This review of the TRX Suspension Trainer will analyze its features, benefits, pros and cons. The TRX Suspension Trainer is a body weight workout tool originally developed by Randy Hetrick of the Navy SEALs to improve strength, flexibility, balance and core stability. The beauty of suspension training is that you can do it anywhere, no gym required unless you want to, so it may be particularly attractive to travelers or people always on the move for work, but not only.
All the TRX kits do come with standard workout blueprints of different complexity depending on the kit, but you can also make use of dedicated suspension workout programs like the Suspension Revolution by Dan Long, which we have already covered in this full review here.
How Do The TRX Suspension Trainers Work?
All kits allow you to perform more than 300 exercises that you can change in intensity by simply shifting your body position on the fly, without the need to change and adjust weights or the help of a spotter.
These features make progressive overload very easy to accomplish and as a result progression in fat burning and lean muscle building is faster. Unlike with traditional machines or free-weights training, with TRX most muscle groups become involved at once as with standard calisthenics, making suspension training an innovative and effective method of body weight training.
The mild, default instability of the suspension straps forces your core muscles to work harder and to contract in any given movement, improving the effectiveness of the workout, not unlike the instability of a gymnast’ rings, but not quite as hard.
The TRX straps come with a whole host of accessories, suspension anchors, door anchors, handles and straps that enable you to perform infinite variations of the exercises and build stability and flexibility.
Being a type of body weight training, the TRX Trainer straps are an effective tool to build strength, lean muscle and promote fat loss. The key advantage is that the kits can be used anywhere and are very light to carry around in a provided mesh bag.
The practicality of the TRX Suspension Trainers coupled with the effective body weight workouts appeal to just about anyone with a dislike for crowded gyms or fitness memberships. The TRX training system has developed into a leader in the suspension workouts discipline with a range of different kits like TRX Go Suspension Trainer, TRX Home Gym, TRX Pro and TRX Tactical Gym.
All kits share some basic specifications but vary in complexity and price.
How Good Are The TRX Kits?
Generally speaking, the kits are well made, there is not a plastic connector in sight. However, nothing is perfect in this world, so we have made this report for you to have a better idea of what this kits are all about.
Let’s start with the safety features. The door mounts are good, but if you do not place the anchor plate close to the hinges it jacks them up. In other words, even though the TRX straps and door anchors are very sturdy, you have to make sure the door is also sturdy, especially if you are heavy person. Lighter people may not have a problem.
Some doors may misalign and not shut back properly if they are not strong enough. In any case, it is a bit difficult to do some exercises like planks without your feet hitting the door.
Generally, we think that the best use of TRX Suspension Trainer kits is from a overhead or off a wall pivot, and not off a door because the door anchor somehow limits the range of motion of some exercises.
The door anchor solution is ideal if you are traveling, but if you plan to use the TRX at home on a regular basis, consider the wall/ceiling mount instead. If you cannot be bothered, make sure your house doors or your hotel room door are strong enough to support your body weight!
Wall Or Ceiling Mount
The wall or ceiling mount also offers another advantage: range of motion. With the straps hanging from a wall or the ceiling you can get all the benefits from the straps.
This may or may be not possible, depending on your home space as you need an area large enough, but if you can we recommend hanging the straps from the ceiling, for which you need a TRX XMount, but you can only get that separately at extra cost, even though it works great.
Another thing that we noticed is the rubbery smell the hand grips leave on your hands, except for the TRX Pro kit that has antimicrobial handles to prevent bacteria formation and bad odors. It’s not a big deal, but it’s there. The Pro version handles also offers a significantly better grip and we thing they should be standard on all versions.
The workouts DVDs are adequate, depending on the kit version you can get HIIT with 30 seconds on/30 seconds off. This is an effective fat burning routine but you can get all the TRX workouts you want on YouTube anyway. More elaborate workouts are included in the TRX Tactical Gym kit.
The Tactical Gym workouts are the most complete of the TRX suspension range and include multiple level routines like:
- TRX Optimized Integrated Countdown Timers
- Randomized Workout Selector
- Benchmark Tests
- Agility And Conditioning Drills
- Detailed Reference Section
- 4 Weel Pull-Up Program
- Extensive Exercise Video Library
For more workouts still, you can check out the Suspension Revolution program by Dan Long, the ultimate in suspension workout training.
Straps And Handles
The straps and handles are exceedingly strong. Big guys need not to worry. Even the basic kits are strong enough to hold anyone with confidence. The overall feel is one of good quality materials.
TRX Suspension Trainer Counterfeit Alert
Unfortunately , being a successful home workout product, the TRX company has also attracted a plethora of imitators who pass their counterfeit kits for the real McCoy. There has been a spate of incident whereas disappointed customers discovered that they had been delivered a fake version of the real TRX suspension system too late.
There are 2 methods to find out or avoid this from happening:
Method #1 – Find out later after purchase.
One way to tell a fake TRX apart from a real one is to push the handle rubber up to reveal the hologram and serial number, then Email TRX and ask them to confirm that the number is a real TRX serial number. By that time, it could be too late.
Method #2 – Prevent it from happening.
Purchase only from the TRXtraining.com official website. Game over for counterfeits.
Below a quick summary of the main TRX kits features.
TRX Go Suspension Trainer
This is the entry level kit. It can be set up in 1 minute and the components are:
- A door anchor.
- A suspension anchor.
- Set up and use video.
- Mesh carry bag.
- Workout poster – Two 20 minute high intensity workouts designed for power, speed and agility.
TRX Home Gym Suspension Trainer
This is the most popular version of the kits, tested for forces up to 1300 lbs. It comes with the following parts:
- Door anchor.
- Suspension anchor.
- TRX Application – 4 total-body workouts, exercise library and 6 modular TRX Home workouts to mix.
- Mesh carry bag.
- Getting started guide
TRX Tactical Gym Suspension Trainer
This is a tougher suspension kit for heavy duty straight from the SEALs experience. It comes with rubber handles and D-rings plus:
- Door anchor.
- Suspension anchor.
- 3 real time download workouts – You can download the workouts to your smartphone or tablet and view them anywhere. All 3 workouts are structured on 3 different intensity levels to meet your current level of fitness and progress from there.
- TRX Force Running Pack – A variation of the regular mesh pack that doubles up as a backpack, easy to carry while running.
- TRX Xtender – An extra extender to attach your Tactical Suspension Trainer to high vertical points.
TRX Pro Suspension Trainer
This is is the new kid on the block of the TRX kits range. It features commercial-grade components, 3 different types of anchoring, adjustable foot cradles and antimicrobial rubber handles.
- Adjustable foot cradles – These cradles are also padded to fit a wide range of sizes and prevent slipping during workouts.
- Antimicrobial handles – These rubber handles are built to prevent bacteria and odor and they feature an anti-slip design for extra grip.
- Theft resistant carabiner – A rust proof pin lock security to secure your Suspension Trainer.
- Industrial grade reinforcements – High wear joint with extra reinforcements for high performance and durability.
What Are The Benefits Of The TRX Suspension Trainer Kits?
The TRX kits are generally well built and strong. They also come with a range of useful accessories and workouts to help you make the best use of them. Below a detailed list of the main pros:
- Effective body weight workouts – The TRX Suspension training system is a tried and tested method for burning fat, build lean muscle, strengthen your core and improve flexibility.
- Time efficient – The workouts are typically shorter than traditional machine or weight routines, but high in intensity.
- Minimalist training system – You can do it at home, no gym required, no heavy equipment needed.
- Convenient – You can train anywhere, even while traveling.
- Good quality materials – All the kits are well built and made to last. The straps and handles are very strong.
- Flexible – The kits can be hang from the door or from a wall/ceiling. The latter solution is better for range of motion.
- The door anchor solution needs attention before being implemented. Depending on your body weight, not all doors may be strong enough to hold your weight without offsetting the alignment. Always position the anchor nearest to the hinges or opt for the wall/ceiling mounting if you train regularly at home and have enough space.
What’s The Bottom Line On The TRX Suspension Trainer?
This suspension body weight workout toolkit is the ideal choice for travelers or anyone who does not want or cannot train in a gym. The training system couples effectiveness with practicality, making it a viable alternative to traditional and more expensive training methods.
The routines allow for an impressive range of exercises and degrees of intensity, plus what we particularly liked about this workout method is that you can easily implement progressive overload by simply shifting the position of your body relative to the gravity.
This means that you do not need a spotter to help you in case of failure, as you do not risk to get stuck under a barbell loaded with plates, ensuring faster progression.
Like all body weight exercises, the TRX Suspension Training also works your core, balance and flexibility very well, ensuring optimal fat loss and lean muscle gains.
However, it requires a period of adjustment to get familiar with these unusual drills, so we recommend to seek the help of a professional suspended body weight workout coach at least to start with, before you can go solo.