03/28/2014 10:50 am ET Updated May 28, 2014

TRX Training: The Full-Body, Core-Burning Workout You Should Try

Ever wonder about that crazy yellow strappy contraption in your gym? That's called the TRX... and it's awesome.

TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise) is an workout system that involves body weight and gravity. Invented by a Navy SEAL, Aaron Baldwin needed a workout system that could keep him in shape with little space.


As pictured above, the TRX is essentially two movable handles attached to a non-moving anchor (like a tree, a door frame, or a special TRX structure). The handles can be manipulated to target different body parts, and the resistance can be increased or decreased simply by moving ones body closer or further from the anchor. The really beautiful thing about the TRX is that the core must be engaged throughout the workout to stabilize, adding an extra bonus to your workout. Other benefits of the TRX include increased strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and joint stability, all with limited chance of injury because you're using your own body weight. However, some experts suggest that due to the strong emphasis on core strength, the TRX could be potentially dangerous to a more deconditioned client. Therefore, you should consult your doctor and a fitness professional before trying it out.

Another cool thing about the TRX is that it can involve multiple muscle groups during a single exercise, making several muscles synergistic (the focus area) and work together as a single unit. This increases muscle coordination and strength.

I often use the TRX throughout other workouts to target specific body parts, but will also do a total body TRX workout from time to time. What's great about a total body workout on the TRX is that it is easy to move from one exercise to the other, since only one piece of equipment is required. This means that time in the gym is reduced and your heart rate stays elevated continuously. I like to add cardio intervals between my exercises to keep things interesting. So without further ado, here's a TRX workout that I did last week. I will warn you, this is not for the faint of heart. I barely made it through the last circuit. So feel free to modify/leave out some of the cardio intervals and increase rest time between exercises.

TRX Full Body Workout:
Complete three rounds of each circuit, resting two full minutes between circuits.

Circuit 1:

TRX Bicep Curls
Jump rope 30s
TRX Triceps Extension
Mountain Climbers 30s
TRX Squat
In-in-out-out with two ropes
TRX Pike
TRX Plank

Circuit 2:

TRX Squat Jump
Side to Side Pop Squat with Step
Long Jump 30s
Twisting Toe Touch 30s
TRX Superman
180° Jump 30s
TRX Curtsy Lunge
Jump Lunge 30s

See slideshow for pictures and descriptions of exercises.

Photo credit: Flex and Shout