most important benefits of TRX suspension training. Exercises like one-legged squats, pike pushups and standing rolls are all intrinsic parts of calisthenic training, and they can all be performed using TRX.
When weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of TRX you might consider the type of workout that you're after. One of the big benefits of TRX and callisthenics is that they're both all-encompassing, and great for building overall strength.
There’s also a thriving community around calisthenic exercises, and they’re often performed in group settings. Classes take place in parks and public spaces, and the rise of so-called “urban calisthenics” has fostered a thriving social scene. Of course, the benefits of suspension training include its portability, so it's easy to join in with these sessions.
Who wouldn't want all the benefits of TRX workouts and calisthenics combined, all within a friendly group setting?
#4 - It Offers Different Forms of Resistance (with Different Benefits)
It’s common knowledge that many TRX benefits are associated with its versatility. This allows users to mix up their routines and target a variety of different muscle groups and components of fitness during their training.
One of the less widely-known benefits of TRX training, however, is that it provides the user with different forms of resistance to work against. This is quite rare, and it may be news to some that different types of resistance even exist!
There are three separate principles of resistance that can be applied during TRX exercises. Vector resistance is the most common, and is associated with the angle that your body is positioned at during an exercise. Stability resistance depends on how your feet are positioned, and pendulum resistance can be changed by altering the angle of the TRX System itself.
It means that no workout is the same, and that an individual may easily scale their exercises up or down in terms of difficulty. It also means that it's easy to focus on a variety of different muscle groups during a single workout.
For example, a simple TRX push-up can be altered to incorporate a greater level of stability resistance compared to other resistance forms by simply moving the feet further apart. This increases the user’s overall stability and makes the exercise easier to perform.
Or, the user may perform the push-up at a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor so that less of their body weight is loaded onto their upper body, and is instead placed on their feet; this is an example of how vector resistance can be used to make the exercise less challenging.
Pendulum resistance would be created by the user inserting their feet into the foot straps of the TRX, as they must then work against the unstable resistance created by the TRX System itself (the tendency for the straps to swing like a pendulum). This would make the push-up more challenging, as not only will the upper body be loaded with the user’s own body weight, but their stabilising muscles will have to work against this pendulum motion.
The benefits of the TRX System are therefore able to be gained at all fitness levels. Pendulum resistance is the more complex of the three, but learning to work against it opens up an array of new possibilities when it comes to how an individual trains.
Mastering this allows the user to progress to complex floor exercises that involve their feet being slotted through the straps, and helps them to yield many benefits for their upper body in particular.
Longevity is another one of the main benefits of TRX; by adjusting the form of resistance that you are either using to your advantage or working against, you can maintain an incredibly scalable workout through performing these exercises.
#5 - Builds Strength & Corrects Muscle Imbalances
The benefits of TRX are evident when it comes to developing muscular strength. One of the primary advantages of suspension training is how quickly and easily it conditions the muscles, especially since you are using your own body weight as the main form of resistance rather than using free weights and this is a more natural way of exercising.
In their study concerning the 'Effects of Instability Versus Traditional Resistance Training on Strength, Power and Velocity in Untrained Men', José Luis Maté-Muñoz (PhD) et al report that they found no significant difference in the improvements made between untrained individuals who embarked upon a weight training programme, and those that exercised using a TRX System over a peroid of seven weeks. They state:
Despite such improvements no significant differences were detected in the posttraining variables recorded for the two experimental groups. These data indicate that a circuit training program using two instability training devices is as effective in untrained men as a program executed under stable conditions for improving strength (1RM), power, movement velocity and jumping ability.
As well as being highly effective for developing strength (and if you want to learn more about this, check out our CPD in Strength & Conditioning), this form of exercise is incredbily useful for eradicating muscle imbalances.
It’s easier than you might imagine to develop a muscle imbalance, and it can even happen naturally, but the biggest downfall to this occurring is the fact that they are usually difficult to fix. That being said, you’ll probably be glad to know that one of the biggest benefits of a TRX workout is just how correctional these exercises are.
The system encourages correct form, involves a range of compound exercises, and therefore works the largest muscle groups within the body more or less evenly when a range of these exercises are completed.
This means that muscle imbalances are wiped out far easier than they are during weight training, since even the most compound free weight exercises are still placing additional pressure on the weaker muscles in question. It’s best to build a solid foundation with TRX exercises and your own body weight before incorporating these into your routine if you want an imbalance within your muscles to be fully repaired.
Overall, the TRX engages your entire body and forces multiple muscle groups to work together, so it’s much easier to exercise effectively if you are suffering from an imbalance.
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#6 - It Offers a Full-Body Workout
An effective full-body workout is the Holy Grail of any gym visit, but it can be difficult to come by. One of the major TRX benefits is that it will work the entire body with minimal fuss, since there is no switching between machines or different types of equipment.
We’ve already talked about how variety is one of the big advantages of suspension training, but even the most basic TRX exercises work the body in full. This is due to the system’s ability to shift the individual’s centre of gravity, especially when pendulum resistance is applied, and it therefore forces the muscles to work in tandem.
The body becomes the object of resistance in any exercise, which means that even if you’re explicitly working on (for example) your core, you’ll also be providing other body parts with a workout too by enlisting the help of the stabilising muscles.
The TRX ensures that no area is excluded, which is one of the fundamental advantages of suspension training.
That being said, it is also completely possible to zero in on certain areas. For example, you might want to target your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves through squats, your biceps through curls, or your lats, rhomboids and traps through rows, but the beauty of TRX is that the rest of your body is being put through its paces too.
Under normal circumstances, a full-body workout would take hours of swapping between equipment and formulating complicated exercise plans.
It would almost certainly require a professional gym (or a very expensive home gym setup), but that’s where the benefits of TRX workouts come in. Being able to work on your entire body with favourable results when it comes to strength and muscle growth with a single piece of equipment is a huge advantage.
#7 - It’s a Brilliant Form of Cardio
One of the most basic advantages of suspension training is that you set the pace. You can decide whether you want a workout to be slow-paced or more challenging and intense, and the ability to instantly switch between these levels is something that draws most people to the system in the first place.
It gets better. Whether the workout that you choose is of a low or high-intensity, it will work your cardiovascular system due to the fact that performing compound exercises works multiple muscle groups at once. This requires a lot of work from your heart since it must pump blood to each of these areas simultaneously, and it is quite literally put through its paces!
Leslie E. Smith (M.D.) et al in their study 'The Acute and Chronic Health Benefits of TRX Suspension Training in Healthy Adults' state:
Regular participation in TRX Suspension Training improves muscular fitness and positively modifies several major CVD risk factors including reductions in body fat, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and waist circumference.
Many imagine that the TRX benefits are reserved solely for strength training, but that simply isn’t the case. In fact, TRX even offers a special “TRX cardio circuit” training routine which is widely available and will help you to recieve all of the benefits for your heart and lungs. It’s super high-intensity, and you’ll be surprised how hard this unassuming piece of kit can push you.
The cardio circuit is a 60-minute interval workout led by Buddy Lee, an Olympian who specialises in jump rope training for professional athletes. Buddy combines the many benefits of TRX suspension training with those of the jump rope, and in doing so creates an exceptionally fast paced, high intensity workout that will put even the most seasoned athletes through their paces. You’ll get all the advantages of suspension training with a high-intensity twist.
It might not be the best place to start for absolute beginners, but the circuit does prove that the benefits of TRX extend into the area of cardio and anaerobic exercises. Of course, there’s no obligation to purchase this optional extra, and it’s perfectly feasible to get an effective cardio workout from the system by yourself.
#8 - It Strengthens Your Core Like Nothing Else
Increased core strength is one of the main benefits of TRX training that’s discussed fairly frequently. Ask any casual gym goer to summarise the benefits of this form of workout and they’ll instantly mention something about the core. They wouldn’t be wrong either as few workout routines, individual exercises or pieces of equipment offer quite the same number of benefits as the TRX does for the core.
It’s all about balance. The benefits of TRX suspension training extend well beyond traditional core exercises because they force your body to engage the area through every small movement. If you're unsure on how to do this properly, be sure to check out our full guide on how to engage your core here.
TRX uses a single anchor point, which means that your body has to constantly resist rotation (or pendulum resistance, as mentioned earlier). Even a tiny movement engages the core, which must react to remain balanced. This is one of the most important benefits of TRX, and it makes a massive difference in the long term.
The progress that you make in strengthening your core won’t always be noticeable straight away, but one of the major benefits of TRX is just how easily it engages the abdominal muscles. You might be performing squats, but your core will still be toiling hard in the background, making constant adjustments to keep you stable. It’s unlikely that you’ll notice this at the time, but long term use will lead to a much firmer and more toned core, simply because those muscles have been perpetually in use. Commitment is key, and you’ll enjoy the many benefits of TRX workouts if you use the system more regularly.
Of course, suspension training also enables you to perform an array of core isolating strength activities too, and these will be all the more effective since your core is primarily targeted. These include crunches, oblique crunches, planks, atomic push-ups, double leg raises, and more!
#9 - It is Low-Impact and Safe
Another one of the big (and perhaps most overlooked) benefits of TRX suspension training is how low-impact it is.
While this may not look like the case, especially when you see the cables straining against a tree in the park or a heavy anchor point in the gym, we can assure you that one of the biggest benefits of this exercise method is the minimal impact that it has on your body. This makes TRX suitable for nearly everybody including beginners, the elderly and anyone who has suffered from an injury or has problems with their joints.
Unlike with nearly every other piece of exercise equipment in the world, you remain in complete control of your workout. That’s because you are your own resistance machine, and your body is utilizing its own weight to workout. This is one of the most profound TRX benefits, and we can’t stress just how important it is.
Being able to control your workout simply by adjusting the angle of your body ensures that you never inflict too much pressure on your joints, and that your muscles are never overtaxed. Every exercise is quite literally as difficult as you want to make it. This is rare, and it’s why many value the benefits of a TRX workout above any other exercises.
The system puts you in perfect sync with your movements, and helps you to understand where your limits are and how to safely ease through them. Since you aren’t using an external resistance source, it’s very difficult to over push and cause excess strain, which is another one of the many benefits for beginners.
Impact is an important thing to remember when you’re weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of TRX. If you’ve suffered injuries in the past or had problems with joint pain, then you will almost certainly enjoy the benefits of this exercise method. It’s a low-impact way of exercising, which means that you’ll be able to keep fit and work on your body without risking damage.
Sustainability and safety are key components to any exercise, but they’re some of the most profound benefits of TRX workout.
Now that you know everything that there is to know about the benefits of TRX suspension training, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice and try out this fantastic method of exercising for yourself.
After all, you won’t find a more effective yet low impact bodyweight training program!
Before you go, if you are interested in learning more about how you can make your way into a career within the fitness industry, go take a look at OriGym’s CIMSPA accredited Personal Training Diploma here, or download our course prospectus for more information on the range of courses that we offer.
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- José Luis Maté-Muñoz, Antonio J. Antón Monroy, Pablo Jodra Jiménez, Manuel V. Garnacho-Castaño. (2014) Effects of Instability Versus Traditional Resistance Training on Strength, Power and Velocity in Untrained Men. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (13), 460 - 468.
- Smith, L.E., Snow, J., Fargo, J.S., Buchanan, C.A. and Dalleck, L.C., 2016. The acute and chronic health benefits of TRX Suspension Training® in healthy adults. Int J Res Ex Phys, 11(2), pp.1-15.
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