We already know that a TRX (short for total-body resistance exercise) suspension trainer is an effective tool for bodyweight moves. But did you know it can help your yoga practice? Just like traditional yoga props such as blocks or bolsters, the TRX trainer can be used to support and enhance certain poses.
"Because of the suspension aspect, the TRX builds not only muscle strength but also confidence for some poses that tend to be difficult or induce fear," says Shauna Harrison, Under Armour trainer and TRX instructor. Can't balance on one leg for tree pose? We got you. Freaked out by headstands? This can help.
Here Harrison shows how TRX can assist newbies—and how you can use it to modify and then master more advanced postures. Headstand here you come!
How to Use This List
Whether you're new to yoga or looking to expand your practice, there's something here for everyone. If you need to review any yoga terms (like downward dog or warrior I), check out our article here. You can use these moves in a number of ways:
- Practice: Use this list to work on perfecting these yoga moves.
- Progress: Use it to advance your practice.
- Stretch: Use a few or all of these moves at the end of a workout for a total-body stretch.
- Flow: Group a few or all of these moves together to create a custom yoga flow.
All you need is a TRX suspension trainer and an anchor point to get started. A yoga mat is optional.
Stand under anchor, straps on your right with handles at waist. Place right hand on both handles and step right leg out, toes facing straps. Turn left foot so heel is perpendicular to right heel. Press right hand down into straps as you hinge at the waist and extend right hand forward. Shift left hip back while keeping pelvis tucked and core engaged. Raise left arm and turn gaze toward ceiling. Repeat on the other side.
Make it harder: Flip hand so back of hand is on handles or place hand in foot cradles for a deeper stretch.
2. Low Lunge
Stand facing away from anchor, straps at mid-length, with hands on handles extended out at shoulder height. Step one foot forward into a lunge position, setting back knee on the floor and lifting arms. Sink hips forward and press into the handles to draw shoulders away from ears. Repeat on the other side.
3. Tree Pose
Set straps to mid-length or adjust as needed for height and flexibility. Stand under anchor with straps hanging in front of you. Use the straps for support and balance by placing right foot in both foot cradles. Press right sole into left thigh and inner thigh into the foot. Open knee and keep pelvis slightly tucked to maintain a neutral spine. Bring hands to prayer position or extend arms overhead. Repeat on the other side.
Make it easier: Lengthen the straps and place foot below the knee.
Make it harder: Shorten the straps to make the stretch slightly more intense.
4. Side Plank
Set straps to mid-calf. Start on all fours facing away from anchor with one foot in each foot cradle. Walk hands out to high plank position. Lower onto right forearm, elbow under shoulder, as you roll body into an elevated side plank and left arm reaches to ceiling. Press forearm down to prevent sinking into shoulder. Engage core and legs to keep hips from dropping toward floor. Repeat on the other side.
Make it easier: Spread feet wide for more stability.
Make it harder: Place only the right foot in both foot cradles (so left foot, on top, is free) and don't let feet or legs swing.
5. Half Pigeon
Set straps to mid-calf. Face anchor point in downward dog position. Bring right knee to chest and set right knee down behind right wrist with foot at left hip. Bring hands to the handles and press down to release shoulders. Square hips and keep top of left leg on the floor as you untuck the left toes. Stay upright or press straps forward to bring upper body toward floor. Repeat on the other side.
Make it harder: Place hands lower in foot cradles.
6. Happy Baby
Set straps at mid-calf. Lie faceup under the anchor point. Bend knees and bring them toward underarms. Place one foot in each cradle. Pull handles to help draw ankles down to stack over knees. Press lower back into floor and don't allow butt to lift as you reach for feet.
Make it easier: Grab straps above the handles as flexibility allows.
Set straps to mid-calf. Sit under anchor point with feet flat on floor, hands on handles. Extend arms and press through hands to draw shoulder blades down. Lift legs so shins are parallel to the floor, lean back slightly to balance, and maintain straight back and engaged core.
Make it harder: Extend legs to a 45-degree angle.
8. Forearm Pike
Set straps at mid-calf. Start on all fours facing away from anchor point with feet in foot cradles. Lower onto forearms with elbows directly under shoulders. Engage core, press palms into floor, press feet into the cradles, and pike hips up to stack over shoulders. Keep head off ground looking just beyond hands.
Crow: Step 1
Set straps to mid-calf. Start on all fours facing away from anchor point with feet in foot cradles directly under anchor. Press hands into floor and feet into foot cradles so that knees lift up and hover. Engage core and hold for at least 3 to 5 breaths.
Crow: Step 2
Do step 1, then press into high plank position. Bring right knee to right underarm and hold. Then bring left knee to left underarm and hold. Return both feet to starting position and repeat.
Crow: Step 3
Repeat step 1 then press hands into floor and slightly bend elbows in toward ribs like chaturanga arms. Bring right knee to back of right arm and left knee to back of left arm, pressing feet into cradles for balance and support. Lift hips and belly straight up and hold for at least 3 to 5 breaths. Return to starting position and repeat.
Start in a short downward dog position. Spread fingers wide and press hands into floor. Bend elbows in toward ribs as you lift butt straight up and set right knee on the back of right arm. Try to get knee as close to underarm as you can. Then bring left knee to back of left arm. Lift through core as you gaze forward. Hold and breathe. Slowly return to starting position.
Headstand: Step 1
Set straps to mid-calf. Start on all fours facing away from anchor point, feet in the foot cradles directly under anchor. Staying on knees, walk hands out to a modified plank position. Bring forearms to floor, elbows under shoulders. Interlace fingers and press firmly into forearm plank as you press feet into foot cradles to lift knees off the floor. Engage through shoulders, legs, and core.
Headstand: Step 2
Start with step 1 and come to a modified plank, knees on floor. Interlace fingers to create a basket for your head. Place the very top of head (not forehead) on floor with back of head in hands. From there, press feet into foot cradles to straighten legs and pike hips up over shoulders. Slowly lower back down to starting position.
Headstand: Step 3
Start with step 2, but this time, place right foot in both cradles and rest left foot on floor. Pike hips straight up over shoulders. Once comfortable, lift left foot toward ceiling for a one-legged, supported headstand. Slowly lower to starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Start in a modified forearm plank, elbows directly under shoulders, fingers interlaced. Place top of head on floor and back of head into palms. Pike hips as if you were doing downward dog. Walk feet toward face to stack hips on top of shoulders. Continue to press elbows and forearms firmly into floor (weight should not be in shoulders or neck). Bring right knee to chest and lock it there using your core. Bring left knee to chest to come to an egg shape. Pull knees together and, as you press through elbows, push feet toward ceiling. Squeeze inner thighs together. Hold and breathe. Slowly lower back down one leg at a time.
How to Tie the TRX Straps
To practice wheel pose and other backbends, you can convert your TRX straps into single-handle mode, which is basically one big loop. Follow the steps below to get started.
Wheel: Step 1
Convert straps to single-handle mode and set length to hip height. Loop straps around torso so tied handles are right under shoulder blades. Walk away from anchor and slowly lean back to let chest open into a supported backbend. Arms can reach overhead and you can sway from side to side for a stretch. Press feet into floor and engage legs.
Wheel: Step 2
Set straps at mid-length in regular mode. Start standing with one hand on each handle. Extend arms and walk feet forward. Lift and open chest to come into a slight backbend. Ground through feet and let backbend come from floor up through the rest of your body.
Wheel: Step 3
Convert TRX to single-handle mode and set length at hip height (or adjust based on flexibility). Perform step 1 but this time let handles come toward base of spine. Walk your feet forward so you come directly under the anchor point. Ground the feet down and open the chest into a backbend. Hands can stay on straps for support or you can reach them overhead and toward floor.
Lie faceup, knees bent, feet flat on floor and hip width. Bend elbows to bring hands next to ears, fingers facing feet. Press down through feet and hands as you lift torso off ground into a full backbend. Hold and breathe. When you're ready to come down, tuck your chin and slowly lower to the floor one vertebrae at a time. Do not place head on ground as you enter or leave the pose.
Special thanks to Shauna Harrison, Under Armour trainer and TRX for Yoga ambassador, who curated and modeled these moves for us. Harrison wears her own Under Armour gear and uses a TRX Suspension Trainer. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. This shoot was shot on location at the Workout Factory in New York.