What is sling training (TRX) and what makes it so effective?

Two straps, a few exercises and after half an hour it’s over: sling training can be very tiring. Because the serpentine belts demand a permanent tension of the muscles.

It looks harmless: two straps dangling from a frame. There you hang in different positions with your hands or feet and do exercises such as squats, push-ups or vertical rowing. Then stretch briefly and after 30 minutes the workout is over. Totally relaxed, right? No way: if you don’t cheat, you’ll be really flat after sling or TRX training, muscle tremors included.

What makes sling training so effective?

Sling training is commonly known by the name “TRX,” but that’s just the name of the more well-known company that makes the black and yellow slings. There are now many other manufacturers that offer “Suspension Straps”. With sling training, the exercises are only performed with your own body weight – what makes it all so effective?

“It’s a movement in three-dimensional space,” explains Marcel Doll, personal trainer and author. That means: during sling training, you rotate your body, go horizontal or stand in front of the ligaments. On the other hand, if you train with equipment, you always set the direction of your body.

The second important feature: slings make the athlete permanently unstable, that is, the deep muscles are worked, more precisely the middle of the torso, also known as the core. Working with your own weight may seem unfamiliar to some, but it strengthens your own body awareness.

Also interesting: The 5 most effective exercises with your own body weight


What do you have to pay attention to during sling training?

However, unstable postures not only offer advantages: they are often a source of error, especially for beginners. “The body should form a straight line and not sag,” says Marcel Doll. At first, it’s not easy to get a feel for your body’s alignment, especially on floor exercises.

You can do sling training anywhere: at home, outdoors, or in a hotel while traveling. Slings can now even be purchased cheaply at discount stores. If you want to train at home, it is best to drill a stable hook in the ceiling or a wooden beam. Slings can be attached to it.

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Exercises with the sling trainer

There are countless exercise variations with the sling trainer or TRX band, for most muscle groups and all fitness levels. Here some examples:


You should only do this exercise if you can keep your plank position clean throughout the rep – your spine shouldn’t sag! Adjust the loops to mid-calf height, place both feet in the loops, and do a push-up.

TRX band push-ups
Push-ups with the feet on the TRX band are also a challenge for advanced users Photo: Getty Images

sprinter’s lung

A good sense of balance and coordination is required here. Slings should be tightened to their full length, with one foot in the sling facing away from the anchor. A back lunge is now performed by bending the supporting leg to about 90 degrees. Then rise back up guiding your foot forward into the loop.

Man doing sprinter lunges with TRX strap
The Sprinter Lung improves muscular endurance and coordination in the legsPhoto: Getty Images

low row

With the low row, the loops should be set to a medium length. Facing the bands, grab the loops and lean back until the angle between your body and the floor is about 45 degrees. Then bring your shoulder blades together and body toward the anchor point by bending your arms. The chest moves towards the handles. The trunk must remain tense during the exercise.

Woman doing rowing exercise with TRX
Rowing on the sling trainer strengthens your back, shoulders, and armsPhoto: Getty Images

Also interesting: How does anti-rotation and core stability training work and what are the benefits?

How often should you do TRX training?

With sling training you work in the area of ​​strength-endurance. “Anyone who wants to improve should ideally train twice a week,” says Heinz Kleinöder of the German University of Sport in Cologne. Three times a week is even better.

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Sling training is no longer a novelty. In the meantime, some further developments have prevailed, e.g. B. TRX Yoga. You practice different postures with the support of the loops, for example, to deepen the stretch.

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