First Look: TRX HOME Training System

Use your body weight to build strength, balance and stability

“What is that thing?” My roommate asked, as she walked in the door to find me sitting amid a tangle of long straps. I looked up from the instruction manual.

“It’s the TRX home kit,” I replied.

The arrival of TRX HOME had come at an opportune time—it was about 0º Fahrenheit outside and I had an injured knee. According to what I'd heard, this device would help me get a good workout in a tiny space (otherwise known as my New York City apartment), and I could stick with arm exercises to avoid aggravating my injury.

If you've never heard of TRX, here’s the gist: It was invented by former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, who needed a way to stay in shape on the road (holed up in hostile territory, if the story is to be believed). The original design was made from an old jiu-jitsu belt and some surplus parachute webbing. After sewing it together, Hetrick quickly realized that the simple device allowed him to leverage his own bodyweight to build strength, balance and stability with exercises such as rows, presses, curls, flys and tricep extensions.

Today, you most often see the black and yellow TRX suspension trainer at gyms and fitness centers, but the simple, adjustable design means it also works great in small spaces, such as in your office or bedroom. (The TRX rep has even seen people use them on flights.)

In each TRX home kit, there's the suspension trainer, an instruction manual, a door anchor, a door placard, wrist band and mesh carry bag. There's also a card with information on how to activate your online TRX account, where you can find six digital workout videos. In addition, you can also buy more workouts on the website.

Adjusting the straps was straightforward and easy, and setting up my online account took less than five minutes. I connected the suspension trainer to my kitchen door and turned on the first video for arms and shoulders. Within minutes, my muscles were burning. Although I had used TRX a couple of times at the gym for core work, these exercises were completely new territory.

Using the videos, I tried a few more exercises for my arms, back and shoulders. After half an hour, I was finished and felt like I’d had a quality workout performing exercises that I otherwise couldn't. I spent another 20 minutes playing around on the suspension trainer, making up my own exercises and stretching out.

“This is like an adult jungle gym!” I told my roommate, who watched with amusement while eating dinner at our kitchen table.

I would recommend the TRX HOME kit for anyone who wants to work out in the privacy of their home or needs a way to stay in shape while traveling. The device is light (less than five pounds) and wraps up to about 10 inches by 10 inches. It could easily fit in a backpack and wouldn’t weigh you down.

The product sells for $199.95 and you can purchase it on the TRX website.