4 TRX® Exercises You Should Do For a Stronger Core

Instability builds cores of iron.

A strong core doesn’t just directly improve sports performance, it’s a fundamental part of injury prevention as well. Plus, powerlifters have thought training the big 3 is all that’s needed for a strong core but doesn’t lessen the need for direct core training, particularly to prevent lower back injuries.

With these extremes, there is plenty of room in the middle and that’s where you should fall.  To build boulder shoulders or bulging arms a little isolation work never goes astray.

This works for the core too, where a little goes a long way.

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns.

trx exercises
via Friends Stock/Shutterstock

A Strong Core Benefits The Big 3

When you’re deadlifting and squatting and putting all those compressive forces on the spine, it takes only one bad rep to cause discomfort. 

This is why direct core training is a godsend, because when you train your core, your lower back muscles also get stronger, helping to lower the risk of injuries. A stronger core helps protect your back musculature and stabilize and protect the spine, improve your posture, and keep you lifting for longer.

A great tool to train the core is the TRX. Suspension training provides an unstable environment that requires more muscle activation, especially from the stabilizing muscles to make your core training more effective.

No need to crush your spine or perform circus acts to strengthen the core. These 4 exercises will do the trick.

[Related: 6 TRX Exercises Powerlifters Should Know About]

1. Body Saw

Adding movement and instability to the plank position will help you build a greater level of core strength compared to the regular plank and the TRX body saw does this in spades.

Plus, the body saw engages other, secondary muscles such as the deltoids, glutes, and hip flexors, making the body saw more than just a core exercise.

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

Get into plank position, place your feet into the straps, and then rest on your forearms and engage your glutes and core. While keeping your abs and glutes braced, drive your body back and forth while keeping your back in neutral.

This exercise is either done for time or reps. 10-15 reps or 30-60 seconds will have you feeling your abs big time.

2. Knee Tuck/ Pendulum Plank Combo

The knee tuck trains your hip flexors and rectus abdominals while the pendulum focuses on the lateral hip muscles of the glute med and mini. Put them together and you have a great core conditioning that strengthens the smaller hip muscles that are important for hip and knee health.   

Form Tips and Programming Suggestions

Place your feet into foot cradles which are at mid-calf length. Lift your knees off the ground and get into a strong push up plank position. Drive your knees towards your elbows and return to the starting position.

Then immediately swing both legs apart using your outer hip muscles, then pause and repeat.

This exercise will get your heart rate up so it’s perfect to use in a conditioning/core circuit either doing it for reps (12-15) or for time (30 seconds).

[Related: 3 Ab Exercises That’ll Actually Help Your Lifts]

3. Standing Hip Drop

Pallof presses and side planks are great exercises to train the obliques but if you’re looking for more variety, the standing hip drop is a good alternative. Standing hip drop trains your entire lateral side of your body but it really focuses on the external obliques, otherwise known as the love handles.

If you have any weakness in your lateral core, this exercise will expose them. 

Form Tips And Programming Suggestions

Interlock the handles, stand with your left side to the anchor point and hold the grips in both hands above your head.  Your body should lean slightly to the right and the foot closest to the anchor point is behind you.  

Drop your hips out to the right till you feel a stretch in your lats and then pull yourself back to the starting position.

This exercise pairs perfectly with a TRX one arm row to really fry your anti rotation muscles. For example,  

1A.  TRX Single Arm Row: 8-12 reps each side

1B.  TRX Standing Hip Drop: 8-12 reps each side

4. Unilateral Kneeling Rollout

TRX Kneeling Rollout exercise is similar to the Swiss ball rollout or the ab roller movement, training the anti-spinal extension muscle of the core with a lot of shoulder stability to boot.

Doing this unilaterally takes away the stability of training with two hands and trains anti rotation core also, making this exercise even more difficult.

Form Tips and Programming Suggestions

Get into a tall kneeling position (with your feet off the ground) with the TRX straps interlocked, a few inches off the floor with the strap over the shoulder and your arm straight.

Raise your arm and fall forward until your body is in a straight line from your wrist to your knees and your hips are engaged to prevent the lower back from extending. Then return to the starting position and repeat.

You can pair this with other floor core exercise to maximize your core time on the ground. For example:

1A. Unilateral Kneeling Rollout: 6-8 each side

1B.  Dead bug: 6 reps on each side

Wrapping Up

The unstable nature of suspension training makes this a great tool to train the core without going to extremes. Plus, strengthening the core no matter if you’re a weekend warrior or a powerlifter has great injury prevention benefits.

Then you’ll get to show off your hard work at the beach. 

Featured image via Friends Stock/Shutterstock

Shane McLean

Shane McLean

Shane McLean is a Certified Personal Trainer who’s worked with a wide variety of clients, from the general population client all the way to ex-Navy seals and college athletes.

Shane is a big believer in seeing exercise as a gift for the body and never a punishment — exercise should be as enjoyable as possible and never just a “work” out.

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