Travel Workouts

TRX Total Body Workout

To some people, training straps are little more than gimmicky pieces of gym kit, but after this TRX total body workout, you’ll wonder why you never packed one in your backpack before. 

TRX Total Body Workout Guide

I’ve travelled extensively and kept seeing these seatbelts hanging in hotel gyms but never really using them. When lockdown hit I needed a way to bring the gym into my home in an affordable way, and landed on my first TRX (suspension strap) kit. It has now become an indispensible item on my travels and this TRX total body workout is my go to routine if I need a 3-4 day workout plan and don’t have much else around to use. 

Warning: It’s a high intensity workout, it will bring you close to failure on large muscle groups but at least it will mean the next day you can take off guilt-free.

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To the point

trx total body workout

Our background is in helping others to train for their personal physiological goals and of course doing it for ourselves. We also love to travel, so tying in ways to exercise effectively with limited equipment is pretty standard for us. As for the TRX (the brand name) or suspension strap training, it has been around as far back as the 1800s when ropes were used. 

In more recent years with the growth of the Total Resistance eXercise (TRX) brand, their use has become more commonplace. TRX was developed by a Navy Seal vet Randy Hetrick when on tour in South East Asia with the Military. After finding his modified parachute strap training system kept getting stolen by his comrades, he realised he may be onto something. At their heart, straps work the same as any form of resistance training does, except you may have to find new ways to achieve muscular overload, such as through high repetitions over time. 

In short, strap training (the non branded term) and this TRX total body workout are legit. 

A 2019 study found that between two groups of 40-50 year old men, muscle mass, strength and power gains were indistinguishable between suspension training and traditional resistance training. The key factor appears to be that providing you trained to concentric failure, it didn’t matter in any significant way, which method of training or rep range was performed. In simple terms, repeat the move until you can’t. Do that enough, eat well and you’re golden. To prove this point, try my TRX leg workout and let me know how those DOMS are the day after. 

While there are some limitations to the level of muscular activation in edge cases, for most gym users, a suspension training system will it seems be perfectly adequate to experience hypertrophy. (Gains)

You can hit all major muscle groups with suspension training. Glutes, quads, hamstrings, chest, back, tris and bis. You can even hit your delts. In this TRX total body workout guide we will show you how.

According to a study sponsored by the American Council of Exercise, a TRX full body workout will burn between 350-620 calories per hour in a 60 minute session. 100% more than brisk walking for the same period expends.

That’s an average calorie burn, considering the common physiological differences between men and women. Most women tend to have less muscle mass than men, therefore burn fewer calories when training. 

Personally, I think our workout does this in 45 minutes. Enjoy!

What Do I Need To Know Before This TRX Workout?

TRX Total Body Workout Guide

In this TRX total body workout all you will need is a TRX or suspension strap system, a fixed point to anchor it from. If you can grab a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell to bring to the party, even better.

This workout can be done with only a TRX but if there is a dumbbell/kettlebell which is 20-25% of your bodyweight, then you can add in a brutal triplet we love to hate. (We’ll explain that in a bit)

Muscles worked

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes 
  • Deltoids
  • Chest
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Rhomboids
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Core (Abs/Lumbar)

Strap Training Rep Ranges

Where conventional free weights or resistance machines might see you sit in a rep range of 5 to 15 reps for muscle growth or the ‘pump’, you’ll be looking to replicate this feeling through volume and time with a TRX. This means, lots of reps, or slow reps until you hit a point close to failure. In our TRX total body workout, we mix up ‘rep ranges’ with timed sets or percentages close to fail.

Time Needed

The total workout should take you around 45 minutes. Perfect for a lunch break or in that gap after the wake-up buffet and before hotel check-out. Not that I’d recommend you stuff your face with breakfast before this full body routine; you might see it again.

Suggested TRX Total Body Workout Playlist

The TRX Full Body Workout Routine

So, you’ve got nothing more than a TRX or equivalent strap system and if you’re lucky a kettlebell or dumbbell which is about 15-25% of your body weight. This is my go-to total body strap training workout and we hope it saves the day for you too.

Rest periods: 
– Between new exercises – 15 seconds
– Between sets – 30-60 seconds

Face/High Pulls

Muscles: Biceps – Brachialis – Rear Delts – Rhomboids – Trapezius

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

Close-Grip/Body-Width Low Rows

Muscles: Rhomboids – Biceps – Brachialis – Lats

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

Superset Legs x 2

Muscles: Glutes – Hamstrings – Quads – Core

Isometric Chair – 60 seconds
10 Reps Each Leg Pistol Squat

Incline Deep ROM Chest Press

How to: Consider this a modified pec flye into press. As you lower your body forward with your hands moving back to your shoulders, use that mind muscle connection to make a chest contraction start the movement.
Chest – Anterior Delts – Triceps

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

Kettlebell BONUS: Triplets Superset

Muscles: All of them!

10 Reps of each move each side:
Single Arm & Leg Deadlift
Single Arm Row
Single Arm Clean, Squat & Press

NB: If you prefer, you can work through these moves Left to Right, as opposed to doing all movements for one side of the body first. 

Press ups

Muscles: Chest – Triceps – Anterior Delts

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

Jumping Kettlebell Squats

Muscles: Glutes – Hamstrings – Core – Quads – Calves

4 Sets of 8

NB: No kettlebell? No worries, hold the strap handles, sit deep into a squat position and do jumping squats for 4 sets of 40 seconds.

Bulgarian Split Squats

How to: Place your back foot in the strap handle
Muscles: Quads – Glutes

3 Sets x 10-15 Reps Per Leg.

Pulse & Jump Squats

How to: Hold your arms fully extended, with handles in hand and sit into a deep squatted position. Pulse up and down by a quarter rep, then jump. As you land, repeat the pulse and jump move.
Muscles: Quads – Calves – Hamstrings – Glutes – Core

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

Rear Flyes / Bicep Curls Superset

How to: Face the fixing point, with arms outstretched in front of you, leaning backward. The straps should be taught. For the rear flye, move your hands out to your side, using your body weight as the resistance. For bicep curls, use the same starting position and curl up to your forehead.
Muscles: Biceps – Rear Delts

3 sets x 90% to failure
1 set to failure

trx total body workout

Outro & Closing Tips

So there you have it, a pretty rounded (and intense) TRX total body workout. It’s a perfect travel workout when all you have is the strap training kit you packed, or the weird seatbelt contraption hanging in the hotel gym.

If you’ve never tried strap training before, I can’t recommend giving it a go enough. It’s a game changer as you will, like us, discover the ultimate back-up workout plan.

Take a day off after performing this full body workout, your body will thank you for it. 

What next? Want a machine version of this? Try this instead:

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