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Suspension training has become a popular and highly effective workout. The TRX system is the most widely used among suspension training equipment. It’s bright yellow adjustable straps make it easy to recognize and even easier to use. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of its design: TRX is a lot more challenging than it looks.

The idea behind suspension training is that you rely on your own bodyweight and gravity to increase your strength and core muscles. You don’t need weights, bands, bars or balls to get a great total body workout using the TRX system. What’s even nicer about suspension training is that you can take an average exercise and make it more difficult with this system. Here are eight moves that you should incorporate into your TRX program:

1.    One-legged Burpee: Because burpees are not difficult enough (right?!), the TRX takes it one step (or one leg) further. Place one foot in a strap while keeping the other foot on the floor. Now perform a burpee just as you normally would do. This will not only be challenging in terms of coordination and balance, but for your abdominal muscles as well.

2.    Mountain Climbers: Mountain climbers become a whole new uphill challenge when both feet are suspended in the TRX straps. Your arms and abs will definitely feel the burn.

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3.    Inverted Rows: For those who find pull-ups a challenge, inverted rows are the next best thing and a great way to build upper body strength so you can finally master that pull-up. While facing the TRX, simply grab the handles, extend your legs out straight and let your body hang. Now using the strength from your back (not your biceps), keep your elbows in tight and pull yourself up so your chest is almost at the same level as your hands.

4.    Chest Press: Like it or not, push-ups are a vital part of any good workout program. They work your entire upper body and core, as well as increase your heart rate. So why not try them TRX style? Grab the handles and turn away from them so it’s behind you. Bend your elbows as you would in a regular push-up, lowering your chest as far down as you can, keeping your legs and body straight. The lower the handles are set, the more challenging it will be.

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5.    Jump Squats: This is a full assault on your lower body and your cardiovascular system. With the straps at about chest level, hold them with your arms extended. Take a slight lean back so that the weight of your body is in your heels. Lower yourself into a squat and then jump as you come up making sure to always hold onto the straps throughout the entire movement. Your legs will be thanking you for this one.

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6.    Bicep Curls: Set yourself up as if you’re doing an inverted row with a grasp on the handles. However, instead of performing a rowing motion with your elbows going back, leave them in front of you and perform a bicep curl bringing your hands in towards your face. Make sure you are using just your bicep muscles on this one and only bending your arms at the elbows.

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7.    Tricep Extensions: This is a similar set up to the push-up as you will be facing away from the TRX. Take hold of the handles, lean forward onto your toes and extend your arms overhead. From your elbows, bend your arms and bring your hands over your head. This is similar to a seated overhead extension, but you are using your bodyweight and working against gravity to make this triceps exercise more difficult.

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8.    Split Squats: Facing away from the TRX, place one foot in the strap and put your other foot forward so you are in a lunge position. Lower your back knee to the floor as you would in a lunge and then come back up. Do a few sets per leg. You can even add a jump when you come up for a cardiovascular boost.

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One of the reasons TRX has become such a hit with the fitness industry is that it’s not only versatile (with more than 300 exercises available), but it’s also suitable for any person regardless of age, size or fitness level. Because the straps are adjustable it truly is a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment. Athletes, soldiers, fitness professionals and even power lifters utilize suspension training as part of their workout program. It puts a whole new dynamic on regular weighted exercises and throws a bit of a curve ball with the balance and coordination that is required with many of the movements.

You can purchase a TRX suspension trainer for home use as long as you have a high and sturdy spot from which to hang it. If you want to give it a try before making the $200 investment, most gyms have them and a trainer who can show you how it works. Many people have found it to be very effective in tightening their core and improving their overall strength which seems like two pretty great reasons to give TRX a try.

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