How to Get a Total Body At-Home Workout with TRX
A single piece of equipment can transform the tiniest space into a fully functioning gym—and give you a killer body in just 30 minutes a day.
Two years ago I sold everything I owned, left New York City and embarked on a travel-the-world adventure. Since then I’ve lived in 24 different countries—from Iceland to Israel, Croatia to Colombia, Malta to Morocco. Bouncing from city to city, belonging to a gym just didn’t make sense.
That didn’t matter much, though, because I discovered TRX. The no-frills workout program basically involves sturdy straps and something to secure them to. If you’ve got those, you’ve got your workout. I’ve hooked my TRX to swing sets in South Africa, hotel doors in Dublin and trees overlooking the beaches in Bali. It’s the ultimate busy-man’s fitness hack, and the whole system weighs less than two pounds so it fits easily into your backpack or briefcase—wherever you go. More importantly right now, if you’re at home, you can use a TRX workout to simulate the entire gym experience in your living room.
TRX isn’t just a stopgap for your workout routine; it’s a legitimate program in its own right, provided you commit to the plan and stick with it. “People talk about TRX as a backup to traditional weights, but that’s selling it short,” says Justin Holle, owner of Denver’s e3 Fitness gym, and who designs and teaches TRX courses. Holle calls TRX a functional bodyweight workout that engages more muscles per exercise than traditional exercises. “When you do a pushup in TRX, you’re going to activate more of your core, glutes and shoulders,” he says. “You’ve got everything lit and fired up, as opposed to lying on a bench and pushing a barbell.”
If you’re ready to give TRX a try, purchase the straps (they come with handles and a door attachment) from TRX or Amazon. Next, give your whole body a workout with these essential moves.
Pushups (hands in the stirrups)
How to: Hook the TRX above your door. Facing away from the door, grab the stirrup handles and hold the straps in front of you, arms extended. Lean forward at about a 45-degree angle. Bend your elbows and do a pushup. Do 10 reps.
How to: Stand facing away from the door. Grab the TRX handles, palms facing toward each other. Extend arms in front of you at chest height. Slowly spread your arms wide to the sides, tilting your body forward (maintain a straight line) as you do. Squeeze your arms together to return to standing upright. Do 10 reps.
Pushups (feet in the stirrups)
How to: Adjust straps so the stirrup handles are knee-height. Place your hands on the ground and, one by one, put your feet in the stirrups behind you. Walk your hands forward until your body is in a straight line. Do 10 pushups. Note: This is an advanced move and increases the amount of bodyweight you’re pressing by 66 percent over the classic pushup. (So if it feels hard, that’s because it is.)
How to: Stand facing the door, holding handles at chest height, arms extended. Do 10 squats, using the handles for light support. “When people squat with weights, we tell them not to squat past 90 degrees but with TRX you can go deeper,” says Holle.
How to: Stand facing the door, about four feet away. Holding the handles at chest height, raise your left leg straight in front of you. Bend your right leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Straighten. Do 10 reps then repeat on the opposite side.
How to: Hook the TRX to the bottom of the door so that the straps are taught when your arms are straight. Grab the handles and face away from the door. Raise and lower your shoulders 20 times, keeping resistance on the straps. Inch your feet closer to the door or farther away to change the tension.
How to: Keep TRX hooked to bottom of the door. Stand facing away from the door, straps taut when arms are bent at 90-degree angles, shoulder height (like you would with a dumbbell shoulder press). Press arms up and over your head, being careful not to arch your back. Do 10 reps.
How to: Hook the TRX to the center of the door. Stand facing the door. Keep the straps taut with your arms extended at chest height. Bend elbows and do a basic row, like you would on the rowing machine, making sure to hold your body in a straight line without arching your back. Release. Do 12 reps.
How to: Stand facing the door, arms extended at chest height, straps taut. Keeping your body in a straight line, slowly open arms out to the sides and allow your body to tilt forward. Close arms and return to upright. Do 10 reps.
How to: Stand facing the door. Holding handles, extend arms in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing up, keeping tension on the straps. Bend arms and bring handles toward your shoulders into a biceps curl. (Be careful not to let your elbows dip.) Extend arms again. Do 10 reps.
How to: Stand facing away from the door. Holding TRX handles, extend arms in front of you at chest height, palms facing up. Raise arms 30 degrees, keeping straps taut. Bend elbows, allowing hands to fold back toward your shoulders as you lean your full body forward at an angle. Straighten arms and return to standing upright. Do 10 reps.
Isometric Abs Rollout
How to: Stand facing away from the door. Holding TRX handles, palms down, extend arms in front of you. Keeping arms straight, lean your body forward at a 45-degree angle and allow arms to rise so they are extended in front of your head. Engage your core and hold for 30 seconds, working up to 60. Do 3 reps.