How to TRX Row: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Also known as: Hanging goods

Target: Upper Back (Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Traps), Shoulders, Biceps, Core

Necessary equipment: TRX suspension trainer or similar suspension trainer

Level: Intermediary

Working out the major muscle groups of the upper back can be a bit daunting if you don’t have a lot of space or heavy exercise equipment. This is especially true if you’re not strong enough to do a traditional pull-up. That said, the invention of suspension trainers, like the TRX suspension trainer, has made this type of training much easier to do.

These trainers, which can be hung practically from any fixed and sturdy point overhead (towing bars, branches, railings) make it possible to perform modified rows, towing and stand up easily and effectively, all of which target the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and arms without much space or heavy equipment to complete them. In fact, aside from the machine itself (which can be easily taken down and stored), all you need is your own body weight to perform each exercise.

The TRX row is great because it can be easily modified based on individual strength — you don’t have to complete an unaided pull-up to do the row. It also works all major muscle groups of your back, shoulders, and core. You simply hang, hovering off the trainer’s handle, supported by your arms and feet, then pull your chest toward the handle, “rowing” your body upwards.

As a general rule, the TRX row can be incorporated into any strength training exercise. That said, it’s also an effective move to include in your high-intensity interval or circuit training routine if you’re alternating between strength- and cardio-focused movements.


The main benefit of the TRX row is that it makes it easy to train your upper body (back half) chain without heavy, bulky exercise equipment or the need to do unassisted pull-ups. help. The TRX row hits all of the major muscle groups of the back – calves, fascia, and core – as well as the shoulders and core.

The hanger is also lightweight, easy to transport, and easy to store, making it possible to work these muscle groups in practically any setting — at home, at the park, on vacation — with little or no effort. difficult. You can also easily modify the row based on your body’s position to make it easier or harder.

Although interval training generally requires a basic level of core stability and engagement, as long as you’ve been training for a while, the TRX row is the right exercise for most. everyone.

Finally, done correctly, the TRX row can help overcome weaknesses with shoulder or core stability. In addition to targeting major upper back muscle groups, suspension training requires engagement of the body’s stabilizing muscles to maintain control during each repetition of each exercise. The TRX row can help strengthen the shoulder stabilizers, spinal erectors, and deep abs. This can help prevent injuries to the shoulders and low back while improving overall coordination for everyday living.

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Step by step instructions

The most important thing you will need to perform the suspension row is a suspension trainer. TRX machines are popular and available at many gyms and fitness centers, but there are other, more affordable options available if you plan to exercise at home or at the park. Otherwise, you will need several square feet of space around the hanger point.

  1. Grip the suspension trainer handles, one in each hand. Step back, away from the hanger’s anchor point until the hanger hangs and your arms form a straight line, elbows straight, arms extended in front of chest.
  2. Place your feet hip-width apart. Roll your shoulders back and “lock them” in place so you’re standing with good posture. Focus on your center of gravity and begin to lean back, with your weight on your heels, until your arms (holding the hanger handle) keep you from falling backwards. . Your body looks like it’s in an upright plank position. Holding this plank position, with your center of gravity activated and your shoulders “locked” in place so they don’t roll forward, start stepping forward so your body begins to make an angle with your face. soil. Aim for a position where your body is tilted 30 to 60 degrees off the ground. Your feet and arms are supporting your weight, but your core is still working to prevent any sagging of your hips. This is the starting position.
  3. Turn the hanger handle inward so that the palms are facing each other. Make sure that your hands are at chest width apart. The goal is to keep them in this position throughout the exercise. Breathe in.
  4. Use the muscles of your upper back, arms, and shoulders to pull your chest and torso up toward the suspension trainer’s handles, flexing your elbows as you pull yourself up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep your elbows close to your body and palms facing in. Exhale as you go and continue pulling until your chest is level with your hands.
  5. Hold the head position for a second then reverse the movement and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position as you inhale. You may find yourself tempted to “drop” down to the starting position, but don’t. Lower yourself slowly — aiming to reach twice the speed of the ascent — to maximize the strength-building benefits. Also, avoid letting your shoulders “drop” or “slop” forward at the end of the movement — they should stay and “lock” in place, maintaining good posture throughout the row.
  6. Complete full reps, then exit the movement by walking your feet back until you’re upright. If you find yourself only able to complete a few good reps at a certain body angle, feel free to adjust the angle of your body as you do each set. For example, if you start a set and it feels too easy, walk forward to make it harder. Likewise, if you do a few reps and it starts to feel too hard, take a step or two backwards to make the exercise easier.
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Common mistake

There are some common mistakes that you should know so you can avoid them.

Do not participate in the core

The beauty of the hanging exercise is that it is designed to target your core and the stabilizing muscles of your upper body while performing common movements, such as rows. Not engaging your core when you do these exercises causes two problems; first, it limits the overall benefits of movement, and second, it is more likely to lead to low back strain or other possible injuries. You need to keep your core active to prevent unwanted movements of the spine.

If while doing the TRX row, you notice your hips sag or sag to the ground, or if your body doesn’t form a straight heel-to-head angle, you’re probably not working enough on your center of gravity. Check your shape in the mirror, draw your navel toward your spine, draw your pelvis forward, and draw your shoulders back. You will feel the tension from shoulder to shoulder.

Allow your shoulders to sag

Letting your shoulders sag or sag is a mistake similar to not engaging in core activities. Done correctly, suspension training can help develop more shoulder stability with regular use of the rotator cuff and stabilizing muscles of the back, chest, and shoulders. However, done incorrectly, the pause workout can actually lead to shoulder injuries if these stabilizers aren’t stabilized properly. And the main reason they can’t stabilize effectively? You feel comfortable keeping them engaged.

If your shoulders are facing forward or collapsing up at any point in the line, pulling them out of alignment with your ears, you may need to rethink your form. Be sure to immobilize your shoulders and upper back. This is especially true when your arms are fully extended and your body is closest to the ground. Check yourself in the mirror at this point. If your ears are not in line with your shoulders, so a straight line can be drawn from your ears to your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles (that “perfect pose” position), roll your shoulders back and reset yourself.

Executing the downward phase too quickly

One of the most tempting (and detrimental) mistakes made with the TRX row is downshifting too quickly. Basically, you paddle up to the handle yourself, then simply “drop” to the lowest position without controlling the downward motion. This is problematic because letting the body drop suddenly to the effects of gravity can lead to injury.

Without controlling this movement, you can easily strain a muscle or ligament, or even pull your shoulder out of its socket. Counter this trend by counting the time you lift and lower your body. If you have to count to twice to straighten your torso into your arms, it should take at least that amount of time to lower yourself back to the starting position, although for maximum benefit, try to double it. sometimes the downward (eccentric) phase of the exercise than the upward (concentric) phase.

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The cool thing about the TRX row is that if you find it particularly difficult at a certain angle, you can simply change the angle of your body (making the body more upright and upright), which ultimately makes make exercises easier to do. This is because your legs are supported more than by your hands, which means you are lifting less body weight when performing the row. That said, the unstable nature of using a hanger can still be too challenging for those with weak upper back, grip, or shoulder stability.

You can do the exercise the same way with a stationary bar—using something like a barbell placed on a squat rack—to make it a little easier. With a fixed bar, your core and shoulder stabilizers don’t have to work as much to control the movement of the sling machine, allowing you to focus most of your work on the muscles in your back.


You can always make the exercise more difficult by stepping your feet forward and creating a more significant body angle (closer to floor level). This requires you to lift more of your body weight as you do the row because your legs will support less weight. But if you’re ready for an even bigger challenge, try the one-handed row. Simply do the exercise in exactly the same way you would with both arms, but instead aim for one arm at a time. Just remember to keep your torso square to the hanger so that the inactive part of your body doesn’t twist toward the floor.

Safety and Precautions

Most people can try TRX products, but to prevent injury, it’s important to take things slow and steady. Start with a larger body angle than you think you need. If the exercise feels easy, step forward to make the exercise more difficult. Likewise, make sure you maintain core activity and smooth movement.

Give at least as much time to the down period as the up phase. And if for any reason you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder, stop exercising. You can always try with weights if you’re not ready for the challenge of lifting a portion of your own body weight.

Give it a try

Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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