Ask Stew: TRX Addition to Weight Training Program

Tech Sgt. Matt B. Halstead performs pushups during a TRX Suspension Training program held at Dobbins’ Human Performance Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew J. Park)
Tech Sgt. Matt B. Halstead performs pushups during a TRX Suspension Training program held at Dobbins’ Human Performance Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew J. Park)

Trying to figure out how to add in a new exercise type into a program can be challenging and easily strain and disrupt your current workouts if you are not careful. You can easily enhance current exercises and muscle groups by supplementing with TRX exercises as either a core exercise, or supplement or replace a weight or calisthenics exercise with a similar TRX exercise. Here is an email from a reader who purchased a TRX Suspension System and is seeking some guidance on how to use it with his current program.

Stew -

I just purchased a TRX system. Thanks for recommending this. I have a question. If I do a heaving lifting session at the gym on one muscle group, should I then focus on the same muscle group when I do TRX that same day or work on another muscle group? Thanks - Steve

Steve –

It is up to you how you want to supplement or replace exercises with TRX — you use it to make calisthenics harder or add more stability / core training to your weighted isolation exercises. For instance, to make pushups harder, try the TRX Atomic Pushup for maximum repetitions in a set replacement of regular pushups. Or you can top off your bench press exercise with a TRX Chest Press or Reverse Fly (aka wide row) to supplement and balance (upper back) your chest exercises.

But, yes, I would work the same group of muscles the same day. So, on leg day you could mix in TRX Suspended Lunges or TRX Leg Curls after a weight session or in a second workout later in the day that focuses on slow, deliberate movements that help with full range of motion, muscular balance, and mobility. This way you can do upper body exercises the following day and allow your legs to recover.

Here is a sample leg workout that demonstrates how we mix in TRX with other calisthenics and weighted exercises. You can either do this in one session or break it up into a second session that focuses more on cardio and TRX elements:

5:00 cardio warmup / stretch

(run, bike, etc.)

Continue Warmup

Repeat 5 times:

  • Jumping Jacks – 10
  • ½ Squats - 10

Weight, TRX, Calisthenics Set

Repeat 3 times:

  • Weighted Squats – 5-10
  • TRX suspension lunge - 5/leg
  • Abs of choice or TRX rollouts 1 minute

Repeat 3 times:

  • (Barbell lifts or Dumbbells)
  • TRX squats 10 / deep and stretch
  • Dead lift 5
  • TRX leg curls 10
  • Leg Press 5-10

Rest / stretch as needed

Cardio Session

Swim 1000m with fins for time or bike 20 minute pyramid making each minute tougher than previous minute (resistance).

Cool down / Stretch

There are many ways to add your new workout device into your training routine. You may find that you only want to lift heavy and not add in calisthenics or TRX into that program for a cycle. Then you can perform a cycle of more “hybrid” combinations of TRX, calisthenics, and lifting, like the above example.

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Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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