Forget weights — work your core and build stronger arms and shoulders with this 8-move TRX workout

Woman exercising with TRX straps
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Working out with weights can be a great way to strengthen your muscles, but it's not the only way. Using just a pair of TRX straps, you can boost your bodyweight training to work your whole body without a dumbbell, kettlebell, or gym machine in sight. 

These straps are like the best resistance bands but less elastic. They attach to an anchor point and can support your body weight, allowing you to do variations on classic moves like push-ups, and exercises like the chest press, which you usually can't do without equipment. 

The most well-known suspension training brand is TRX, which produces the Home2 Suspension System. This comes with adjustable straps, a door anchor, and combined foot cradles and handles. But, if you don't have that to hand, all you need for this routine is a strap attached to an anchor. 

You can find these straps in many gyms, but they're also great for home sessions, like this short session developed by Planet Fitness trainer Teddy Savage. In just eight moves, it works muscles across your body, engages your core, and helps strengthen your upper body. 

How to do Teddy Savage's 8-move TRX workout

"This workout is all about increasing your strength and endurance by utilizing the TRX suspension trainer to keep your joints protected while you maximize the positive stress on your muscles and your heart," explains Savage. 

It's arranged as a high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) workout, so you'll do each exercise for 45 seconds, take a 15-second break, and then start on the next move. Complete all eight exercises, then repeat the circuit three times. 

To get the most from the routine, Savage recommends keeping your attention on your form. "Focus on the mind-muscle connection throughout and control your body positioning as you target different muscles and move your body through different planes of space," he suggests. 

1. TRX row

  • Have your TRX straps fully shortened to execute the movement.
  • Stand facing the anchor point with your feet hip-width apart with knees slightly flexed, and lean back.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the handles back, and imagine yourself cracking an imaginary acorn with every squeeze, keeping your core engaged throughout.
  • To make the exercise easier, walk your feet away from the anchor point. To make it more challenging, walk your feet closer to the anchor point.

2. TRX chest press

  • Adjust your TRX straps to mid-shin length to ensure you can get the full range of motion. 
  • Start by facing away from the anchor point with your feet hip-width apart and the straps in hand. Keep your core engaged and maintain a straight body position from head to toe.
  • Lower your body down slowly and under control to your desired depth, elbows bent. 
  • Exhale and press your palms into the handles to straighten your arms and complete the chest press.

3. TRX biceps curl

  • Adjust your TRX straps to mid-length for this pulling exercise that strengthens your biceps and improves grip strength.
  • Start by facing towards the anchor point with your feet hip-width apart, knees and elbows slightly flexed.
  • Lean back and pull yourself upwards by curling the handles towards your ears and keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the movement and control your speed.

4. TRX triceps extension

  • Keep your TRX straps at mid-length for this pushing exercise that strengthens your triceps.
  • Start by facing away from the anchor point with your feet about hip-width apart with elbows flexed and in line with your shoulders, and lean forward.
  • Exhale as you press the handles away from your face, squeezing your triceps, and keep your core braced throughout the movement.

5. TRX squat jumps

  • Adjust your straps to mid-shin length to give yourself enough slack to perform the explosive part of the move.
  • Face towards the anchor point with your feet shoulder-width apart and lean back slightly to create tension on the straps.
  • Keep your weight back on your heels as you lower your hips down and explode up while keeping your chest up.
  • Land softly into the squatting position and keep a slight tension on the straps throughout the exercise.

6. TRX skaters

  • As with the squat jumps, keep the TRX straps at mid-shin length. 
  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and face the anchor point.
  • Bound out laterally to your right side. Upon landing, sweep your left leg behind your right leg and hinge at the hips to absorb the impact with your lower body muscles.
  • Gather your balance and explode laterally to the opposite side repeating the same movement each time, keeping your eyes and chest up throughout.

7. TRX cycle jumps

  • Keep the TRX straps at mid-shin length as with the previous two exercises. 
  • Face the anchor point and start in a staggered stance with one foot back and the other forward.
  • Lower into a three-quarter lunge, then explode upwards, landing softly with the opposite foot forward, and the other behind.
  • Repeat the pattern for the remaining time. Keep your elbows flexed and core engaged, and control your breathing.

8. TRX mountain climbers

  • Fully lengthen the TRX straps for this last exercise. 
  • Start in a high plank position, elevate your feet, and place them into the foot cradles on each strap. 
  • Bing one knee upwards towards your chest and hold briefly. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite knee coming forward.
  • Move at your pace, but make sure that you keep your core tight to prevent strain on your lower back.

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James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.

Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.

He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.