Can You Do Pullups on a TRX Trainer?

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People are using a TRX trainer to do pull ups. (Image: MaxRiesgo/iStock/Getty Images)

The primary TRX back-strengthening exercise is the inverted body row. Although similar to a pullup, the row, where your body is horizontal to the floor, does not work the back muscles in the same line of pull as a pullup, where your torso is vertical to the floor. The TRX is not designed to support a full pullup. However, you can perform several pullup variations, from beginner to advanced, on the TRX trainer. Use these pullup exercises to diversify your back routine and break through training plateaus.

Kneeling Pullup

For any TRX pullup, suspend the unit from a secure anchor above you so the straps hang straight down. For this beginner exercise, adjust the straps so the handles hang an arm's length above the floor. Perform this exercise in one of two ways, either kneeling or seated on the floor below the handles. If you sit, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Reach above you and grab the TRX handles with your palms facing forward. Initiate the pullup movement by squeezing your back muscles together and down. Bend your elbows and pull your body up until your chin is in line with your hands. Your toes should stay in contact with the floor, reducing the amount of weight you lift and providing a way for you to assist yourself if needed.

L-Sit Pullup

To increase the difficulty of the pullup, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Perform the movement in the same way, but keep your legs straight and your heels in contact with the floor. This increases the amount of weight you lift compared to the seated or kneeling version.

TRX Elevated Pullup

For the next level of TRX pullup, you will need a bench or chair on which to place your feet. Position the handles so they are an arm's length above the seat of the chair. Sit on the floor with your legs extended and the edge of the chair above your feet. Place your feet in the middle of the chair and hang from the TRX. Your legs should be parallel to the floor and your torso perpendicular to the floor. Keep your heels on the chair throughout the movement.

L-Sit Hanging Pullup

Position the TRX handles so they are an arm's length above the floor. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Perform the exercise in the same manner as the L-sit pullup, but lift your entire body, including your legs, off the floor. Your legs and torso should retain a 90-degree angle to one another throughout the movement. This exercise requires not only a strong upper body but also a strong core to hold your legs extended in the air.

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