The TRX Exercise System is unlike any home gym I’ve come across in my many years of doing ratings and reviews of exercise equipment online.
At first glance the TRX (Total Resistance Exercise) Suspension Trainer might come off looking like a gimmick you’d see advertised on late night TV, but don’t be fooled by first impressions. The TRX gym is a serious home gym that was developed by the Navy Seals to train their recruits – in case you didn’t know, the Seals are some of the toughest, well conditioned people you’ll ever come across.
The more I read about the TRX gym and “suspension training” as they call it, the more intrigued I became. The company that manufactures and promotes the TRX is called Fitness Anywhere, and they claim the TRX can improve your conditioning and performance in athletics like golf, climbing, and martial arts (ahtletes) yet is suitable for general fitness, physical therapy, group exercise and personal training (regular people)…
That’s a pretty tall order for any home gym to fill, let alone a piece of exercise equipment that seems so basic and nondescript as to hardly warrant a second look let alone live up to those claims. But if it was good enough for the Navy Seals, I figured I might as well put the it to the test to find out exactly what suspension training is all about, and to see if the claims about this gym are true.
Pros of the TRX Suspension Trainer
To say I was impressed with the TRX gym would be an understatement, I’ve never trained on a piece of exercise equipment that’s so versatile for functional strength, and so small in size and weight. It’s also easy on the wallet, you can get one for less than a night on the town – no “easy” payment plan required.
To gain additional perspective for my trial of the TRX, I enlisted the help of my wife Grechen to get a female point of view on suspension training (Grechen is a certified personal trainer with NASM).
After putting the TRX to the test over the course of 10 days, here’s what Grechen and liked about the TRX Exercise System:
- bodyweight exercises that are challenging for conditioned trainers yet simple for beginners to learn and execute
- range of motion and dynamics of the system allow you to perform unique, multi-plane exercises with varying resistance you can’t do on any other exercise machine
- small size and light weight of the TRX allows for easy transport and storage – it’s a great option for people who travel and those who have limited workout space in their home.
- the TRX weighs less than 2 pounds and can easily be brought on a business trip or put in a drawer when not in use. you can use the gym almost anywhere – attach it to a door in the house, hang it from a weight rack, mount it to a beam in the garage or take it outside and use it at the local playground or park
- low price of the TRX is a bargain compared to cheaply built home gyms, and the workout on the TRX is 10 times more ergonomic, fun and effective than any machine costing five times as much
- a simple tool that can be effectively used for many different types of training like Pilates, stretching, strength training, golf and physical therapy with no need to buy more expensive equipment once your fitness level improves
Cons of the TRX Suspension Trainer
There’s not much we didn’t like about the TRX, it delivers an effective whole body workout that’s a good fit for athletic training, sports conditioning and the general population.
One thing we wish the TRX had is different handle options. The handles built-in to the gym are comfortable (padded) and sturdy to a fault, but rubber or metal handles that detach might make sense for different market segments that like a different grip style (i.e. weight lifters, rock climbers, rowers etc).
The only thing standing in the way of the TRX taking the fitness market by storm is people’s lack of knowledge about how effective bodyweight training and core conditioning are when done correctly.
As you know from my other reviews I’m usually anti-hype about exercise equipment, but in this case I think Fitness Anywhere needs to rev up their marketing machine and get some more mainstream exposure. It seems that the general public doesn’t respond well to new exercise equipment unless it has a certain cache associated with it. Once they figure out how to spread the word about how effective suspension training is, the rest will take care of itself.
The Bottom Line on the TRX Suspension Trainer
Will the TRX gym magically make you lose weight and gain Herculean strength? No it won’t. What it will do is exactly what it promises – it will give you the strength, stability and power you need to lead a better lifestyle or excel in your chosen sport. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about.