Suspension training has become one of the most popular forms of home training of the last decade. Not only does it offer a cheap and space-saving way to train, but the wide variety of TRX exercises it allows you to do gives the option to perform very complete workouts.
Although for many people TRX suspension training may seem like a pair of straps joined by clips, the design and resistance of the system offers one of the most versatile training formats that exist.
You can't train all the muscles in your body with body weight alone, and while gravity means pushing movements like push-ups and squats are accessible, working with traction movements is very difficult without some kind of specialized equipment.
With pull-up bars it is possible to work the most inaccessible parts of the body, and gyms obviously offer the ability to work a wide variety of muscle groups with the help of weights and machines. However, if you want to train at home or in the park, there is nothing like doing TRX exercises.
And it's not just about saving space and training muscles that are harder to strengthen, there are also different benefits, which is why suspension training becomes a popular choice for many fitness lovers. The design not only allows for a wide range of flexibility and mobility workouts, but can also help intensify exercises by decreasing or increasing difficulty.
In this series of workouts, we look at some of the best TRX exercises for leg training. Make sure you choose the right length for each exercise.
The reverse stride is an excellent exercise to work most of the leg muscles and unlike the squat, the movement allows you to focus on one leg every time it is performed. The result of this isolation is that it can help rectify imbalances in the body, allowing the muscles and joints of each leg to develop independently, while one leg can compensate for the other in a squat.
The TRX offers extra support throughout the movement, which means it's ideal for beginners. For more advanced users, the extra balance can help you focus on the technique throughout the workout and do more repetitions of this exercise.
How to do it: Holding the TRX at chest height, lift one leg to 90 degrees, then, with a controlled movement, bring it back to the ground. Finish with the leg in front at 90 degrees and the full foot in a stable position on the ground. Hold the position for a second and then return to the standing position and repeat with the other leg.
Reverse stride variations can be made to make the exercises easier or more difficult. These include removing the knee lift to 90 degrees or adding a jump to the movement.
Although the low stride works the same muscles as the reverse stride, there is a difference in the way you make the movement. When you move your leg forward, there is sometimes a shift in balance toward the front foot that requires more control, as well as placing more weight on the forefoot.
When using the TRX, there is more mobility in the upper body as the arms are raised as the foot advances. This movement not only helps with balance, but also incorporates an element that can increase the difficulty of the exercise.
How to do it: Holding the TRX below chest height at the front and leaning on the straps, lift one leg forward with a controlled motion and place the foot at 90 degrees in front of you, ending with the foot in a stable position on the ground. With the weight on your heel, hold the position for a moment. Then return to the starting position and repeat with the alternate leg.
The lateral stride is a difficult exercise to do well, as the movement uses a combination of elements of strength and balance that require a lot of practice. Although a full leg effectively a pistol squat (or a one-legged squat), the instability of the TRX and the force applied to the abductor muscles make the exercise quite demanding.
How to do it: Stand on the strap sideways and place your foot on the grip, internally rotating the hip and flexing to maintain spinal extension and tension in the buttocks. Swinging at your hip, lower to a squat position with a 90-degree angle from the ground. Keeping your back as straight as possible, push back with a controlled motion until you're standing and repeat.
The side-by-side stride is one of the most popular TRX leg exercises among athletes and sportsmen due to the lateral nature of the movement. Unlike runners, who tend to move only forward, athletes move sideways. The side-to-side stride offers a great way to build those functional muscles.
How to do it: With your feet about 60 centimeters apart and your hands on your chest in front, move your body weight to the side and down to a one-leg squat position. Hold the position for a second and then climb back up. When performing the exercise, try to concentrate the workload on the leg, using only the arms to support the movement if necessary.
The one-legged squat, also known as a pistol squat, is one of the most complicated TRX leg exercises, as many people can't do it without some kind of help. The TRX offers the ability to add stability to movement, as well as allowing you to use your arms to maintain balance at the most difficult points. For this reason, the TRX one-leg squat offers the perfect progression to perform a pistol squat.
The jump squat is another of the best TRX exercises for legs, since not only does it burn more calories, but the movement requires greater effort of the ankle, hips and core. Which means it offers different benefits that can help with many functional movements like running or doing sports in general. There's also the fact that muscles need to work explosively, which helps develop those that aren't worked on in a static squat.
Because of the extra balance required when jumping, the TRX can help you stay in position and act as an anchor if your jump starts moving you.
How to do it: Stand with your feet apart at hip height and arms extended at chest height in front of you. Go down to a squatting position and then climb up to the top with a jump. Land gently allowing your knees to take the hit and repeat the movement. Try not to lean back using the TRX unless it's completely necessary and keep your back as straight as possible.