TRX leg exercises have gained immense popularity in recent years for their ability to effectively strengthen and tone the lower body. Whether you want to sculpt leaner legs, increase leg strength, or improve overall stability, incorporating TRX exercises into your workout routine can yield impressive results.
The TRX system requires a version of bodyweight exercises. You use your body weight, which is as effective as barbell exercises and dumbbell exercises in your workout plan.
What is a TRX suspension trainer?
TRX, short for Total Resistance Exercise, uses suspension training techniques to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This innovative training system involves suspending your body or limbs using adjustable straps, providing a challenging and dynamic workout experience.
By leveraging your body weight and the instability of the straps, TRX leg exercises activate key muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves, while improving your core strength.
The TRX trainer allows for a wide range of exercises that can be adapted to different fitness levels and goals.
Benefits of TRX Leg Exercises
TRX leg exercises offer a multitude of benefits and one of the key advantages is their ability to engage multiple muscle groups at the same time
Unlike traditional leg exercises that isolate specific muscles, such as your quad muscle exercises or hamstring exercises, TRX exercises require you to stabilize your body using the straps, which activate various muscles throughout your lower body.
When performing TRX leg exercises such as squats or lunges, you not only target major muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes but also engage smaller stabilizer muscles that support proper movement and alignment.
This comprehensive activation of multiple muscle groups improves functional strength, balance and coordination.
Engages multiple muscle groups
TRX exercises target key leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Here’s a breakdown of how these muscle groups are engaged during TRX leg exercises:
- Quadriceps: TRX exercises like squats, lunges and single-leg squats require you to push through your heels, which primarily engages your quadriceps. These muscles on the front of your thighs are responsible for knee extension and play a crucial role in lower body strength and power.
- Hamstrings: TRX leg exercises involve movements such as hamstring curls and single-leg deadlifts that specifically target the hamstrings. These muscles on the back of your thighs play a vital role in knee flexion and hip extension. Strengthening the hamstrings helps improve stability, reduces the risk of injury, and enhances athletic performance.
- Glutes: TRX exercises heavily recruit the gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, glute medius, and glute minimus. Movements like squats, lunges and bridges activate the glutes, which are essential for hip extension, stability and overall lower body strength. Strong glutes contribute to a shapely posterior and enhance functional movements like running, jumping and lifting.
- Calves: TRX calf raises specifically target the calf muscles, which include the gastrocnemius and soleus. These muscles are located at the back of the lower leg and are responsible for ankle plantar flexion. Strengthening the calves can improve lower leg power, stability, and athletic performance.
Adjustable resistance for progressive overload
TRX leg exercises offer the advantage of adjustable resistance, allowing progressive overload to promote continuous muscle growth and development. Here’s how TRX straps can be easily adjusted to increase or decrease resistance:
- Strap Length: TRX straps can be adjusted by changing the length they hang from the anchor point. Shortening the straps increases the difficulty level, as it requires more effort to stabilize and control your body during exercises. Lengthening the straps reduces the resistance, making the exercises slightly easier. By adjusting the strap length, you can effectively modify the resistance to suit your fitness level and goals.
- Body Positioning: Another way to vary resistance is by adjusting your body positioning during TRX leg exercises. For example, in TRX squats, moving your feet closer to the anchor point increases the difficulty, while stepping further away decreases the resistance.
Best TRX leg exercises
- Stand facing the TRX, holding both handles in front of your waist with elbows bent by your sides.
- Lower into a squat position, extending your arms in front of you at eye level.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position.
TRX Bulgarian Split Squat
A lunge variation that is a little more advanced and requires you to use your balance.
- Standing on one leg, facing away from the TRX anchor, place other foot in both the TRX stirrups (combined); toes and hips are facing forward.
- Begin the movement by bending the supporting leg as you lunge back, bring the TRX supported knee back and towards the floor, until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors. Hands can rest on hips for support, or they can mimic a running motion with the split squat.
- Push back up with the supporting leg, and drive the TRX knee forward past the supporting leg.
- Repeat. Then change legs and repeat the process.
TRX Hamstring Curls
- Before getting into the starting position, set the straps so that the handles are about a foot from the ground/mid-calf height.
- Lie on your back with your feet facing the anchor point.
- Place your heels into the foot cradles of the TRX. Your arms should be out by your sides, with your palms on the floor for balance.
- Engage your core, glutes and hamstrings while lifting your hips.
- Pull your heels to your glutes, bringing your knees to the sky. With control, straighten your legs back out by returning your heels to the starting position.
Tip: Keep your shoulder blades flat against the ground.
TRX Jump Squats
- Stand upright facing the TRX anchor, keeping feet shoulder-width apart; hold the TRX handles and squat down towards the floor.
- From the squat position, proceed to come back up in an explosive manner, jumping high, then control the landing by bending your knees.
TRX Glute Bridges
- Lie on the ground with your hands to your sides.
- Carefully insert one foot at a time into hanging TRX handles/cradles with your knees bent.
- Extend your legs forming a straight line with your body with your hips off the ground.
TRX Single-Leg Exercises
You can do various single-leg exercises using TRX, such as single-leg deadlifts, single-leg squats (pistol squats) or single-leg lunges.
TRX Single Leg Deadlift
- Stand facing the suspension anchor.
- Press your hands into the handles.
- Standing on one foot, extend the other leg behind you.
- Make a straight line from your hands to your feet.
- Squeeze your glutes to stand back up.
TRX Pistol Squat
- Face the anchor point, grab the handles of the TRX bands, and step back and squat down into the starting position. Your feet are hip-width apart and your arms should be fully extended.
- Engage your core and raise your right leg off the ground.
- Sit back, keep a strong core and squat down while pushing the heel of your left foot into the ground as you lower. You should aim to squat down enough to form a 90-degree angle with your left knee.
- Push up through your heel to the standing position while keeping a slight bend in your left knee.
- Repeat then switch to your other foot.
TRX Curtsy Lunge
Fire up your gluteus medius with the curtsy lunge, which has a lot of benefits as a single-leg exercise.
- Stand facing the anchor and grab the TRX handles, keeping elbows bent by your sides. Your elbows should be bent, and your arms should make a 90-degree angle.
- Lift your left foot off the ground and balance on your right leg.
- Squat down on your right leg and cross your left leg back behind it. Your toes should touch the ground out to the side, and your knee should get close to the ground, too. This should feel like a “curtsy.”
- Without completely pulling yourself up with the TRX bands, push down through your right heel, engage your quad muscle, and return to standing position.
- Switch sides by balancing on your left leg and dropping your right leg back behind.