You’ve probably seen a regular TRX suspension system at the gym. And you’ve most likely watched male gymnasts swing and steady themselves between two rings on TV. Well, meet TRX’s new tool that combines the two: The Duo Trainer.
With two flat bars placed at the bottom of rope-like bands, this new system allows you to turn up the benefits of bodyweight exercises — particularly those that target shoulder and core stability. In other words, it builds super strong upper bodies and tight abs. (We mean it: You probably haven’t felt your core burn like this before.)
“This piece of gear expands the bodyweight training opportunities you get from pulling movements by making hanging, swinging and pull-ups — critical components to any training program — more accessible to everyone,” says Kelly Starrett, DPT, founder of Mobility WOD. Because you can easily adjust the tool to fit your height and anchor it to a pull-up bar, squat rack or even a tree (just pick a thick, sturdy branch), it’s super versatile for anyone looking to intensify their total-body strength routine.
Now it’s time to hold tight — here are Starrett’s five favorite TRX training moves.
5 Total-Body Exercises for Next-Level TRX Training
These five exercises strengthen your upper body, helping you perform moves like push-ups, pull-ups and bench presses with ease. And besides targeting your shoulders, you’ll work your legs and abs, too. String them onto the front or back-end of your workout, Starrett says. “[The TRX Duo Trainer] provides an outstanding warm-up tool to prime rotation of the body,” he explains. “But it also acts as a great finisher at the end of a workout.” In the words of Starrett: It’s no accident that super strong shoulders were built on gymnastics rings.
1. Duo Negative Press
Push-ups are one of the most important functional moves to master. And this TRX training exercise will help — especially if you have trouble pushing yourself back up after lowering to the ground. You’ll focus on the eccentric or downward phase of the movement to build strength and stability needed to nail the full range of motion. If you feel like you can’t lower yourself down without falling, simply hold the plank.
How to: Start in a high plank position with both hands in the Duo Trainer and your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles (a). Take three to five seconds to slowly lower your body to the ground, as you maintain that straight line. Elbows should stay in by your sides (b). When your elbows reach higher than your shoulders and chest is almost to the floor, drop your knees to the ground and quickly push yourself back up (c). Raise your knees and repeat for 3-5 reps.
2. Duo Static “L” Hold
This targets your entire body — you’ll especially feel it fire up your core — while you work to maintain a steady hanging position. This is also the same posture you need to perfect for the bottom of a kettlebell swing, the top of a tricep dip and the end a swim stroke, says Starrett.
How to: Sit in between the two Duo Trainer straps with one hand on each handle and your legs straight out in front of you, forming an “L” shape (a). Straighten your arms and lift your butt off the floor. Palms should point forward and slightly outward (b). Hold for three breaths or about 10 seconds then lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
3. Duo Negative Dip
Here’s another exercise that works your muscles in the eccentric or downward phase. This helps build more strength and stability in your shoulders, as well as your abs. If you don’t have enough control to slowly lower yourself to the ground, just hold yourself in the static position.
How to: Stand between the Duo Trainer and grab a handle with each hand. Palms should face slightly outward, at about 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock (a). Jump up with your feet together and straighten your arms. Point your toes, engage your abs and stabilize yourself in this position for a few sections (b). Slowly lower yourself down (about three to five seconds), until elbows are about in line with shoulders (c). Then step down to the ground and repeat for 5-7 reps.
4. Duo L Pull-Up
Adding more demand to your typical static hold, this move really challenges your stamina, stability and upper body strength. By bringing your legs straight out in front of you, you target your abs even more and also turn up the challenge in your pull-up. Can’t pull yourself up, while still holding your legs out? Simply do the move with your legs straight down or continue to work on your static L hold.
How to: Start hanging from the Duo Trainer, one handle in each hand (palms face outward) and legs straight below you (a). Point your toes and bring your legs up and parallel with the floor, so your body is in an “L” shape (b). Pull yourself up to the top, so chin comes above your hands. Palms should rotate in toward each other (c). Slowly lower yourself back down, keeping your palms facing inward and legs up until you reach the floor (d). Repeat for 3-8 reps.
5. Duo Knees to Elbows
Skip the crunches and ditch regular old leg lifts — this move takes trunk control to the next level. It also increases lower body strength and helps improve shoulder stability. Start with single knee to chest movements, then work your way up to double.
How to: Start standing between the Duo Trainer, both hands on a handle. Rotate your shoulders inward so palms face each other (a). Pull yourself up off the floor, then without letting your upper body tilt backward, bring your knees up to your elbows (b). Pause for a second, then slowly lower your legs back down (c). Repeat for 4-8 reps.