Is the TRX Suspension Trainer just another fitness gimmick?
Is it a game-changer? What can it do for me?
These are just some of the basic questions answered in this review.
This TRX suspension trainer review is based on my own personal use of the TRX for the last two and a half years.
As well, I’ve talked to personal trainers, triathletes, classmates, friends, and researched forums at length to find out how others feel about this fitness tool.
• What is the TRX Suspension Trainer?
• What Are The Benefits Of The TRX Suspension Trainer?
• And The Negatives?
• What’s Included With The TRX Pro Kit?
• What Did The TRX Trainer Do For Me?
• Is It Worth The Price?
• What Is Your Review Of The TRX?
• TRX Trainer Related Articles
What is the TRX Suspension Trainer?
The TRX suspension trainer is an idea developed from Navy SEAL ingenuity and their need to train for top level performance in any location and in any conditions.
The TRX is the top body weight based suspension trainer on the market today. It’s used extensively by pro athletes, military personnel, personal trainers and fitness class instructors.
The concept behind the TRX trainer is simple: a set of straps anchored from a single overhead point that allows users to use their own body weight in varying angles and ranges of motion to exercise large muscles groups.
Adjusting resistance is as easy as adjusting your body angle. Simply moving your hands or feet, whichever is in contact with the ground, away from or closer to the point directly beneath the anchor point will either lessen the resistance or make the movement more challenging.
The TRX trainer itself consists of an anchor strap, main suspension straps and handles with attached foot cradles. Integrated in the design are several clever features that make the TRX easy to set up and adjust for better transitions between movements.
What Are The Benefits Of The TRX Suspension Trainer?
Portable – Train Where Ever You Want…
The TRX trainer can be used virtually anywhere you want to workout. Everything fits in the convenient tote bag and weighs less than two pounds.
I personally love working out in the backyard on a sunny day or at the park under a seventy foot poplar tree next to the lake.
The anchor strap of the TRX simply wraps around any suitable overhead structure that can safely bear your weight. I’ve used tree branches, telephone poles, soccer nets, chin up bars, cross beams in a barn and my kids jungle gym as anchoring points.
For indoors or when traveling, the TRX comes with a door anchor attachment. The door anchor is a strap with a non-scuff stopper at the end that anchors the TRX when the door is closed.
Using the TRX door anchor isn’t my preferred anchoring option. I find performing many of my favorite movements too restrictive in front of a door. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic accessory for travel and getting a quick workout in the hotel room or at grandma’s house.
Versatile – Train However You Want…
It may seem the TRX is geared toward elite athletes who are already physically fit, however it is an excellent tool for beginners or the physically gifted and everyone in between.
The TRX is effective for building strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibilty.
Military, police, fire fighters and other first responders use it for functional training.
Therapist incorporate TRX workouts into rehabilitation programs for the elderly and accident victims.
Others use it to improve their metabolic conditioning to lose weight and increase their energy levels.
Variety – It’s Never Boring…
Adding variety to any fitness routine whether it’s new exercises, different workout partners, or a change of scenery keeps things fresh and fun.
When you enjoy the workouts, you’re much more likely to keep at it and enjoy the results.
Once familiar with suspension training, you can progress to sport specific TRX routines or a multitude of other workouts by getting workout DVD’s from the official TRX website or viewing a ton of TRX content on Youtube
The TRX offers literally hundreds of possible exercises, movements and routines. I’ve seen videos where individuals have worked fitness balls, kettlebells and even stripper poles into their TRX workouts. I’ve yet to try the stripper pole, but it looked fun (and hard).
And The Negatives?
I’m a big fan of the TRX, but nothing is perfect. Here are a few of my concerns/complaints and some justifications where I though were needed.
The biggest complaint most have about the TRX is the price. At almost $200 for the Pro Kit and $250 for the Force Kit: Tactical, it’s not cheap. However, these trainers are extremely well made.
I still have my original model TRX from two years ago. I no longer use this one, but my kids use it as a swing/tarzan rope in our basement. They abuse it terribly. Except for worn hand grips and a little wear and tear at the apex, my original TRX is every bit as good as the day I bought it – just uglier.
This may sound fussy, but I wish the foot cradles for the Pro Kit were bigger to accommodate size 12+ shoes better. I think a larger foot cradle or a semi-rigid design like the Jungle Gym XT would make transitions between some movements much smoother.
Please note, the TRX Force Kit model does come with larger foot cradles to accommodate boots and big feet.
What’s Included With The TRX Pro Kit?
The New “P2″ Model Suspension Trainer
If you’re thinking of buying a used TRX to improve your fitness, you may come across some of the original models. I would suggest you lean towards the new “P2″ model because of the design improvements even though the original TRX model is functionally the same.
The new anchoring interface incorporates an additional carabiner on the lower end of the anchor strap instead of a sewn loop making setting up and taking down easier. For the individual, the amount of time you save is minimal compared to the original TRX, but for the class instructor who needs to set up a dozen or more TRX, the improvement is appreciated.
The new self-adjusting equalizer loop is the most useful improvement. The equalizer loop is basically another loop joining the trainer straps at the apex. The equalizer loop prevents the straps from sliding through the main loop by more than a few inches.
This makes the TRX even safer and ensures the straps won’t wear excessively due to the “sawing” action that’s possible with the original TRX model.
Also added to the P2 version were new handles for better durability and comfort as well as length adjustment markings along the straps.
65 Minute Basic Training DVD
The Basic Training DVD is made up of a 25-minute “Introduction To Suspension Training” video and a 40-minute real time workout featuring the most common exercises for all major muscle groups.
For the beginners, these are the exercises you want to start with before moving on to the more challenging ones.
The introduction to Suspension Training video is very informative when first starting out with the TRX. It has good information about proper installation height, safety tips, one-handed use, getting into the foot cradles, etc.
Especially important is the section on using the TRX Door Anchor attachment and it’s safety tips. See the TRX Door Anchor review for more information.
35 page Workout and User Guide
If you prefer a manual to videos, the TRX Pro Kit also includes a “ruggedized” instruction manual with 36 TRX progressions. I found this manual more useful when I first received my TRX and began familiarizing myself with the common exercises.
TRX Door Anchor attachment (now included)
Where no convenient overhead structure is available, such as indoors or when traveling, the TRX comes with a door anchor attachment. As the name suggests, the TRX door anchor utilizes any suitable door as an anchor point for your trainer.
I personally wouldn’t use the door anchor method for most workouts. I find areas around doors are typically cramped and prefer to go outside whenever I can.
However, it’s a nice option to have when on the road. I’ve used it in hotel rooms and vacation condos for a quick stretch or maintenance workout whenever I felt the urge.
Have a look at the following video for a quick look at the Pro Kit and to see it in action.
What Did The TRX Trainer Do For Me?
I’m not a pro athlete (yet) or Navy SEAL, but I’ve always been a bit of a fitness buff, so I’ve always been in decent shape. I didn’t buy my TRX to lose weight, but I did want to get better at my passion: triathlon.
By incorporating suspension training into my fitness regimen, I’ve dramatically improved my times in sprint and olympic distance triathlons. I used to go through periods where I just got bored of training.
Triathlon training for me used to be a lot of repetitive swimming, cycling and running. Now, I’ve added three TRX workouts per week: two varied workouts for about 45 minutes and one 30 minute functional swim training workout.
Comparing the same triathlon sprint results one year apart, I knocked a staggering seven minutes and change off my previous time. For my olympic distance race performance, my times improved in the 20 minute range and continue to get better.
As an added bonus, I’ve managed to remain injury-free during my training. I attribute this to less repetitive training and a much stronger and balanced core area.
For non-triathletes, this may not mean much, but for me it has meant renewed passion for my sport, better all-around fitness, and just feeling really good. Next on my list – the Half-Ironman and Ironman triathlons…
Is It Worth The Price?
While the TRX system is highly rated among consumers, many may find the price a bit high. The basic TRX Pro Kit sells for $199.95.
However, TRX does routinely runs promotions. It’s not uncommon to get the TRX for 10 to 20% off with free shipping to the U.S. and Canada, bringing the price down to the $160 to $180 range.
To put it in perspective, your average gym membership will cost $400 or more per year. Ideally, it would be nice to have both the gym membership and the TRX. However, if it came down to one or the other, the TRX would be my choice – hands down.
Overall, the TRX Suspension Trainer is a great piece of equipment and a great investment.
Back To: The Highlights…
What Is Your Review Of The TRX?
Share your opinion of the TRX, suspension training or even alternatives. Leave your own TRX suspension trainer review in the comment box below and assist others in making an informed decision. Good or bad, we’d love to here from you…
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