Effective TRX Suspension Trainer Coaching
Paul’s essential guide on effective TRX Suspension Training Techniques, plus a complete list of the Top 106 TRX Suspension Exercises.
This TRX Suspension Training guide draws heavily upon the three TRX Suspension Trainer Courses that I have taken, plus the many hours of training time I have spent working with some of TRX’s premier coaches such as Fraser Quelch. For more on TRX Suspension Training, I highly recommend you read their blog.
The Eleven TRX Movement Patterns of Exercises
The Eleven Main Types of TRX Exercises. 1
- Plank: neutral spine, level pelvis, alignment of the ear ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Feet in dorsiflexion, feet spaced 6 inches apart. Glutes tight. Lats Tight. Shoulder away from ears
- Pull: rows and curls
- Push: triceps extensions and presses
- Rotate: two main rotation exercises, most TRX Suspension Trainer exercises are anti-rotation. With only two rotation-based exercises, this group probably should just be dropped.
- Squat: notable variations are the plyo squat and pistol
- Lunge: TRX is excellent for teaching the lunge pattern
- Hinge: The pike and hinge to press are excellent
- Hamstring Curls: hamstring runner and hip thrusts are excellent
- Lateral Flexion: Sideways tilting / side bends
- Core Flexion: sit-ups / crunches
- Combos: two or more TRX exercise chained together.
Some TRX Exercises incorporate more than one type, and nearly all exercises involve the plank position.
Good TRX Movement
TRX has a saying:
Conditions Change but Standards Remain
That is an extremely powerful phrase. It means that even when you scale up an exercise, you must perform it at the same level of control and execution as you with an easier version. These 5 simple words apply to all exercises, not just Suspension Trainer exercises.
Example: an Air Squat has certain points of execution. A single arm kettlebell squat has the same points of execution, even though have one kettlebell in the front guard creates an additional rotation load on your hips. It doesn’t matter. You don’t get to do the exercise sloppy because it’s harder. Conditions Change – But Standards Remain.
This principle applies to load as well. Your deadlift should look the same whether it’s at 135, 225, 315, or 405. Conditions Change – But Standards Remain.
The Six Positions of the TRX
Every exercise has exactly one position from which the exercise can be performed. There are six positions for TRX Suspension Training.
- Standing Facing Anchor (SF)
- Standing Facing Away from Anchor (SFA)
- Ground Facing Anchor (GF)
- Ground Facing Away from Anchor (GFA)
- Standing Sideways (SSW)
- Ground Sideways (SSW)
Names of the Adjustment Lengths
Performing the TRX Suspension exercises properly requires one to properly adjust the strap length. There are five adjustment heights to know.
- Over shortened: for the Inverted Row or L-Hold
- Fully Shortened: Row Exercises
- Mid Length: Standing Exercises
- Mid-Calf Length: Mid-Calf Length. Mid-calf refers to the height of the foot cradle being at the middle of your calf. You can also position the handle at your knee.
- Fully Lengthened: Pressing Exercises
Five Essential TRX Suspension Trainer Techniques
- Shorten the TRX Suspension Trainer: Depress the cam buck with your thumb and grasp the yellow adjust tab with the other hand. Draw backwards on the buckle and pull the tab up along the strap.
- Lengthen the TRX Suspension Trainer: Simultaneously depress both cam buckles and pull downwards away from the anchor point.
- Single Handle Mode
- Heels In
- Toes In
The Seven Sins of TRX
TRX listed Six Original Sins of Suspension Training. In my experience, there are Seven Deadly Sins a Coach Can Make. Number seven, substituting names, is my addition to the deadly sins.
- Starting incorrectly: Example: the low row starts with the arm straight leaning against TRX.
- Stopping: The TRX is dynamically scalable. We don’t stop if we are getting tired, we adjust the scaling dynamically, by changing our vector or increasing the base of support.
- Sawing: The TRX Suspension Trainer is designed to require athletes to provide even pressure on the cradles and the handles. No sawing, the TRX is not a pulley.
- Scraping: The straps should never touch or scrape against your arms.
- Slack: The TRX Straps should always have tension. There is no TRX exercise that involves putting slack into the straps.
- Sagging: Shoulders and Hips cannot be allowed to sag. Sagging degrades movement quality and creates risk of injury.
- Substituting Names: TRX exercises have specific names. As a coach, it’s your job to know the real names of each every TRX exercise. Don’t make up new names, because you don’t know the official names.
Adjust Resistance of the TRX Trainer
- Adjust Vector of Movement
- Adjust Base of Support.
- Adjust Starting Position to Adjust Resistance. The pendulum principle.
NAPSMR is an acronym for the way you need to coach the TRX Suspension Trainer. It’s a game-changer in how coaches should coach the TRX. Use NAPSMR when explaining every exercise.
- NAME of the Exercise
- ADJUSTMENT of the TRX
- POSITION relative to the anchor point
- START posture
- MOVEMENT: line of Action
- RETURN to Start.
Example of NAPSMR
- N: TRX Low Row
- A: Fully Shortened
- P: Standing facing the anchor point
- S: Shoulder blade down and back, elbow bent, hips extended, knees straight
- M: Maintain planks position and you pull your body towards the handles.
- R: Reduce the pulling force to return to the starting point.
Top 106 TRX Suspension Exercises
- Plank on Elbows
- Plank on Hands
- Hip Abduction (in Plank)
- Leg Extension (one foot in the cradle)
- Incline Press (one foot in the cradle)
- Low Rollout
- High Rollout
- Kneeling Oblique Rollout
- Plank Single Leg
- Supine Plank on elbows
- Supine plank on hands
- Supine Plank with Pull-through
- Mountain Climber
- Body Saw
- Body Saw to Push Press to Crunch
- Squat Jump
- Single-Leg Squat: Pistol Squat
- Single-Leg Squat with Hop
- Overhead Squat: note the backs of your hands are in the cradles
- Assisted Lunge / TRX Split Squat
- Step Side Lunge / Lateral Lunge
- Step Back Lunge
- TRX Balance Lunge / Skater Lunge
- Balance Lunge with Hop and Knee Raise
- Crossing Balance Lunge / Curtsy Lunge
- Abducted Balance Lunge (foot in cradles)
- Bulgarian Lunge
- Bulgarian Lunge with Hop
- Crossing Lunge: Curtsey Lunge into Knee Raise
- Abducted Lunge
- Side-Step Lunge
- Sprinter Start
- Standing Hip Extension (hold the strap with your hands)
- Cycle Jump
- Chest Press
- Low Chest Press
- Chest Press Single Leg
- Chest Press Single Arm
- Chest Press with Inside Grip
- Chest Fly
- Triceps Press / Skull Press
- Kickbacks / These are basically standing triceps extensions facing the anchor point. Better with Exercise Tubing.
- Triceps Extension (kneeling) / Weak Exercise
- TRX Clock Press / Archer Press
- TRX Plank Press
- TRX Hip Hinge
- Hinge to Plank
- Hinge to Chest Press / or 1 Arm Hinge to Chest Press
- Overhead Back Extension
- High Row
- Mid Row
- Low Row
- Single Arm Mid Row
- Power Pull
- Low Fly / A Fly
- T Fly
- I Fly
- L Fly
- W Fly
- Split Fly
- Y Deltoid Fly
- Biceps Curl Supinated Grip / TRX Bicep Curl 2
- Biceps Curl Pronated Grip
- Biceps Clutch
- Biceps Curl Single Arm
- Inverted Row
- Inverted Row Single Arm
- Curl to Press
TRX Hamstring Curls
- Hamstring Curl (hips grounded)
- Hamstring Curl (hips elevated)
- Hamstring Runner
- Hip Press
- Hip Press Single Leg
- Curl to Hip Press
- Supine Hip Abduction
- Torso Rotation
- Resisted Rotation / Hip Check
TRX Lateral Flexion
- Standing Hip Drop
- Side Plank |
- Side Plank with Hip Drop
- Side Plank with Reach
- Side Plank on Elbow
- L – Hold
TRX Core Flexion
- Assisted Sit-ups
- Bent Leg Raise
- Oblique Leg Raise / Straight Leg Raise
- Supine Runner
- TRX Situps
- Resisted Situps
- TRX Crunch on elbows
- Crunch on hands
- Oblique Crunch
- TRX Knee Sweep
- TRX Pot Stirrer
- TRX Spiderman
- Squat to Y Fly
- Hip Hinge to Squat
- Pushup to Pike
- Plank with Chest Taps
- Crunch with Chest Taps
- Pushup to Pike
- Body Saw to Crunch
- Atomic Pushup
- Oblique Atomic Pushup
- TRX Burpee
- Muscle-up: Pistol Start to Row to Triceps Press
- TRX says there are seven, but I think eleven is a better breakdown. ↩