TRX® has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating workout gear that goes where you go. It’s part of the brand’s identity: TRX founder Randy Hetrick created the Suspension Trainer™ to help him stay in shape as a Navy SEAL, no matter where he was deployed. But the straps aren’t the only TRX training tool that’s portable, lightweight, and easy-to-pack. The newest small-but-mighty star on the team is the TRX Bandit™, and it will change the way you think about strength bands. To help you get started, we’ve got suggestions for four ways you can use Bandit for the ultimate on-the-go workout.
But first, meet the Bandit
The Bandit is a universal-fit, ergonomic handle that attaches to one—or more!—strength bands to improve comfort, control, and performance in band exercises. If you’ve been avoiding strength bands because you don’t like heavy-gauge rubber digging into your palms, the Bandit is a game-changer. Slide on the Bandit, and suddenly your workout mentality changes from “How do I position this band so it doesn’t hurt my hands?” to “How many reps can I crank out today?”
The Bandit is available as a set of two handles only, or a kit of two handles and two strength bands.
Um… which ones are the Strength Bands?
Fair question. The fitness world has lots of stretchy bands and tubes, and keeping track of them can be confusing. Let’s review.
TRX Strength Bands are long, continuous loop bands that can be used for strength training exercises like squats or rows, as an aid in pull-ups, or for injury rehab. They’re usually about three feet long and at least ¼-inch thick. TRX Strength Bands come with assigned weight ranges from XXXL (that’s extra-extra-extra-light, or 5-15 pounds of resistance) to H, (which is heavy, or 60-150 pounds of resistance).
Exercise Bands, by contrast, are shorter and thinner—about 10 inches long and 1 mm thick—and more commonly used for toning smaller muscle groups. You probably know Exercise Bands as the ones you slide over your wrists for a plank or around your ankles for a plank jack.
Bandit is designed as a handle for Strength Bands, helping you turn an unassuming rubber loop into a where-did-that-burn-come-from strength training solution. It can slide over most strength bands to give you greater control over your movement and a more comfortable grip.
We’re all guilty of finding excuses to tap out early from strength sets from time to time, but—with Bandit—”this band feels weird on my hands” is no longer an excuse.
What can you actually do with the Bandit?
The short answer? Pretty much every kind of strength training exercise you could want. But since “it’s great for everything” isn’t especially specific or helpful, we’ve broken down four ways you can use the Bandit wherever you go, along with a sample circuit for each scenario.
Take your strength training outside
When you pass your days trapped inside your home or office or car, what’s the thing you long for most? More time outside! Toss your Bandit Kit in your backpack or fanny pack—yes, it will fit in most fanny packs—and get ready for a full body burn wherever you go.
Many Bandit exercises use your feet as the anchor point for your strength band, so it’s okay if you don’t have a tree, post, or doorknob to set up your strength band. With your foot or feet anchoring your Strength Band and your Bandit in place, you can do moves like a Squat, Squat to Press, Bicep Curl, Row, Hinge, and Resisted March.
Feel like squeezing in a set of Chest Presses? Start with your Strength Band stretched behind your back, slide a Bandit on each “looped” end of the band, and hammer out your reps just as you would with your TRX Suspension Trainer or TRX Dumbbells.
Ready to work? Start with this body-anchored circuit. You’ll complete 10-12 reps in each set and repeat for three rounds :
- Bandit Squats
- Bandit Bicep Curls (either single side, repeat on each arm, or doubles)
- Bandit Squat to Overhead Press
- Bandit Rows Left
- Bandit Rows Right
Buddy up with Bandit
Workouts are more fun with friends, and Strength Bands are perfect for partner workouts on the go. Share a band (and your Bandits) with your partner, and stand facing each other for single-side rows. Work on core strength and stability and tone your triceps by sharing a band for standing-facing-away tricep extensions.
Love cardio? Try a Strength Band Sprint. The lead partner will start inside the Strength Band, with the band looped around their hips. The following partner will stand outside the band, behind the lead partner, hands gripping the Bandit handles, which should be attached to the Strength Band. The following partner will sit back into a lunge, similar to a wall sit, pulling the handles toward their body. Once in position, the lead partner will attempt to sprint forward and pull the following partner with them.
If you prefer to take things slower, use the same setup with the lead partner dropping into forward-walking lunges.
Time for a workout? Experiment with this 15-minute partner circuit. Allow one minute for each move, followed by 20 seconds to reset and recover. Repeat the series for three total rounds.
- Bandit Partner Rows, Left Side
- Bandit Partnered Walking Lunges or Sprints (one partner leads, one resists)
- Bandit Partner Rows, Right Side
- Bandit Partnered Walking Lunges or Springs (switch partner positions)
If you’ve got a basketball goal, fence post, door knob, or tree available as a static point, try looping your Strength Band around the “anchor,” then threading one end of the band through the other to tighten it. Once your band is anchored, slide your Bandit onto the free end. Your band is now set up to do many of the same rotational moves you do with the TRX RIP Trainer™, like Woodchoppers and Trunk Rotations.
Using your foot as an anchor, you can set yourself up for TRX founder Randy Hetrick’s favorite move, an adaptation of the shotput launch he calls the Bandput. Start with one end of the band wrapped twice around midfoot, then shoulder the other end of the band—with the Bandit—on the same size of your body. For example, if the band is anchored to your left foot, you’ll load the Bandit on your left shoulder. (Think of it like a server carrying a tray at a restaurant.) Squat down to “load,” then use your hand to push the band diagonally up and away from your shoulder—throwing the away the tray—for an explosive finish.
Strength Bands can also stand in for the Pilates Reformer for certain Lagree-method glute-toning moves, like the Spider Kick. Start on all fours in a table top position with the Bandit handles on the Strength Band. Your palms should press the Bandit grips into the floor. Keep your left knee planted on the floor, and thread your right foot into the Strength Brands, so that the band is held in place by the arch of your foot. Moving through your hip, rotate your right knee out and high to your right side, then extend your right leg straight behind you.
Down for a Bandit rotation workout? Try the following combo. Allow 45 seconds for each side, with a 15 second break to change sides or reposition your Strength Bands after each move. Don’t forget to finish both sides before moving onto the next move! Complete the circuit twice for a 16 minute session.
- Trunk Rotations
- Wood Choppers
- Spider Kicks
Mix and Match
Your body loves when you mix things up. Falling back on the same exercises and modalities day after day is guaranteed to land you in a fitness rut. Switching up modalities, like adding Bandit exercises into your TRX Suspension Training™ routine, keeps things fresh.
It also makes for a great study in contrasts.
While you’re working, think about ways that similar movements feel different when you complete them with Strength Bands versus the Straps. Plan an entire workout of the “same” movements with these two different tools, and you’ll be shocked by the variations in muscle engagement.
If you’re exercising with a partner, this is also an easy way to create a minimal-equipment circuit: all you need is your Bandit Kit, Suspension Trainer, and a tree or post as an anchor point, and you can do a mix and match workout anywhere.
For a quick contrast circuit, try these five exercise pairings. You’ll begin with 45 seconds on the Suspension Trainer, then take 15 seconds to set up the same exercise for 45 seconds with the Bandit Kit. Complete all five moves—on both tools—before repeating the circuit. Workout time: 20 minutes.
- TRX Suspension Trainer Bicep Curls + Strength Band Bicep Curls
- TRX Suspension Trainer Chest Press + Strength Band Chest Press
- TRX Suspension Trainer Squats + Strength Band Squats
- TRX Suspension Trainer Tricep Extensions + Strength Band Tricep Extensions
- TRX Suspension Trainer Rows + Strength Band Rows
More Bandit tips, please!
These four ways to use the Bandit for the ultimate on-the-go workout are just the start; the world-class trainers at TRX Training Club have even more Bandit tricks up their sleeves!
Your Bandit comes with a free 7-day TTC trial, so log in and take advantage of the full library of live and on-demand classes. It’s not just Straps and Bandits on TTC. You can do RIP Training, bodyweight blasts, kettlebells, and more.
You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment or a massive space to get a ridiculously good workout. Whether you gravitate toward the TRX Suspension Trainer, the Bandit, or both, the ultimate on-the-go workout can be just as challenging as anything you’ll try in a fully-loaded gym. Grab a partner. Go outside. Set up next to the air conditioner in your hotel. How you train is up to you. We’ll build the tools; you bring the sweat.