Tackle your New Year strength goals with some of our favorite TRX core strength and upper body strength workouts in the videos below!
A six-pack is nice, but your core is more than just those elusive decorator muscles. Regardless of whether your torso will ever be on the cover a fitness magazine, a strong core can help you move and feel better.
In the fitness world, the TRX Suspension Trainer is the core whisperer. Even people who dread holding a standard plank can get results. That’s because every Suspension Trainer exercise requires the user to execute a movement with one muscle group while stabilizing through another group—usually the core muscles.
While standard weight-bearing exercises—like loaded squats or shoulder presses— require core stabilization, the Suspension Trainer poses a unique challenge through the stabilizing loop at the top of the tool. (Think of it as the secret sauce of the Suspension Trainer.) With weights, it’s difficult to tell if you’re properly stabilizing your core without seeing your form in a mirror or getting feedback from a trainer. The stabilizing loop, by contrast, provides a literal gut check: if you don’t engage your core when performing an exercise, you’ll wobble. Your core, in response, automatically engages to keep you steady.
And that’s just the ancillary core work on the Suspension Trainer.
In addition to moves where core engagement is a building block, there are plenty of Suspension Trainer exercises that target your abs, glutes, shoulders, and quads. Let’s walk through three of the classics: the TRX Crunch, TRX Planks (served two ways!), and the TRX Atomic Pike. All three exercises can be done with your straps adjusted to the mid-calf length.
For the traditional TRX Plank, start facing away from the anchor point, with your toes in the foot cradles. Your knees should be on the ground. Press the bridges of your feet into the foot cradles, engage your quads, and extend your legs. As your knees straighten, you’ll feel yourself lifting into the plank. Tighten up those abs to keep your plank afloat!
Hold the plank as long as you can, up to one minute. If your hips begin to droop toward the floor—you’ll usually feel the sagging start with pressure in your lower back—either squeeze your glutes to restore your plank to its original glory, or drop your knees to the floor. When exiting a traditional TRX Plank, always lead with your knees, never with your hips.
The second variation on the plank is a TRX Standing Plank. For this version, you’ll start standing, facing away from the anchor point, with straps fully lengthened. The TRX Standing Plank is similar to a forearm plank, but with more of a stability challenge.
Standing straight up, thread your forearms into the foot cradles, engage your core, and begin walking back. (That core engagement may feel silly when you’re upright, but it’s important as you approach a steep angle.) Once you hit a steep angle—trust us, you’ll feel it—simply hold that plank. Your shoulders, abs, glutes, and quads have to work together to maintain your form. When you’re ready to exit, you can either drop your knees to the floor, or walk forward to your upright position.
For the TRX Crunch, start facing away from the anchor point, with your toes in the foot cradles, adjusted to the mid-calf length. Using either your palms or your forearms as your upper body base, you’ll lift to a TRX Plank, draw your knees into your chest, then extend back into the plank. Don’t worry about your speed; in fact, if you want to make this move harder, you’ll actually slow down your crunches.
Finally, the move everyone loves to hate, TRX Atomic Pikes. Like the TRX Crunch, you’ll start facing away from the anchor point, with your toes in the foot cradles. Using either your palms or your forearms as your upper body base, you’ll lift to a TRX Plank. From that plank position, lift your hips as high as you can. The more you engage your quads and straighten your legs, the easier it will be to lift your hips. (Note: Bent knees are not your friends.) Return from your pike into a plank position, and then add a push-up to the move.
While we love a good endurance workout, don’t be tempted to rush through these core moves with a rep count challenge. Here, slower movements yield better results.
Like its name suggests, your core muscles are at the center of your daily functional activities. Use your TRX Suspension Trainer to invest a little time each day in building a stronger core. The payoff will be a lifetime of better movement.