Daily Dose of Coach #196: The TRX or Suspension Row

The TRX or Suspension row is one of those exercises that look easy to do, but without a few points of understanding, technique can go downhill quickly.

The first thing to understand is that this row is a dynamic plank. Keeping the body in a straight line from ankle to ear and maintaining a neutral spine allows the the greatest benefits of this exercise. Some of the biggest mistakes I see are shoulders rolling forward at the top of the movement (into a sort of hunch back position), hips dropping down out of vertical plank alignment, or hips jumping up out of vertical plane alignment.

To get the most out of the TRX or Suspension Row do the following:

  • Adjust the TRX or Suspension device so that the length is not too long
  • Grab the handles in a neutral position (palms facing each other) and lower your body to the starting position.
  • The starting position should be a stiff, plank position. Place your heels into the ground and point your toes.
  • Start the movement by retracting your scapulae and moving your entire body towards your hands. The elbows should be just out side of the body.
  • Bring your hands to chest level while driving your elbows back. The big thing here is making sure your shoulders are driving down and back and not rolling forward.
  • Lower yourself back to the starting position maintaining the plank position.
  • Don't break posture at the bottom of the movement and continue for the number of repetitions given.
  • You can make this exercise easier by walking your feet back and harder by walking your feet up towards the anchor point.

Remember this exercise is a dynamic plank, meaning no movement besides the arms and upper back squeeze. You shouldn't look like your training for a better hump back or shooting your hips up inappropriately. Your body is a statue with the arms moving you up and down.