If you want to build serious upper-body strength while developing functional fitness that will help you move, feel and look your best, give TRX Suspension Training a try. Suspension Training was initially conceived of as a way for Navy SEALs to stay in shape while deployed in austere conditions with minimal gear, time or space. Now you can find these black and yellow straps in almost any gym.
They have become a go-to workout tool for personal trainers, top athletes and celebrities everywhere. The following TRX upper-body workout develops strength in your arms, chest, back and core, with movements that translate to the way you move in everyday life. Add this workout to your strength-training regimen to get a taste of how suspension training can take your fitness to the next level.
1 SPLIT SQUAT Y FLY
Develop mobility in your shoulders and strength in your core with this upper-body exercise. HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing away from the anchor point and hold one TRX handle in each hand. Extend your arms over your head and start with your feet together. Brace your core and focus on keeping your elbows, hips and knees in line. Step forward into a split-squat stance so that your knees are at 90-degree angles and your arms are slightly behind your head. To return, press through your arms and pull yourself to standing. Focus on keeping your core stable and your shoulders mobile.
2 TRX CHEST PRESS
Build strength in your chest, shoulders and triceps with this classic TRX exercise. HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing away from the anchor point, holding the handles out in front of you. Brace your core and focus on maintaining a solid plank with your body at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Lower your chest toward your hands and focus on moving your entire body in a straight line. Stop when your hands are in line with your chest. Press yourself back up in one slow, controlled movement, focusing on keeping your knees, hips and shoulders in line the entire way up.
3 SQUAT Y FLY
This exercise builds strength and increases mobility in both your shoulders and hips. HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing the anchor point with your hands extended overhead and a handle in each hand. Move your hips down and back into a squat position, pushing your knees slightly outward, while simultaneously lowering your hands to shoulder level. Now drive through your heels and push your hips forward while raising your hands back overhead, maintaining straight arms until you reach the top.
4 TRICEPS PRESS
Incorporate this move into your routine to increase strength and definition in your triceps while developing your core strength and improving your active plank. HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing away from the anchor point and hold the suspension trainer by the handles. Keep your elbows high and in line with your shoulders. Put your hands next to your temples with your palms facing away from your body. Brace your core as you lean forward so that your body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Focus on maintaining tension throughout your entire body. Press down into the handle, keeping everything stable except for your elbow joints, until your arms are fully extended. Lower your body down in one slow, controlled movement until your hands are back at the starting position.
5 INVERTED ROW
This exercise is excellent for developing core stability and upper- and lower-back strength. HOW TO DO IT: Face the suspension trainer with your chest directly under the anchor point, holding the handles with your palms facing each other. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, brace your core and engage your glutes. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and use your lats to pull your body up until your hands are at the sides of your rib cage. Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position.
6 ATOMIC PIKE PUSH-UP
An incredible, total-body challenge, this move will strengthen your entire upper body. HOW TO DO IT: Start in a push-up position with your feet directly under the anchor point in the foot cradles of the suspension trainer. Brace your core and perform a standard push-up. When you reach the top of the push-up, pause for a moment, then pike your hips up while keeping your legs as straight as you can. Pause for a moment at the top, then lower your hips back down to the starting position.
7 TRX PULL-UP
This TRX variation of a body-weight training classic will strengthen your arms, shoulders, back and core. HOW TO DO IT: With the handles of the suspension trainer shortened, sit directly under the anchor point with a handle in each hand and your legs in an L position. Pull your chest to your hands while keeping your legs straight and feet planted on the ground. Lower yourself to the ground in one slow and controlled movement and reset when you hit the ground.
8 RESISTED TORSO ROTATION
A great exercise for developing functional core strength, this exercise challenges the entire upper body as well. HOW TO DO IT: Stand with the anchor point to one side. Place one foot in front of the other, holding one handle with both hands at the center of your chest. Engage your core muscles and lean slightly away from the anchor point. While keeping your hips, knees, shoulders and ears in line, lean further to the side so that your hands are moving away from your chest. Slowly pull yourself back up -- keeping your body in a straight line -- and bring your hands back to your chest.
9 TRX POWER PULL
The power pull is excellent total-body exercise that develops rotational strength. HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing the anchor point, holding one handle of the suspension trainer with one hand at the side of your chest and the other reaching up toward the anchor point. Slowly lower your body away from the anchor point, letting yourself rotate away, until your free hand is reaching toward the ground. Brace your core and focus on maintaining a rigid plank position. Pull yourself back to the starting position in one controlled movement until your free hand is again touching the suspension trainer.