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Special Forces Challenge with 3 TRX Moves to Master

By Alexander VanHouten, Master Trainer & Life Time Education Specialist

It’s cold, wet and gritty as you drag your face through the mud. The air is below freezing, yet somehow it’s not snowing. You don’t shiver or gasp, however. Your body has been trained to endure the elements and every physical challenge you will encounter on this mission. The men crawling beside you are in the same boat. Untired, unphased, moving forward. You are Navy Seals.

Birthed from the harshest cauldrons of military training, you are in peak physical condition – the ultimate human weapon.

Who would have thought that such training would someday be used to help millions of people get into better shape for themselves?

And yet every day it does. Though many of us will never know what it means to undergo training for the completion of a military mission (Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have!), the essence of this training lives in the invention of the TRX suspension trainer.

Suspension Training

The official website for TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise) explains it this way….

“Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously…leverage[ing] gravity and the user’s body weight…”[i]


These normally black and yellow straps allow for literally one hundred different exercises ranging from beginner to ultra-advanced that train your entire body to work together as a unit.

But this article is about challenging yourself. Tap into the courageous spirit of the Navy Seal by training your body (AND YOUR BRAIN) to master these movements.

I dare you.


The 5 Ss of TRX

Before we dive into the brutal, metabolically-challenging, core-blasting, sweat-inducing world of advanced TRX movements, let me make you aware of the cardinal sins of any TRX movement. They’re not quite the 7 deadly sins of Dante’s Inferno, but if you want to get the best results from your workout, don’t be guilty of any of these!


When performing TRX exercises, do so in such a way that the straps are always taught. If you have slack in them at any point, say, between the concentric and eccentric phase of each rep, you’re doing it wrong!


TRX exercises are meant to be metabolically challenging. Once you choose a rep count or time under tension, do your best not to stop during the set. Do your muscles and lungs burn? Good, keep going. A Navy Seal wouldn’t stop, and you shouldn’t either.


Many TRX exercises require stability in the shoulders in order to be effective and hit the correct muscles. Don’t wear your shoulders as earrings! Instead, pull them down and slightly back to balance powerfully in their sockets!


TRX exercises are fluid due to their single-point-connection nature. If you’re all “herky-jerky,” you’re missing out on the stabilization aspect of the movement. None of that here!


Core is the magic ingredient in EVERY TRX exercise. Don’t hurt your back or cheat your body by allowing your midsection to sag. Keep your hips and glutes engaged to put your midsection right where it needs to be: neutral spine, powerful midsection.

The Moves

Now that you won’t need to make penance to any of the TRX gods for the above crimes (right?), it’s time to be awesome.

For your body, for your mind, and just to prove you can do it, get to mastering these 3 movements – with 3 sets, 60 seconds each set. How many reps can you complete circuit-style with 3 60-second sets and good form? Just mastering these moves is a feat itself, but if you want to be “elite,” you’re aiming for 200 or more!

Single Leg TRX Squat Jump

Stand on one leg with a sturdy grip facing the anchor point of the TRX. Lower your hips down and back while maintaining tension on the straps. Keep your weight even through your foot while you drop your hips as deep as possible.

Then drive powerfully through your foot to jump from the hip-dropped position. Use arms as needed to maintain balance. Build confidence with each jump until you’re driving as hard as you can with each hop. If you can’t jump, stick to the single-leg squat for now. If you’re having trouble with that, place a bosu ball behind you to teach your body that range of motion. Do 30 seconds on each side – no stopping!

This guy’s got the idea if you need a visual.[ii] Now add the jump!

Single Leg TRX Burpee

Face away from the anchor point with one foot in the foot cradle. Drive the suspended foot back, place your hands on the ground, and hop your other foot back beside the suspended foot. (If you’re really in beast mode, don’t let either foot touch the ground!)

Perform a push-up. Jump your hopped foot back under your shoulders, let your palms off the ground, and drive hard through the planted foot to perform a small single-leg hop.

Can’t do it? Ditch the push-up first. Still can’t do it? Try it without the jump. Repeat for 30 seconds. Then switch legs and continue.

Here’s another visual.[iii] Now add the “Beast Mode” modification.

Atomic TRX Pike

Face away from the anchor point again with both feet in cradles. Start in an extended plank (a.k.a. push-up position or, as they call it in the Army, the front-leanin’ rest). Pull your hips sky high while keeping your legs straight. Feel the contraction of your core, back and legs. Then lower your hips back to neutral, performing a push-up without sagging to return back to the starting position.

Can’t do it yet? Do the pike with bent knees. Still can’t get it done? Hold that extended TRX plank until you feel brave enough to attempt the push-ups. Go for 60 seconds – no breaks.

This visual gives you a good sense of most of it![iv] Add the push-up, and you got it.

Find Your Inner Navy Seal

The Naval Special Forces are among the toughest, hardiest, most carefully and heavily trained fighting units in the world. Gaining control over their minds and bodies to persevere through obstacles under duress is their mode of operation.

I challenge you to get a taste of that while attempting to master these difficult movements.

Want some instruction? Join us for our advanced TRX workout workshop, or talk with one of our club fitness professionals. We’d love to help you learn what you’re truly capable of!

If you want to learn more about how we design our programs to support fitness and performance using our Core 3 Training™ methodologies,

Download the Core 3 Training Manual.

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The posts on this blog are not intended to suggest or recommend the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease, nor to substitute for medical treatment, nor to be an alternative to medical advice. The use of the suggestions and recommendations on this blog post is at the choice and risk of the reader.
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