How would you like to do a bodyweight workout that will burn about 400 calories, is proven to decrease your waist size, reduce your body fat percentage, and lower your resting blood pressure? It’s a rhetorical question, right?
Independent studies show this is exactly what TRX can do for you along with building muscle mass. In short, yes TRX can build muscle by using gravity and bodyweight for resistance.
What is TRX Suspension Training?
Enter suspension training. And the king of suspension training is TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise). The TRX suspension training system was originated by Navy Seals. But don’t let this scare you away.
In no way do you need to be as fit as a Navy Seal to use the training system. It is a good indication of how effective it can be though. The Navy Seals developed it so they wouldn’t have to lug around traditional weights as part of their training routine, and the beginning of the TRX system was the result.
Simply put, TRX is suspension training using your bodyweight as a weight while working out your entire body. And before you blow down the door saying “you can’t gain any muscle doing just your bodyweight,” then go ahead and bust out 100 pushups, and tell me that isn’t building muscle!
The concept is very easy. You put either your hands or your feet in the straps and use your bodyweight and gravity as the resistance. No heavy weights to move around, no machines to figure out, just simple and straight-forward.
TRX is a user-friendly piece of equipment made of high-quality nylon capable of holding 1400 pounds, with handles on the end. One of the best features of TRX is, that it’s portable; you can set it up anywhere. It’s a complete training system that allows you to do exercises that target the chest, arms, back, legs, and especially the core.
The TRX training system will build your core, increase your strength, improve your balance, agility, and power. This can all be done because of resistance training.
Does TRX Build Muscle?
Resistance training can ramp up your metabolism and torch through unwanted body fat, all while increasing lean muscle. Adding resistance training to your routine with the TRX Suspension Trainer can help accelerate your fat loss provided you properly fuel your body with highly nutritious foods.
TRX training may not be the most ideal tool for bodybuilding as traditional weights would be a better fit for these goals. That being said, adding muscle via bodyweight exercises is an effective way to look and feel your best.
The TRX training system does have levels of intensity that can stimulate muscle growth, but high levels of muscle mass are not the end goal for TRX.
What makes TRX so great for the body is its ability to be used in many different ways. The endurance needed to use the system is what can torch the body fat. Current users, like to do things programs like as many reps as possible (AMRAP), or 20 seconds hard and 10 seconds off (TABATA training) or even interval training.
Will TRX replace weight training?
The outcome of TRX and weight training is a bit different. Weight training is primarily used for adding on bulk or muscle (depending on the type of weight training). With TRX the only resistance is gravity any your body weight.
You can manipulate the angle of your body so the resistance is harder, but you’ll never get the bulk or muscle mass that can come from weight training.
If your goal is to add on muscle mass, then a few days of weight training will be the best bet.
Which is Better TRX Suspension Trainer or Gym Machines?
Since the TRX training system is similar to free weights, I wanted to briefly explain the difference between the machines you would find at the gym and TRX. With the machines at the gym, the range of motion is limited. It’s no secret that the machines just don’t work for some people, particularly if you’re on the outside of the bell curve for height.
Between the machine’s limited range of motion and not allowing for the full range of motion, the gym machines can be limited. Granted, the machines do allow for adding additional resistance, which is more conducive to hypertrophy of the muscles.
When TRX is compared to the gym machines, the TRX training system allows for a natural range of motion and can be used by anybody. Since the straps are typically anchored down to a wall or bar above you, anyone of any size can use them.
Here’s one account of a gentleman using the TRX system, explaining the results he achieved.
How Effective is TRX For Your Core?
TRX is extremely effective for your core and is arguably one of the best, if not the best piece of equipment for a stronger core and flatter stomach.
While doing TRX workouts your core will be constantly engaged. You might not be working your core directly, but with virtually every workout you do with TRX you’re hitting your core directly or indirectly. Whether it be via using your core for balance, posture, or just keeping your upper body upright.
Something as simple as the TRX suspension lunge, where your legs are the primary target, if your core is weak it will be difficult to do. But over time, as you use the suspension training, your core muscles will get stronger.
What Are The Benefits of TRX Training?
- The Core – Having a strong core is arguably one of the most critical pieces of having a lean and strong body. Besides the fact that everyone wants flat abs, the TRX system targets improving core strength. It’s surprising how much easier using your muscles in everyday life is when your core is in shape.
- Versatile – The TRX system is a simple piece of equipment and the entire family can use it. The different programs, different angles, and exercises you can do will have you changing up your workout constantly, and you’ll never get bored.
- Low Impact – Weight lifting and cardio (primarily running) can be hard on your joints and muscles. The TRX system uses gravity and your body weight. Don’t be fooled it will kick your bottom, but it won’t make your joints ache.
- Portable – When I travel I almost always get stuck using the equipment at the hotel or wherever I’m staying, and 99% of the time, I’d be better off just going for a run. With the TRX system, you can stuff it in your bag and use it at your destination. It’s compact and lightweight, so no burden on you.
- No Noise – This one might seem strange, but a big benefit of using TRX (especially at home) is no interruptions from other gym people. Nobody asking “when are you gonna be done” or “can I work in with you.” And I’m not saying this is bad, that’s a given at the gym, but the ability to make that mind to muscle connection while using TRX is particularly beneficial.
Since the inception of TRX, they’ve made adjustments, improved their quality, and have expanded their offerings to suit the different needs of end-users.
I’ll give a brief review of the 4 signature products people usually choose from.
What Are The Best TRX Bands?
The TRX Home2
This is kind of their staple or the original piece of equipment. It’s designed to be used primarily at home and features comfortable foam grips, updated foot cradles, and barrel lock adjusters for quick changes. The number of workouts you can do with just this simple piece of equipment is mind-blowing. Even small adjustments can target different muscles providing for a more well-rounded workout. Here’s what you get!
The TRX Pro4
Honestly, this is pretty similar to the Home2 version with a few minor differences and a few extras. The grips are more durable, and it includes things like a theft-resistant carabiner, door anchor, TRX extender, and more. Depending on how much you plan on using the TRX system combined with how intense you plan on getting with your workouts, the Home2 and the Pro4 are great options. Here’s what you get!
The TRX Tactical Gym
I can’t imagine running out of different workouts you can do with TRX, but if you like to have your workouts planned for you, the TRX Tactical Gym can help out. It comes with a lot of the same equipment as the Home2 but the apps included will keep you busy with new workouts, to reach the ultimate burn. Here’s what you get!
The TRX Rip Trainer
This workout system is unlike the aforementioned systems. The Rip Trainer is a weighted bar and bungee system designed to improve your range of motion, rotational power, balance, and endurance. If you’re big into sports where you need to derive a lot of power from the ground up, this Rip Trainer might be the best option.
What’s the Best TRX System?
Maybe it’s because I lean toward the more affordable system or just because I like the original. I feel like the TRX Home2 is the best system they have. It’s lightweight (under 2 pounds) so you can take it with you when you travel, you can take it to the local gym, and you can obviously use it at home.
It works for the entire family, and it will accommodate a large majority of people. If you’re looking to participate in sporting events, compete, or do more extensive workouts the Pro4 might be the best option for you. You can’t lose, but for the money, the Home2 fits me fine.
Conclusion – Does TRX Build Muscle?
As an avid lifter, I would consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I’m not going to be breaking any records anytime soon, but I know my way around the gym. I’m a big believer in doing any kind of exercise, even if that exercise is something as simple as walking around the block or doing bodyweight exercises. To answer the initial question of “does TRX build muscle,” yes it does.
What I really appreciate about the TRX system is it’s focused on the core muscles. Having a strong core is so essential for everyday life, and those muscles are incredibly underserved. Many back injuries can be contributed to a weak core, and the TRX is a leader in strengthening those core muscles. The price of TRX is affordable and it will save you money!
FAQ on TRX Suspension Workouts
Does TRX work?
Yes, there are studies showing that suspension training can reduce body fat, improve balance, and increase lean muscle.
Does TRX work for weight loss?
The key to weight loss will be proper nutrition. TRX is great for burning through calories, which is a contributor to weight loss.
Is TRX effective?
Yes, if you follow the program and do what the creators and trainers show, you will see results quickly.
Is TRX better than lifting weights?
The outcome of TRX and weight lifting will be different. TRX is more for toning and building smaller amounts of lean muscle. Weight lifting is more for packing on muscle mass.
Is the price of TRX high?
Terms like cheap and expensive are relative terms. Monthly gym fees can add up quickly. TRX is one payment and it’s a wise investment.
Can TRX replace weight training?
TRX is less likely to build large amounts of muscle mass. If this is your goal, a combination of TRX and heavy weights will help you get that added muscle mass.
How good is TRX training?
TRX is used by Navy Seals and is a staple piece of equipment for losing weight, adding muscle mass, and maintaining muscle tone. The wide use of it alone shows it’s an effective and compact piece of equipment.
Does TRX build muscle fast?
TRX is a tool to help you burn calories and can provide enough resistance to build muscle. Some studies show that you engage more muscles using TRX bands compared to standard weights, so it can help quicken the process.
Can you build big muscles using TRX bands?
TRX is limited to the amount of muscle mass you can add because it might not provide the amount of weight resistance to tearing down the muscle fibers commonly associated with lifting heavy.