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TRX Pilates: Where Suspension Meets Precision

Using TRX for Pilates

TRX, meet Pilates. Pilates, meet TRX. You both share a lot in common, and it’s time you were properly introduced. Both of you take pride in strengthening the body through controlled, mindful movements. While TRX challenges us through bodyweight resistance, emphasizing full-body engagement and functional fitness, Pilates focuses on precision, core stability, and fluidity.


Combined TRX Pilates offers the best of both worlds: the functional strength of TRX and the core precision of Pilates, providing a holistic workout that targets every major muscle group, boosts core stability, and increases flexibility. Dive in to learn how TRX can become your most versatile and effective type of Pilates apparatus and how this blend can redefine your home workouts.



How TRX and Pilates Complement Each Other


At first glance, TRX and Pilates might seem like distant relatives in the fitness family. But when you go deeper, you realize they are more like siblings, sharing core principles that beautifully complement each other. Both disciplines emphasize core strength, balance, and controlled movements, but they approach these goals from different angles.


TRX, with its roots in suspension training, emphasizes full-body strength, stability, and functional movements. It challenges your balance and engages multiple muscle groups, enhancing overall body awareness. On the other hand, Pilates hones in on precision, alignment, and breathing, promoting efficient movement patterns and a deep connection between mind and body.


When combined, TRX amplifies the strength and flexibility gains from Pilates by adding resistance and intensity, while Pilates brings mindfulness and precision to TRX movements. This synergy not only improves posture and core strength but also ensures a balanced workout that covers all aspects of physical fitness.



Alternative to Pilates Reformer: TRX Suspension System


While the Pilates reformer is renowned for creating a more controlled and supportive environment for targeted muscle work and alignment through its spring-based resistance, its size and cost make it less accessible for many at home. In contrast, TRX suspension straps emerge as a close substitute, offering a compact, cost-effective solution that brings the essence of Pilates into your living space.


Both methods focus on controlled movements and overall body engagement, but TRX brings unique advantages, such as portability and ease of use, making it ideal for varied environments. While not entirely replacing the reformer, the TRX closely aligns with the reformer’s objectives providing a comprehensive workout that echoes the reformer’s impact on the body. 



Pilates and TRX: Exercise Equivalents


One of the first things you’ll notice about TRX is how similar the exercises are to Pilates, like Roll-ups, Teasers, and Criss-Cross. Even in the naming. This similarity likely stems from the shared emphasis on core strength, functional fitness, flexibility, and control inherent in both disciplines.


Whether you’re accustomed to practicing Pilates on a mat, with a reformer, or using a Cadillac, you’re bound to find a TRX equivalent that uses your bodyweight to add resistance and intensity. Below is just a sampling of TRX exercises that cater to different types of Pilates enthusiasts.  As you explore these TRX adaptations, maintain the core Pilates principles of control, precision, and breath in each movement. 


TRX for Pilates Mat Exercises

Pilates Hundred – TRX Hundred: Perform a TRX plank while pumping arms up and down, simulating the breathing and core engagement of the Pilates Hundred.


Pilates Roll-Up – TRX Roll-Up: Use the TRX straps to assist with the roll-up motion, maintaining focus on spinal articulation and core strength.


Pilates Criss-Cross – TRX Criss-Cross: Perform a bicycle motion using TRX straps for added stability and core rotation, reflecting the dynamic movement of the Pilates Criss-Cross.


Pilates Teaser – TRX Teaser: Utilize TRX straps for leg support to perform the V-sit motion, challenging the core similarly to the Pilates Teaser.


Pilates Leg Circles – TRX Leg Circles: Hang one foot in the TRX strap and perform leg circles, maintaining pelvic stability as in the Pilates version.


Pilates Roll-Ups – TRX Roll-Ups: Secure feet under TRX straps while lying on your back. Start with arms overhead; as you inhale, lift your arms, then your head, neck, and shoulders, rolling up one vertebra at a time into a seated position, similar to the Pilates Roll-Up. Use the TRX straps to assist in the controlled rise and to deepen the stretch during the upward and downward phases.


Pilates Bridge – TRX Hip Press: Lie on your back with heels in the TRX straps, hips on the ground. Press down through your heels, lifting your hips towards the ceiling, mimicking the Pilates Bridge. The TRX adds instability to engage the core further and enhance the gluteal work.


Pilates Side Plank – TRX Side Plank: Position the TRX in single-handle mode. While side-lying, place your top foot in the strap and stack your legs. Lift your hips off the ground, maintaining the side plank position, to mirror the Pilates Side Plank. This variation increases the challenge by adding instability.


Pilates Side-Lying Scissors – TRX Scissors: Lie on your side with both feet in TRX straps, keeping your body in a straight line. Elevate your top leg then lower it past the bottom leg, mimicking the scissoring action of Pilates Side-Lying Scissors. 



TRX for Pilates with Reformer Exercises

Pilates Biceps Curl – TRX Biceps Curl: Stand facing away the anchor, holding TRX handles with palms facing up, and curl hands towards shoulders while you lean back to mimic the reformer biceps curl.


Pilates Triceps Press  – TRX Triceps Press: Face away from the anchor, holding the TRX handles overhead, then extend arms up to mirror the triceps press on the reformer.


Pilates Footwork – TRX Squat to Tip-Toe: Perform squats using TRX for balance, then rise onto the balls of your feet, simulating the footwork exercises on the reformer.


Pilates Long Stretch – TRX Body Saw: In a plank position with feet in TRX straps, push the body back and forth maintaining core engagement, reflecting the Long Stretch on the reformer.


Pilates Short Spine – TRX Hamstring Curl to Hip Lift: Lying on your back with heels in TRX straps, curl the legs towards you then lift the hips, mimicking the reformer’s Short Spine exercise.


Pilates Frog – TRX Frog Crunch: In a supine position, use TRX straps to perform frog-like leg movements, echoing the hip opening and core strengthening of the Pilates Frog.



TRX for Pilates with Cadillac Exercises

Pilates Pulling Straps – TRX Straight Arm Lat Pulldown: Stand facing the TRX anchor with straps held in front at shoulder height, palms facing down. Lean back slightly, maintaining a strong core and straight arms. Pull your body forward by driving the arms down towards your hips


Pilates Chest Press – TRX Chest Press: Facing away from the anchor, use the TRX to perform a chest press, similar to the expansion movement on the Cadillac.


Pilates Flying Eagle – TRX Chest Fly to Y Fly: Perform a chest fly with the TRX, then open arms into a ‘Y’ shape, simulating the Flying Eagle exercise’s range and movement.




12 minute TRX Pilates Workout for Beginners



Next Step: Personalize Your TRX Pilates Routine


Tailoring TRX Pilates workouts to your individual fitness goals and needs is key to a fulfilling practice. If there’s a particular Pilates move you love, chances are there’s a TRX move for it. This fusion allows you to deepen your workout by combining the core engagement and precision of Pilates with the strength and versatility of TRX.


Pilates and TRX are highly personal disciplines. By identifying the elements you most enjoy in Pilates—be it the fluidity, the focus on the core, or the stretching—and integrating them with TRX, you can create a customized routine that speaks directly to your needs. This approach not only enhances your existing Pilates practice but also introduces new challenges and variations to keep your workouts fresh and engaging.


Start by selecting a few favorite Pilates exercises, then explore their TRX counterparts. Utilize the below resources to find detailed instructions and visual aids to ensure you’re performing each exercise correctly. Adjust the TRX strap length, your body positioning, and the intensity level to find the perfect fit for your personal goals and comfort.


Here are a few of our favorite TRX how-to guides and videos:

Remember, the goal is not to replace one practice with the other but to merge the best of both worlds. Finding the balance that works for you is the golden key to advancing your fitness journey, improving your Pilates form, and discovering new strengths.

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