I’m going to give you my personal TRX review on this popular suspension trainer. Soon you’ll know if it’s worth your money.
There are a lot of pros with the TRX, but there are also a good amount of cons. You’ll need to know about all of them before deciding to buy one.
I’ll be honest, if you’re reading this there’s a good chance the TRX may not be the best piece of exercise equipment for you.
It all depends.
I’ve notice some people love the TRX and get some fantastic results with it. While for others it ends up collecting dust in a closet.
You’ll find out if the TRX is going to be right for you with my review.
What Does TRX Stand For?
TRX stands for Total Resistance Exercise. You can use this piece of exercise equipment to workout your entire body.
Also TRX sounds cool.
The TRX was created by former Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick while deployed in Southeast Asia. He needed a way to stay in shape on the road in remote locations.
He used an old Jiu-Jitsu blue belt and some parachute webbing to bootleg together the first version of the TRX suspension trainer.
After finishing up with 14 years as a Navy SEAL he went back to school earning his MBA at Stanford University. Then after rounding up $350,000 from investors, he created Fitness Anywhere.
This began the company now known for selling the TRX trainer. He still has the Fitness Anywhere gym in San Francisco, but it’s now known as the TRX Training Center.
Hetrick describes the TRX Suspension Trainer as…
“An interlastic nylon harness that allows you to use your own bodyweight against gravity, and integrating instability across hundreds of common exercise movements. It’s literally is a gym in a bag.”
TRX Suspension Trainer Review (Is It For You?)
First I’m going to start off with the pros for the TRX Suspension Trainer. The best thing about the TRX is how light it is and the versatility of exercises you can use it for.
There are a bunch of different exercises you can use the TRX with you can’t use with any other piece of fitness equipment.
Some of my clients aren’t able to use kettlebells are barbells. Current or past injuries allow the TRX to be a fantastic substitute.
With any kind of functional training you’re going to be treating your body as an entire connected system.
This is a much more efficient way to train your body. Especially compared to machines when you treat your body as individual pieces.
There have been plenty of times when I had to travel on the road and tossed my 2 pounds TRX bag into my suitcase.
It’s a great on-the-road tool you can use anywhere as long as you’re able to find something to tie it to.
Most of the time when you’re on the road the only kind of fitness equipment you’ll find at the hotel gym is machines. If you’re lucky they might have some dumbbells.
Since the TRX is so easy to keep in your suitcase it makes it a no-brainer to bring it with you while traveling.
TRX Workout Benefits
Some of my favorite exercises I wanted to share with you in my TRX review are:
- Atomic Pushups
- Low Rows
- Bulgarian Lunges
- Lying Leg Curls
- Shoulder Press
These are exercises where the TRX really shines and it stands out.
There’s no other piece of fitness equipment that can do these kind of exercises.
You’ll also notice your heart race increase while using the TRX Suspension Trainer. Your body will burn more calories since you’ll be using multiple muscle groups.
The problem with doing machines is they only focus on one specific muscle group at a time. This means you won’t have as much muscle recruitment you should with free weights such as the TRX.
This kind of training has been found to increase strength better than old school machine type workouts. This in itself is a huge reason why I recommend using the TRX than most other workouts.
Now let’s get into why the TRX isn’t as perfect as it might seem.
The TRX is awesome as it allows you to do a ton of various exercises you can’t do with any other piece of fitness equipment.
Yet, this is also where the TRX fails.
The TRX Suspension Trainer is limited by the same reason it shines.
You’re only going to be able to do the specific exercises the TRX allows you to do.
So if you want to do other ‘typical’ exercises such as
- power cleans
- front squats
You’re going to be out-of-luck trying to do these exercises with the TRX.
It’s not made for these type of exercises. So for as much as the TRX Suspension Trainer can do for you it’s also equally limited as well.
The secret with resistance training is the progressive building up of resistance against your body.
This is next to impossible with the TRX.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you’re starting off with the bench press. You might have to start off at 100 pounds and then slowly build your strength up to 120 pounds, and then 150 pounds, etc.
With the TRX you’re going to be extremely limited with the amount of progression you’re going to be able to do.
You’re only going to be able to put your feet in the straps of the TRX, lift your body off the ground and do some pushups.
There’s not much room for progression here.
This is why the TRX can’t be your only piece of exercise equipment.
Should You Get A TRX?
When I sat down to write this TRX review I wasn’t sure if I was going to give it my seal of approval or not.
Sure, I’ve been using the TRX Suspension Trainer for more years than I remember with my own workouts and my clients.
I’ve yet to meet a client who didn’t enjoy the TRX. But I couldn’t tell you how many people I’ve trained who hated working with barbells and kettlebells.
You can use the TRX to mix up your workouts and add back some spice to them. You know all too well how easy it is for your body to plateau from doing the same exercises.
The TRX is a fantastic piece of training equipment as long as it’s not your only one.
It shines brightest in conjunction with other exercise tools. Such as kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, ropes, and sleds.
The TRX also has the HUGE benefit of being crazy lightweight and compact.
You’re not going to toss a 26-pound kettlebell in your suitcase next time you’re traveling.
The TSA might be a little suspicious when you go through security. Nobody wants to be probed more than normal by the TSA.
The TRX was ultimately made to be used on the road and as an ancillary piece of training equipment.
I wouldn’t call it an entire, “Gym in a bag.”
More like a mini-gym you can anywhere and do stuff you couldn’t do with anything else.
Where To Buy The TRX
The TRX definitely isn’t cheap.
There are plenty of knock-off competitors out there (which I don’t recommend) you can find cheaper.
But do you want to buy a cheap knock-off when you’re placing your entire bodyweight on these straps?
I don’t think it’ll be worth breaking your neck to save a few bucks.
This is why if you’re going to buy a Suspension Trainer I’d recommend going with the official TRX brand.
I use and recommend the TRX PRO as it’s much higher quality. It comes with all the accessories you’re going to need to use it to its fullest.
And even though this is a TRX review I should also give you the low-down on the Rip Trainer.
The Rip Trainer really isn’t worth the money.
You can only do a few different exercises with it and to me there’s just not enough there to earn a recommendation.
Instead, go with the TRX.
You’ll get the biggest bang for you buck and it’s worth your money.
TRX Review Conclusion
The TRX is worth the money as long as you’re aware of its limitations along with all the benefits it can give you.
It’s incredibly lightweight and you can do a ton of fantastic exercises with.
You otherwise wouldn’t be able to do what you can with the TRX with anything else out there.
Sure, it’s a little expensive but the price is small compared to how much 10-20 extra pounds on your body is going to cost.
After reading my TRX Suspension Trainer review you know if it’s for you.
The TRX Suspension Trainer can take your workouts and training to the next level, but it can’t do everything.
It’s the next best thing.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.