Chances are you’ve heard about TRX and its benefits for building strength. But what about TRX for weight loss? Can it help you burn calories and fat? And how does it stack up against other workouts?
If you like TRX or you’re interested in trying it, you’ll be happy to hear that it can be a very effective weight loss workout. In addition to building muscle mass and revving your metabolism, it can also burn some serious calories—if you do it right. Read on to find out what TRX is and how to maximize your TRX weight loss workout.
What is TRX?
TRX stands for Total Resistance Exercises. The TRX System is a brand name for a product developed by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick. Also known as a suspension trainer, it consists of a pair of adjustable straps with handles on the ends. This portable, lightweight piece of equipment can be anchored to a wide range of structures, including the ceiling, a pull-up bar, a strong tree limb, etc. Anything strong enough to hold your bodyweight can be used as the supporting structure.
A TRX weight loss workout only requires this simple piece of equipment and your own body weight. It uses the force of gravity to give you an all over strength-training, muscle building, calorie-blasting workout that can help you get a great workout and fast results when used correctly. TRX training is a lot like doing bodyweight calisthenics, but the suspension trainer adds variety and can help make exercises both easier and more challenging, so it’s a great workout program for both beginners and advanced participants.
Many of the exercises are ones you’ll recognize from a normal gym routine—chest presses, rows, lunges, etc. But many of the exercises you may not have heard of before. Don’t worry, they’re easy to learn.
You might also like: Weight Loss Gummies: Help or Hype?
Build Muscle and Burn Calories With TRX for Weight Loss
Before we get to the actual TRX weight loss workouts, let’s first explore why TRX workouts help you lose weight. TRX is primarily a resistance exercise workout, meaning it helps strengthen and build muscle by applying force, or resistance. In this case, the resistance is gravity and your own bodyweight. In the case of your regular gym equipment, the resistance is added weights.
When you do resistance exercises, the goal is to challenge the muscles enough that they have to adapt and grow stronger and/or larger. This happens when tiny muscle fibers get broken down during the workout and then repair themselves during the recovery period after the workout.
So what does this have to do with weight loss? Well, as you may have heard me say (or read in my other articles), building lean muscle mass is key to increasing metabolism and burning fat. Muscle takes more energy, in the form of calories, for your body to maintain. By maintain, I mean the process of maintaining the muscle you already have and building new muscle. Building new muscle requires a huge amount of energy, way more than fat!
In fact, Len Kravitz, PhD., of the University of New Mexico reports that muscle maintenance and growth accounts for up to 20 percent of total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE, while fat only accounts for 5 percent. So, if you have a lot of fat, you’re metabolism isn’t pumping that hard; if you have a lot of muscle, it’s on fire!
When you have a high percentage of lean muscle mass, you literally turn your body into a calorie-burning machine. Your body is working round the clock to take care of that muscle, which means you’re not only burning calories during your workout but for up to 24 hours afterward! In fact, most of the energy used by your muscles is during the recovery period after your workout. Imagine, you’re burning calories while you’re sleeping!
But it’s not all about resistance training; you can also get an effective cardio workout with TRX. All you have to do is work in periods of cardio exercises, such as sprints, jumping rope, or jumping jacks to keep your heart rate elevated throughout your routine. Depending on your weight and how hard you work you could burn 500 or more calories per hour!
Other Benefits of TRX Training
Why is TRX training better than any other type of exercise for weight loss and fat-burning? Well, it’s not necessarily better or more effective, but it does have a lot of great attributes that make it an excellent primary fat-loss program or a worthwhile addition to your existing weekly program. Here are just a few:
It’s portable. Have you ever found yourself skipping a workout because you couldn’t get to the gym? A TRX suspension trainer is easy to keep at home or take with you on the road when you’re traveling so you never have a reason to miss your workout.
It’s great for any skill level. Because it’s just using your own bodyweight, TRX is great for beginners. There are so many exercises you can do even if you’ve never worked out before. You’ll benefit from taking a class or watching a video before going it alone, but you’ll be able to pick it up quickly.
It’s easy to progress. One of the necessary components of an effective exercise program is progression. This means gradually increasing the challenge and complexity of your routine. When you do this, your muscles need to continue to adapt and grow stronger, and you continue to get all the weight loss benefits of TRX and resistance training in general.
It offers endless variety. There are so many exercises you can do with a suspension trainer, your workout will never get boring. And, your workout will continue to challenge your muscles in new ways so you keep seeing results.
It’s low impact. For those who have joint issues or who are carrying a lot of extra weight, it’s important to engage in low-impact activity when you’re starting out. Low-impact exercise can help protect your joints and help you avoid injury.
Sample TRX Workout for Weight Loss
The most effective TRX workouts for weight loss combine strength-training moves and intervals of cardio exercise. This is a type of circuit training that is highly effective for torching calories and fat. It can easily be adjusted for skill and fitness level. Here is an example workout with modifications that you can try at home:
Equipment needed: Suspension trainer, tabata timer app
Time needed: 25+ minutes
Start with a quick warmup. Jog in place or do high knees or jumping jacks. Do a few dynamic stretches such as arm circles, high knees and walking lunges. Set a tabata timer for intervals of 45 seconds work and 30 seconds rest.
Do as many repetitions of each exercise below as you can during the work periods. Use the 30-second rest periods to adjust the suspension straps if needed. Start with two rounds and add more rounds as you get fitter.
1. TRX chest press: Extend the straps to a little below chest height, and grasp the handles with an overhanded grip. Walk your feet back until your body as at a 45-degree angle and you are in a push-up position with your elbows at 90-degree angles. Keep your core muscles contracted and your body in one straight line. Perform push-ups just as you would do them on the floor. To make this easier, walk your feet in; to make it harder, walk your feet out. You may need to readjust the straps.
2. Jump squats (without suspension trainer): Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Squat down, then explode up, jumping your feet off the ground and reaching your hands towards the ceiling. As you land, go down into another squat and repeat. Modify by increasing the height of your jump—lower to make it easier and higher to make it harder.
3. TRX Row: Grip the handles with an underhanded grip, and walk your feet forward until your body is at a 45-degree angle. Contract your core muscles and keep your body in one straight line. Open your elbows out to the side and keep them at 90-degree angles. With control, pull your chest up towards your hands, then slowly return to starting position. Walk your feet in to make this exercise easier; walk them out to make it harder.
4. Jumping jacks (without trainer)
5. TRX planks: Fully extend the straps and get down on all fours in front of the trainer. Place your feet inside the handle loops and walk your hands out until your body is parallel to the floor and in one straight line. Keep your core contracted and your shoulders aligned over your wrists.
6. Side-to-side leap (without trainer): Place a towel or another object on the floor and jump with both feet from one side to the other. To make this more challenging, choose a taller object to jump over.
7. TRX lunge: With the straps fully extended, stand in front of the trainer. Balance on one foot and put the other foot through one handle loop. Adjust your stance and lower down so that your front knee is at a 90-degree angle and your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Rise back up. Do each side for one interval of 45 seconds.
8. Jump squats
9. TRX pull-ups: Adjust the straps so that when you sit on the floor you’re just able to reach the handles with arms fully extended. Sit directly underneath the trainer, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the handles and pull yourself straight up in between the straps. Try to use as little leg strength as possible; the work should mainly be done by your shoulders, biceps, and upper back.
10. Jumping jacks
11: TRX squat: Shorten the straps to just below chest height. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and grasp both straps. Walk your feet back a little bit. Align your elbows under your shoulders and slowly lower your hips down and back so your thighs come parallel to the floor. Keep your chest lifted, push through your heels, and squeeze your glutes as you rise back up to standing.
There you have it! Your first TRX workout. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the possible TRX exercises out there. Master these basic moves first and then you’ll be ready for the more complex and advanced exercises!
More Tips For Losing Weight With TRX
Be sure to end your workout with some stretching for all the muscles you just worked.
Remember that the more effort you put in, the more benefits you’ll get out. Just like any other type of exercise, TRX works for weight loss if you give it your best effort, continue to push yourself, and stay consistent. If you’re using TRX as your only weight-loss workout, shoot for three to four workouts each week, combining resistance exercises and cardio.
TRX is also a great addition to any other exercise activities you might do, including running, gym weight-lifting, Zumba classes, yoga and more. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s crucial to keep you interested in your weight-loss workout program.
Combine your workouts with a calorie-controlled, nutritious weight-loss diet plan, and you are on the way to weight-loss success! Check out some of the articles below to get tips for a healthy weight-loss diet!
Have you tried TRX before? What did you think about it? Share your experience and tips in the comments below!
Like this article? Share it on social and help your friends and family live a healthier lifestyle. Also, we send out content just like this in our monthly newsletter, so drop your email in the box at the bottom of the page!