TRX rows are a strength training exercise that utilizes a TRX suspension trainer to challenge the muscles of the upper body. TRX, which stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise, is a versatile training system that allows users to perform a wide range of exercises using their body weight and a set of straps.
TRX rows are a challenging and effective way to build upper body strength and hypertrophy. Because they rely on your body weight for resistance, they can be performed almost anywhere and are a great option for those who don’t have access to traditional weight training equipment.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do a proper Inverted Row, go over a few common mistakes, muscles worked and give you some variations you can try out.
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Table of Contents
How To Do TRX Rows
- TRX Strap
- Squat Rack (or something else sturdy that can be used as an anchor)
- Start by setting up a TRX Strap on a sturdy anchor point.
- The higher the handles are placed, the easier the rows will be. The lower the handles are placed, the harder the rows will be. (Just make sure to leave yourself enough room to fully extend your arms at the bottom of the rep)
- Lay down underneath the handles.
- Grab the handles, brace the core and make sure your body is fully extended – including your legs.
- You should be positioned to where when you pull yourself up towards the handles, your hands end up beside the top of the stomach, bottom of the chest. Slide up or down to adjust accordingly.
- Now, keeping your body in a straight line, pull your chest up to the bar and lower back down until your arms are fully extended.
- Repeat until all reps are completed.
There are two common mistakes that I see all the time when it comes to TRX Rows.
One, athletes I coach love to either try to pull their faces to the handles or even raise their chin up and over the handles like a pull-up. These are both wrong. You should think of the TRX Row as a reverse bench press. Keep your head back, chest out and pull your chest directly to the bar. Pull the shoulder blades down and back at the top of the rep and squeeze the back.
The second mistake I see all too often is tired athletes that start to look like they’re doing the worm. They start rocking and rolling their entire body to try to get their chest up to the handles. Don’t do this! Maintain a rigid body posture and continue pulling yourself as high as you can each rep.
TRX Rows are sometimes referred to as Inverted Rows and/or my personal favorite, Aussie Pull-ups. If you see one of those names in a program or workout, they are most likely referring to the same exercise.
There are a number of benefits to TRX Rows including:
- Strengthening the upper back: TRX Rows target the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, lats, and traps, which can help to improve posture and reduce the risk of injuries.
- Developing grip strength: Grasping the handles during the TRX Row exercise can help to improve grip strength, which can be beneficial for many sports as well as activities such as rock climbing.
- Low impact: Because TRX Rows are performed using the individual’s own bodyweight, they are a low-impact exercise that can be performed without putting excess strain on the joints. This makes them a good option for individuals with joint issues or those looking for a lower-impact alternative to exercises such as Barbell Bent Over Rows.
TRX Rows work about every major muscle group in the back and biceps. The Lats, Teres Major, Posterior Delts, Biceps, Brachialis and even the Traps and Rhomboids get involved when squeezing the scaps at the top of the movement.
As an added bonus, your core will get some work in as well as it has to stabilize your torso as you row.
You can see why I love incorporating TRX Rows into my programming.
TRX Row Variations
There are numerous ways you can variations to TRX Rows, making them easier or much harder. Here are a few:
With Knees Bent
If you find yourself really struggling to pull yourself up, the quickest and simplest way to make the movement easier is to bend your knees. This is a great variation for both beginners and/or anyone trying to squeeze out those last couple of reps of a set.
With Feet Elevated
If you trying to make your TRX Rows more challenging, start by elevating your feet. A bench or a box both work great for putting your feet up onto while you row. For even more of a challenge, use a Stability Ball to place your feet on.
Another way to make TRX Rows more difficult is to add extra resistance, generally in the form of a weight vest or weight plates. Lay a 25 or 45-pound plate on your chest and then go to work.
TRX Row Alternatives
If you can’t do TRX Rows – maybe because of an injury or lack of equipment – here are a few alternatives that may work as a substitute.
Want more options? Here are 13 alternatives and variations for Inverted Rows. You’ll find plenty of exercises using different pieces of equipment as well as beginner and advanced movements.
Barbell Bent Over Rows
If you don’t have TRX Straps or an object you feel comfortable hanging it off of, then I would suggest opting for Barbell Bent Over Rows.
It’s the same movement pattern and comes with almost all of the same benefits – no straps or rack required. Just make sure to really brace your core to protect your back while doing Bent Rows.
DB One Arm Row
If you don’t have a rack or a barbell, but you do have dumbbells – give DB One Arm Rows a try.
Like Barbell Bent Rows, it’s a very similar movement pattern with similar benefits.
More Links and Info
Looking for more great upper body strength builders? The Upper Body Lifts section inside my Exercise Library has tons of exercises (complete with step-by-step instructions) for creating a strong, powerful upper body – all for free.