If there’s one thing that has taken over the world of fitness in the last decade more than anything else, it’s resistance training. One workout that has really taken off during that time is the TRX System, which was developed by Randy Hetrick. Hetrick is a former United States Navy Seal that was deployed in the late 1990’s. Without much equipment around, Hetrick got tired of doing regular old push-ups to train.
Instead, he devised a plan to workout using nothing but parachute webbing and a jiu-jitsu belt, coming up with a system of resistance bands that would be known as TRX. After getting his workout system popular in college, a group of investors decided to hop on board and he has been able to spread the system around the world. Now, it’s being used by athletes, military members and more.
So what is the TRX system all about? There’s more to it than just some belts and parachute webbing. Let’s take a look inside TRX and see if it might be the right workout plan to get you lean and shredded while dropping weight.
Behind the TRX Workout
The idea of TRX is to present a resistance trainer where you are using your own bodyweight. This is done through a suspension trainer that you attach to your wall or any other support beam, and Hetrick says that it takes just 60 seconds to get set up. From there, you can do a series of workouts to get in shape, with workouts designed to tackle any area that you might want to improve. Here are the official TRX workouts that are offered through their official app:
Total-Body Strength – A 15 minute program designed to build strength instead of focusing on cardio with quick exercises that develop all areas of your body.
Core Strength – For those looking for a quick workout, this is a 10 minute workout that will develop your core muscles, perfect for those that want to build their abs.
Total-Body Fusion – With a bigger focus on cardio, the total-body fusion is 20 minutes long and looks to burn calories with both upper and lower body training.
Lean Body – The longest standard workout on the TRX system, this 30 minute program will test your endurance as you focus on both cardio and strength building. It’s best if you are at least acclimated with TRX before getting started.
Lower Body – Exactly what it sounds like, this 15 minute program focuses on glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves only.
Upper Body – Just like the lower body workout, this is a 15 minute workout that is designed for arms and chest muscles.
Strength for Running – Runners that are looking to build their endurance can work on important core and leg muscles with this 15 minute plan.
Weight Loss – The one that we’re all looking for, the weight loss is designed to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time, focusing on cardio for 20 minutes.
TRX For Yoga – Like the running workout, this Yoga workout is used to build the muscles you need most for getting through your long yoga sessions.
There are many different exercises used during a TRX workout. Upper body exercises include the chest press, low row, power pull and y fly. If you want to focus on the lower body, then hamstring curls, front squats and balance lunges might be perfect for you. Core muscles can be built on the TRX system using crunches, planks and hip drops. That’s just a taste as there are dozens of exercises to choose from.
What to Know About TRX
Right off the bat, the first thing that you need to know about the TRX system is that it’s not really suggested for beginners. Critics have said that you need to have at least some core strength before getting the full effectiveness of the workouts. If you have concerns, try building some strength doing simple sit-ups, push-ups, squats and other basic exercises that don’t require equipment.
The next biggest thing is the cost. Sure, you won’t have to sign up with an expensive gym or buy free weights, but the TRX system is not cheap. Because of how simple it is, TRX has drawn some criticism for being a simple concept that costs a lot. The first TRX system is the suspension trainer, which is the lightest of the bunch and is built for beginners. Even this one can run you $130. Each gym comes with printable workouts, though the cheapest option does not have any DVD workouts that come with it.
The system above that one is the TRX Home trainer that you can take with you on the road, which is a huge bonus for those that aren’t always working out at home. This gym costs about $180. The main difference here is that the suspensions are tougher and come with five more printable workouts and six video workouts. The next step up is the Pro Kit, though it’s a more advanced system that is used for personal trainers.
This system also comes with 21 total printable and video workouts, and also gives you an extra anchor instead of the standard two. The final TRX system is the Tactical Gym that has rubber handles. There are actually fewer workouts than the Pro Kit, but does come with all of the app workouts unlocked and can be used anywhere. Both the Pro and Tactical Gym sets cost around $250, though people working out at home are better suited for the basic or Home Gym package.
It really takes some practice to get accustomed to using the TRX system. You’ll realize that the first time that you try a workout like the chest press, you might feel like the straps are about to fall off. You need to anchor the straps to something sturdy. If you don’t have anything sturdy inside of your home, you can use something like a tree or pole that can hold your weight. The standard weight limit is 350 pounds, so most people will find that they are able to be supported.
Celebrities Using TRX
Since TRX is getting a lot of attention and becoming one of the hottest gym workouts (since it’s a simple set up for gyms and people at home), celebrities are getting in on the craze. Here are some of the biggest celebs that have used TRX.
Jennifer Lopez – Gunnar Peterson is one of the biggest names in personal training, and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez trains with him all of the time. After getting bored with standard workouts, Lopez started to use TRX with Peterson and is in the best shape of her life.
Jaime Pressly – “My Name is Earl” star Jaime Pressly said that she was bored with workouts before finding TRX, and now works out her core muscles countlessly and says that she enjoys pushing herself.
Mary J. Blige – Singer Mary J. Blige says that she takes her TRX system on the road wherever she goes, getting a great workout while on tour, which is no easy task.
Ellen Pompeo – After giving birth, actress Ellen Pompeo decided to lose the baby weight by enlisting Gregg Miele to get her involved with TRX training.
Summing it Up
TRX has proven to be a great system with some low impact, though it’s not without its flaws. Having to have some core strength built up before even starting can be a little much to ask, but you don’t need as much as some critics have said. It also might be scary at first since you feel like you’ll fall flat on your face, but getting over that fear will give you a great workout.
How many calories you burn while using a TRX workout depends on your size, but you can expect to burn at least 275 calories per hour if you are a smaller person around 125 pounds. Those that have more weight to lose can find themselves burning around 500 calories. Not only are you burning calories while working out with this cardio hybrid, but you are also building whichever muscles you want. If you want to focus on abs, there are workouts that can last up to an hour which you can find on a free TRX app.
It will take a lot of commitment to see the results that you want from TRX, as you do have to pay at least $150 for a system unless you already belong to a gym. There are workouts that come with each of the packages, but you can find a lot of the exercises on long for free, including YouTube through the official TRX profile. You should see results within 30 days, though the weight loss might not be as drastic as you are also building muscle. Just make sure to stick with the plan and you’ll be looking great in no time.