The TRX Suspension Trainer is the American role model for all Suspension Trainers. It was one of the first Suspension Trainers on the market, worldwide. Randy Hettrick invented the TRX Suspension Trainer, and it was he himself, who was developing the TRX Suspension Training method while serving in the US Navy. Between missions, he and his comrades were using and thoroughly testing this new training device.
The result of that effort, meanwhile enhanced with some innovations, is the TRX Suspension Trainer – and it surely is impressive. Why? You’ll find out, reading my test.
I’ve divided the TRX Suspension Trainer test into four topics: Material; Setup, Safety and Comfort; Training; and Overall Impression. In total, I was testing the TRX during more than 50 training hours. Not only did I go to the fitness center for the tests, but to forests and sporting fields as well. I was also testing while traveling – practically in every live situation. OK, let’s get started…
First, let’s examine the materials. The entire trainer is made of a nylon composite, just like the one used for climbing equipment. The carabiners used make a high quality impression. Despite of some abrasions, over time, they showed no signs of corrosion. They have not deformed and, over time, kept closing precisely. According to the manufacturer, the TRX Suspension Trainer is able to withstand a total load of 900 kilograms (approx. 1984 lbs).
The precise number doesn’t really matter, for normal training use the maximum load limit is more than sufficient. Clearly, the TRX Suspension Trainer’s only weak point are the grip handles, which are coated with a very soft foam material. During just a few training hours the foam material was wearing out and was quickly forming cracks. Unfortunately, the grip handles can’t be replaced individually, neither can they be removed from the grip handle loops, nor can the entire grip handle rope be dislodged. It’s sad, according to the current state of affairs, the only remaining option is to buy a complete new trainer. Because there are no carabiners attached to the grip handles, these can’t be replaced by other grip handle variations. Here the aeroSling, with it’s variety of grip handle types, has a clear advantage regarding training flexibility.
The TRX Suspension Trainer has an overall weight, including all of it’s features, of just 800 grams (approx. 1.76 lbs). Therefore it is indeed ideal for mobile use. You can easily carry it in a small briefcase or while practicing endurance training. Even when going for a run, you can easily hand carry the TRX Suspension Trainer in it’s storage bag – carrying the TRX that way I never experienced to be bothersome.
Setup, Safety and Comfort
For operating a Suspension Trainer, be it in the fitness center or while traveling, what matters most, is a fast trainer setup and a quick sling length adjustment. This is where the TRX Suspension Trainer makes the best score. Due to it’s simple carabiner concept and it’s anchor sling with several anchor loops, the TRX gets attached to pretty much anything within 3 seconds, no matter if vertically or horizontally. Here simplicity triumphed indeed. Sling length adjustment is just as fast and effective. You simply release a grip carabiner, pull a loop and already the length is adjusted. This allows you to quite quickly switch between different exercises and to adjust exercise intensity in very little time. During the testing period, the mechanism didn’t show any signs of wear and tear and it is still functioning properly and flawlessly.
The foot loop cushioning is something you will appreciate, especially when training barefooted. You won’t end up with abrasive burns or feel pressure points.
Hint for people with small feet or for barefoot training
The TRX Suspension Trainer’s foot loops are fairly large, so if you have small feet or want to train barefooted (here the grip handle’s pressure point on the foot should be at 1/3, measured from the heel), you’ll have to apply a trick in order to make the foot sling smaller. Therefore you simply take the foot loop and guide it, above the grip handles, through the loop. That way you will get a smaller foot loop, so you can train without any problems.
The new TRX Suspension Trainer safety concept is simple and ingenious (from my personal point of view). The concept’s aim is, to prevent the slings from sliding through the sling bracket. At first, that sounds complicated. In practical terms it means: when during training each hand holds a grip handle respectively and one of the hands slips or yields, the other hand would immediately lose control, because the sling completely slides through.
In any case, the safety concept’s purpose is, to prevent the sling from sliding through. After just a few centimeters (or even fewer inches) of slip, the safety system kicks in, preventing the sling, which otherwise would keep sliding, from slipping any further.
With the TRX Suspension Trainer you can, without any problems, perform all Suspension Training exercises – certainly, after all, the manufacturer invented this type of training. Like I’ve said earlier, the TRX Suspension Trainer, can be used anywhere and at home it can be easily attached to a door, even without additional accessories.
Hint: “The towel trick”
If you want to train with the TRX Suspension Trainer attaching it to a door in your apartment or hotel room, you can apply the towel trick. Therefore you simply take a small facial towel and pull it through one of the anchor loops. Just as it is you put it right behind the door’s edge and close the door. The towel prevents the TRX from slipping through the gap between the door and the frame. Make sure, to train in the direction that is opposite from the door’s opening direction.
What remains in the end – of course, the test result. Training with the TRX Suspension Trainer is intense and really a lot of fun. Those nice little features, like it’s low weight, it’s quick setup and some comfort features (like the cushioned foot slings) make it a great training partner. Plus, all of that with very little wear and tear, except for the grip handle issue. This is where Fitness Anywhere clearly needs to significantly improve, after all, the grip handles are the TRX Suspension Trainer’s only true quality shortcoming.
Finally, there’s the price to talk about. Tthe TRX is available from various providers at a price of about $190 (see list below). Many times already, on-line discussions about the TRX’s price took place and there are some build-it-yourself instructions in circulation on the Internet. From a safety perspective alone, I cannot recommend doing that..
From my personal point of view, the TRX is a worthwhile training device, it’s as functional as a Swiss Army knife. It can be used in so many different ways, you can carry it, wherever you want, and with it, you can be sure to be an eye-catcher, just in case you’d care for that .
Have you had your own TRX Suspension Trainer experiences you’d like to share? – Go ahead, use the comment feature below and let us know – I’m hoping for an enjoyable discussion.
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