The Best TRX Rehab Exercises

TRX and other suspension trainers are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment for the physical therapist, chiropractor, or other rehab professionals to use in the treatment of injuries. The exercise variety and ease of quickly altering the load of the exercise makes it great for individuals of all fitness levels. I’m thrilled to share this compilation of the best TRX rehab exercises from some of the best rehab professionals I know. 

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If you would like to purchase a suspension trainer I highly suggest looking at the Edge Suspension Trainer which at only $60 is a fraction of comparable products.

 

Wall Angels

Want a great warm up exercise for a suspension trainer? Using one for wall angels allows you to easily progress and regress depending on your shoulder and thoracic mobility. You can also easily push backward to fire the upper quarter posterior chain while working on mobility. Great warmup!

One of my favorite warm ups to do before a workout, or as part of a corrective exercise program is a Wall Angel. Using rings or something like an EDGE Suspension Trainer helps easily progress and regress this exercise depending on your available shoulder and thoracic mobility. Using a wall, you are limited to being flat against the wall, thus being difficult if you have a lack of shoulder elevation or thoracic mobility. By walking backward a few steps using a suspension trainer, you can regress this and eventually progress your arms to parallel with your body. I also like to place my hands in the foot straps and push posteriorly to activate upper quarter posterior chain during this prior to any upper body workouts. Try it and let me know what you think! #modernmanualtherapy #edgemobilitysystem #edgesuspensiontrainer #thoracicspine #shoulders #warmup #mobility #stability Link in my profile for the best deal in Suspension training!

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Abdominal Fallouts

A challenging drill to maintain a neutral lumbar spine as the arms are raised overhead. Great for anyone needing anterior core strength and especially for the active population like CrossFitters who move into excessive lumbar extensions with overhead lifting.

Zach Long, The Barbell Physio

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TST (The Space Trainer) Bridge with KB Press

This exercise requires an incredible amount of anterior and posterior chain activation. The TST requires massive amounts of Tri-Planar Hip Stability with hip extension, external rotation and abduction. This activation only magnifies the posterior chain engagement for full body stability. The Single Arm KB Press is a great addition to confront anti-rotation and anterior chain activation. This exercise is a great bang for its buck to teach some clients and athletes full body irradiation.

TST (The Space Trainer) Bridge with KB Press: This exercise requires an incredible amount of anterior and posterior chain activation. The @thespacetrainer requires massive amounts of Tri-Planar Hip Stability with hip extension, external rotation and abduction. This activation only magnifies the posterior chain engagement for full body stability. The Single Arm KB Press is a great addition to confront anti-rotation and anterior chain activation. This exercise is a great bang for its buck to teach some clients and athletes full body irradiation. #tst #thespacetrainer #triplanar #stability #diaphragmaticbreathing #anteriorchain #posteriorchain #antirotation #kettlebell #kbpress #glutes #antilowbackpain #breathe #clinicalathlete @clinicalathlete @cliffydeez @movementasmedicine @primalfitmiami @thecrossfitsquad @stopchasingpain @drjohnrusin @thebarbellphysio @kevinlarrabee @kettlebellexercises @kettlebellcenter @kettlebellfever @kettlebeast @timferriss

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Dr. James Spencer, DC, ATC, FIAMA

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Shoulder Field Goals

Shoulder Field Goals are one of my favorite accessory exercises for shoulder health and overhead stability. Here, I demonstrate using the EDGE Suspension Trainer. This exercise contains components of scapular retraction, shoulder horizontal abduction, and external rotation, all motions that we should LOAD to increase scapular and shoulder stability. The suspension trainer allows you to alter the difficulty by adjusting how far you stand from the system. The closer you stand, the more difficult it is, as you will be lifting more of your own body-weight. Give the shoulder field goal a try to increase shoulder stability, a great exercise for both rehab and performance settings!

Michael Mash, DPT, CSCS, FMS

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Anterior Shoulder I’s, Y’s, & T’s

The posterior shoulder gets all the love these days.  But what about the flip side of the coin?  What about anterior shoulder strength?  Many patients’ shoulder symptoms are exacerbated by uncontrolled lengthening of the anterior chain.  So why not train this pattern in the later stages of rehab?

This exercise is a great way to work on anterior chain control.  The emphasis should be on maintaining a neutral lumbar spine, keeping inferior rib cage apposition, and eccentrically controlling scapula retraction/posterior tilt.  This eccentric component may have additional benefits for those with myofascial restrictions in their anterior chain (i.e. pec minor).

I usually start supine to teach the proper technique/breathing.  From there I progress to suspension trainer isometrics, eccentric isometrics, then finally to the full motion.

Aaron Swanson, DPT, CSCS – Owner, Physical Therapist at The A&G Project

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TRX Assisted Single Leg Deadlift Re-/Progressions

The TRX assisted Single Leg Deadlift is a great teaching tool to instruct a client on the proper way to perform a single leg deadlift.  The TRX allows for the client to have increased stability and allows them to focus on proper hip and trunk positioning.  You can progress from 2 hands to 1 or eventually to a hip airplane as seen at the end of the video.  If someone can perform with good form, then progress to a bodyweight or weighted version.

Andrew Millett, andrewmillettpt.com

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TBABs (Suspension Bridge with Banded Hip Abduction)

This exercise is a TRX assisted bridge combined with a banded bilateral hip abduction. I call them TBABs for short in documentation. This is an excellent exercise that heavily targets the gluteus medius while building hip and lumbar extensor isometric strength/endurance. It requires core strength, lumbar/hip extensor control, and directly targets the gluteus medius due to the hips being in neutral to slight extension. One of the best features is that it is non-weight bearing which allows it to be used in cases when a patient or client might have weight bearing restrictions on the ankle, knee, or hip. Additionally, you can easily spot a unilateral weakness in the hip abductors that might not show up as easily in gait or with MMT. This is due to the fact that both hips have to abduct equally against each other to uniformly stretch the sport band and to keep from pulling to aggressively to one side and throwing the bridge off balance.

Jarod Hall, PT, DPT, CSCS

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TRX Bird Dogs

TAKE YOUR CORE TRAINING UP A NOTCH The bird dog 🐕 exercise is one of the best exercises to train the ability to dissociate the hips, pelvis, and low back. I use it frequently in rehab and warm ups. Once you have gained proficiency, you can modify it to better suit training. This version using the TRX (or any suspension trainer) does just that. I love this exercise because it not only challenges 🔄 rotational stability of the core, but also uses both hip flexion and extension at the same time. I love this for any athlete who has to 🏃 run or sprint as it creates stability around the lumbar spine while you control the hips going in opposite motions. Focus on quality over quantity and see how many ✔ perfect reps you can knock out before you get shaky. Tag a friend who needs to train their core and share the wealth! #AxisSportsTherapy #PursueBalance #Myodetox #ClinicalAthlete #FRCms #powerlifting #crossfit #run #running #bodybuilding #pain #posture #fitness #fitfam #mobility #rehab #prehab #chiropractic #physicaltherapy #Florida #centralflorida #Orlando #lakemary @clinicalathlete

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Dr. Jacob Harden, Axis Sports Therapy

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TRX Shoulder Warm Ups

Suspension trainers are a great tool that can deliver a full body workout with great versatility. They’re also a great tool for warming up for a workout. Use these two shoulder movements with a suspension trainer before your next workout to help build resilient shoulder stability.

  1. Single Arm Plank Screwdriver : The Kettlebell screwdriver is a staple exercise for developing rotational control in a packed shoulder position. Take this movement to the next level by executing it single arm on a suspension trainer. Maintain a braced neutral spine, actively pull the shoulder back to a stable position in the shoulder girdle, and perform small rotational movements within your ability to control. Use both arms for a slightly less challenging variation.
  2. Single Arm Circles : Increase the intensity from the screwdriver to mini circles. Key points of performance from the previous movement are the same, but the stability demands of the shoulder are increased with increased movement in three planes. Start small, complete clockwise and counterclockwise motions, before increasing motion diameter.

Mitch Babcock, UnchainedPhysio.com

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Redcord Variation of 4PK Hip Extension

This is an suspension trainer version and advanced progression of a commonly taught exercise focussing on hip extension on all four’s. I love it because it shows the person how much control they need in their shoulders and weight bearing hip to successfully extend the other side. You can’t afford to arch your back or sway to the side, both of which are common movement compensations. When performing the hover in the redcord, if you loose your base of support, you can’t stay balanced. Great for scapula and shoulder stability, neck extension endurance, abdominal control, hip extension movement training and balance.

Sian Smale, Australian-trained Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (currently a Californian License Applicant)

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Rows with a Twist

This advanced Rehab Exercise is highly effective for injury recovery of the shoulder, midback, low back and diastasis recti. Teaching your body how to coordinate and work together will help get you to 100% on your rehab goals as well as prevent future injury. It combines a row using the muscles in your midback to retract the scapula (shoulder blade) with the muscles of your entire core to brace your spine.

Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall, PT, DPT, CPT, owner of Core Exercise Solutions

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TRX Mountain Climber

TRX Mountain Climber This movement trains one of the main functions of the core: maintaining a stable trunk to allow safe and controlled movement of our limbs. Specifically, we’re training the ability to move our hips independently of the lumbar spine. This is a skill that is necessary for pretty much all sports, including lifting. Think about basically every lower body movement: squat, deadlift, lunge, etc. 1) set the foot strap at the same level as the widest part of your calf 2) get your toes in the straps and set up in a kneeling pushup position, with a neutral spine and a straight line from your knees to hips 3) brace your core and come up to a plank 4) slowly bring one knee at a time forward as far as you can while maintaining neutral spine 5) bring the leg back to the start position before you start moving the other one Disclaimer: complex movements are earned – if you can’t maintain a neutral spine in the plank, don’t start moving your legs around. Master the basics before you move on. #TRX #core #abs #plank #weightlifting #bodybuilding #crossfit #stability #traintoevolve #evolutionat

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TRX Sprinter’s Start

Suspension trainers like the Edge Mobility System pack (@modernmanualtherapy ) can allow athletes an ideal learning platform for improving single limb symmetry and power which maximizes carryover for sport performance and injury prevention. In this sprinters start progression, the athlete is shown how to incorporate upper body tension and breathing throughout the starting position of take off. As the progression moves forward wth demand, each phase places attention on limb placement for optimizing posture and balance symmetry. To learn more about suspension training exercise stay tuned for updates through the lifters clinic. To pick up a pair of your own EMS suspension trainer system was over to liftersclinic.com/shop/ (link in bio) and use my personal code "lifters10" for 10% off! Also be sure to follow @thebarbellphysio @movementresilience @themovementfix @drjohnrusin @johnny_tea_ @theprehabguys @vertexpt #liftersclinic #suspensiontraining #edgemobilitysystem #modernmanualtherapist #runtraining #sprinttraining #injuryprevention #dptstudent #dpt

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Dr. Mario Novo of LiftersClinic.com

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Jackknife Plus Plache Rocks

Dave Tilley, Shift Movement Science

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Face Pull

While there is no one size fits all approach to rehabilitation or performance training, I haven’t met very many clients who wouldn’t benefit from adding some scapular retraction and external rotation work to their program. The facepull, which is essentially a combination of a horizontal row and external rotation, targets both these movements at once.

The exercise can be broken down into its component parts, but I like to perform it in one smooth movement for several reasons. The integration and fluidity in the single movement gets the cuff and periscapular muscles firing together, and working as a unit throughout the entire range of motion. I have also found that clients pick up the exercise much quicker when they perform it this way.

To perform this exercise, take all of the slack out of the TRX, and stand straight with your arms in a 90/90 position. This will be the finishing position. Slowly lower yourself by simultaneously internally rotating your shoulder and protracting your scapulae. If it is too difficult to come back up from this position, start the next rep with your feet further back.

Cameron Yuen, SPT, CSCS

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Posterior Chain Couplet

Ryan Smith, UMove Physiotherapy

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TRX Single Leg Squat

The single leg squat is a great way to build strength in the lower extremity. When we walk/run and commute about our daily lives, we spend most of the time on a single leg. Most of my athletes get a heavy dose of single leg work when they begin training, during GPP phases, or as they rehab from injury.. They will need great single leg stability, strength, and power to compete at the best of their ability. The hip, knee, and ankle can be challenged without the other difficulties that may present with performing this movement without the TRX (i.e. compensation through excessive spinal flexion, lack of motor control, etc).  The TRX gives some additional upper body control which can allow us to focus on the work performed by the lower extremity.I like to perform the movement in two variations:

Variation 1: Hold the handles with the elbows close and balance on one leg keeping the big toe, little toe and heel on the ground. Slowly bend at the knee allowing the hips to go down and back as the opposite leg stays out in front. Be sure to control the downward eccentric phase of the movement and fully lock the hip out at the top. Cue the athlete to maintain an upright torso.

Variation 2: Same squat as above, but tuck the other leg behind the balance leg. I find this variation better mimics the explosive/acceleration work we may need our athletes to perform.

Jackson Taylor Prevail Strength and Conditioning www.areteparadigm.com

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Suspension Trainer Hip Hinge

Most folks tend to demonstrate an inability to hinge at the hips and load the posterior chain. This holds especially true not only in the fitness and performance settings, but also in the rehabilitation setting, where pristine exercise technique and form is of the utmost importance. This is where quality movement is formed, so teaching sound mechanics is a must.

I like the “Hip Hinge with Suspension Trainer Assistance” exercise as a good way to help groove the hip hinge pattern, load the posterior chain muscle group, and teach a posterior weight shift for rehab patients and training clients. It’s a good way to visually show them that the hip hinge pattern should be hip-dominant and follow a horizontal plane (front to back) of movement; not a vertical plane (up to down) of movement like we’d see in the squat.
 
Hold the handles securely with your hands. Keep your arms long and your lats engaged. Remain tall in your torso and keep your core engaged as if you were in a plank. From there, sit your hips back into the hinge pattern, hold that end range position for a moment (getting a good stretch and awareness of the posterior chain muscles), and finally stand tall back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.
 
Matthew Ibrahim, Strength Coach & Massage Therapist

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