Sculpting your booty can take months. Building six-pack abs can take years. When you want to quickly reap the benefits of your strength workouts, your best bet is to target your shoulders. That’s because traps and delts start to show definition relatively quickly. Here are four exercises that can help you develop strong shoulders with just one tool: the TRX Suspension Trainer.
TRX High Row
The TRX High Row is the first of your upper body workout building blocks suitable for any fitness level. Stand facing your anchor point with arms extended and your palms facing down. Pull the handles toward your body, extending your elbows high and wide, and squeeze your shoulder blades at the terminal point of your range. Slowly extend your arms back to straight, and repeat.
A lot of folks struggle with form on TRX High Row, dropping their elbows too low, (which transfers the effort into the lats) or curling their wrists. Remember, your wrists should remain straight, your elbows should be high, and your forearms should squeeze toward your biceps. The motion will look like you’re trying to elbow someone in the ear. Mastering this move will put you in impressive company: Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin is also a big fan of this exercise.
TRX Y-Deltoid Fly
The TRX Y-Deltoid Fly is another great move to add to your upper body workout routine. As the name suggests, this one will help develop those teardrop-shaped muscles on your shoulders.
Stand facing the anchor point with your palms facing forward. Next, pull your arm back overhead into a “Y” position, maintaining tension on the Suspension Trainer straps at all times. (The straps should look like a straight line, rather than a drooping “U.”) Slowly lower your body back to your starting point with straight arms. When your arms are fully extended, repeat the move.
TRX Pull Ups
The TRX Suspension Trainer makes pull-ups accessible to any athlete, any time. If you don’t have a pull-up bar or monkey bars, TRX Pull Ups are a great way to train your body at home. If you can’t execute a standard pull-up, the Suspension Trainer can reduce the overall load of the exercise so you can build your strength and develop muscle memory for the move.
Start with your Suspension Trainer over-shortened. (Tip: over-shortened straps will result in loops that hang down like bunny ears.) Sit with your feet planted hip-distance apart directly under your anchor point, and grip the handles with your palms facing away from your body. Next, separate the handles laterally, think east-west, to engage your lats. Pull yourself up so your ears are between the handles. Return to your starting position by slowly lowering yourself back to the ground.
The trick to this move to to keep moving in a vertical line. You want to make sure that your hands are over your shoulders. Also, it’s okay to use your feet to help support your bodyweight. As you grow stronger, you can advance this move to sitting cross-legged and lifting yourself off the floor. Makes a traditional shoulder press with dumbbells look boring right?
TRX Atomic Push Up/Atomic Pike
Pulling and rowing aren’t the only options for an upper body workout. The TRX Atomic Push Up/Atomic Pike combo is largely viewed as a core exercise, but it’s also a great way to challenge your shoulders.
Start on the ground facing away from your anchor point with your feet in the foot cradles. Engage your core to lift your body into a hard plank position. Maintaining your plank, engage your chest by lowering your body down and press up to perform a push up. For the pike, drive your hips over your head into an inverted “V” before slowly lowering back to a plank position.
Whether you're hitting a group class or setting aside time in your home gym, these four moves will help you quickly build stronger, more toned shoulders. Want to get ripped by summer? These exercises are an excellent way to start.