The TRX is a popular fitness gear that reached peak popularity at the end of 2017.
The craze has somewhat subsided, but the TRX remains as a solid investment for anybody who wants to train at home without having to build an expensive gym.
There are many similarities between the “standard” TRX exercises and calisthenics exercises, but in this article, we’ll go one step further and develop a calisthenics TRX workout routine.
Why train Calisthenics with a TRX?
In a sense, the TRX is a lot like the olympic rings. The main difference is the grip, and the fact that the “normal” TRX exercise usually focuses on a larger number of muscles.
However, you can focus on only a few select exercises that will exponentially improve your calisthenics form. These are the exercises we will be focusing on during this article.
Another great reason to get a TRX is that they are perfect for travelling. It doesn’t take much space, can be setup really easily, and will add a whole range of exercises to your workout.
The TRX is also easy on the hands, and unlike many pull up and dip bars, won’t leave your hands completely destroyed. This will end up saving you money on hand creams and gloves.
Calisthenics TRX workout routine
Dynamic calisthenics exercises with the TRX vary in terms of degree of complexity and difficulty. You can start with the classics, such as push ups, squats and pulls and evolve into more complex exercises such as modified muscle ups and rolls.
Below are our favourite, calisthenics complementary, TRX exercises.
TRX One Legged Squat
This is probably the best exercise to progress into pistol squats.
Simply stand about 3 to 4 feet away from the TRX, grab the handles, and perform a normal pistol / one legged squat:
As you become better at this exercise, reduce the distance between yourself and the TRX. Once you are practically in the same line as the TRX, voilá! You can now do a pistol squat.
Modified Muscle Up Push Up
This is a great exercise to progress into normal pull up bar muscle ups. Start at a push up position, but with the TRX behind your back, as shown below:
Then, keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible, pull the handles down, bringing your body above the TRX handles:
Continue pushing until your arms are straight.
Pike Push Ups
This is a killer variation for working on your handstands.
Simply get your TRX close to the floor, insert your feet into the handles, get yourself in push up position and raise your ass, keeping the legs straight.
The video below should give you an idea of how this looks in practice:
Push Up to Knee Tuck
This exercise will help you develop the tuck planches and static exercises. Do a normal TRX push up, and after completion bring your knees to your chest, as shown below:
This is a great full body exercise. It works on the core, upper body, and even the legs, whilst also pushing a little for your flexibility.
A lot of exercises that we do in on the floor in calisthenics can be adapted to be done in the TRX. These exercises have an added layer of difficulty as they require balance and a little extra strength.
Some of our favourites include:
Doing the plank in the TRX adds an extra layer of difficulty as it requires more balance and a tighter core as a result of having your feet elevated.
To do this exercise, simply get yourself in a normal push up position, but instead of having your hands in contact with the floor, bend your arms and keep your elbows and forearm in contact with the ground as shown below:
If you can’t hold this position for more than 10 seconds, try holding it with your knees touching the floor, and slowly progress to the picture above.
Once the normal plank becomes too easy try raising one arm and extendinAg it.
The advantage of using the TRX for l sit progressions is that it allows for different grips. If you’re a beginner, you could try the Chin Up L-sit, which looks like this:
For more advanced athletes, the normal l-sit, as you would do in the olympic rings, is a great exercise.
The TRX is a great piece of equipment to supplement Calisthenics training.
It’s easier to setup than a pull up bar and can offer almost the same range of exercises.
If you have any other exercise suggestions or feedback, please leave them below.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.