4 TRX Exercises That Build Strength and Core Stability

One of my favorite, and most useful, tools in the gym is a TRX Suspension Trainer. I not only use TRX in my own training but in nearly all of my athletes' training at some point in time.

One of the major benefits of TRX is the ability to improve your core strength with nearly every exercise you perform. Due to the anchoring and design of the suspension system, there is almost always a level of functional instability no matter what you're doing. I think of it as just enough instability to have a purposeful training effect without going overboard on excess props and circus tricks.

Having a high functioning core is vital to your progress in the gym or your sport. If you've been on the internet for more than five minutes, I'm sure you've come across at least one "core" article that told you that. I'll go ahead and drive the point home even more with a few ideas you may have not tried.

Here's a look at four ways you can progress common TRX exercises to blast your midsection by simply removing one hand or foot from the movement.

Single-Arm Push-Up

Cues

  • Feet hip-to-shoulder width, weight distributed evenly
  • Flat back, braced core
  • Push yourself away from the TRX handle, reach

Mistakes

  • Hips shifting or weight unevenly distributed
  • Using momentum, not controlling the movement
  • Low-back hyperextension
  • Partial range of motion

Why

  • Anti-Rotation
  • Anti-Lateral Flexion
  • Anti-Extension
  • Unilateral Serratus activation

When

  • Push emphasis training session
  • Compounded with a vertical press exercise
  • Superset with loaded carries

Single-Arm Row

Cues

  • Weight on heels, feet hip-to-shoulder-width apart
  • Pretend you have two handles
  • Lead with the scapula
  • Tuck your elbow into your back pocket

Mistakes

  • Hip shifting or weight unevenly distributed
  • Not allowing your shoulder blade to "glide"
  • Over-rowing, elbow goes way past body
  • Anterior humeral glide (caused by the over-rowing)
  • Reaching behind you at the bottom of the movement

Why

  • Anti-Rotation
  • Strength-focused movement
  • Enhances row mechanics

When

  • Pull emphasis training session
  • Versatile programming options, nearly can't go wrong

Single-Leg Plank

Cues

  • Push your elbows through the ground
  • Keep both legs parallel to each other and the ground
  • Full exhales

Mistakes

  • Weight shift or loss of balance
  • Excessive hyperextension of the lumbar spine
  • Lazy tension in the core, stress on the shoulders
  • Not being honest with your breathing

Why

  • Unilateral lower-body-focused core exercise
  • Progression for the standard Plank
  • Great for locating imbalances and weaknesses

When

  • Paired with a unilateral lower body exercise
  • In your warm-up
  • Any time you'd normally plank

Single-Leg Glute Plank

Cues

  • Hips to the ceiling
  • Contract the hamstring and glute
  • Use the other strap for support

Mistakes

  • Partial hip extension
  • Excessive neck flexion, back of head comes off the ground
  • Rib cage flares upward

Why

  • Intense activation of the posterior chain
  • Progression to Hip Raises without external load

When

  • Paired with a unilateral lower-body exercise
  • In your warm-up or as a low-impact finisher

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Topics: GLUTES | CORE | PUSH-UP | PLANK | WORKOUT PLAN | TRX EXERCISES | ROW