The trx low row is a rowing exercise of the trx variety that works your upper body with the help of suspension cables fastened to a point above your head.
Popularly known as the suspension row, this movement offers just as good a workout as the basic row if not better.
One of the best things about it is that it can be incorporated into practically any strength training routine and it would complement similar exercises perfectly.
If you’re looking to alternate between cardio and strength training movements, you could include it in a high-intensity interval training routine (HIIT) or a circuit.
HOW TO DO TRX LOW
- Fasten the suspension cables to an anchor point above your head.
- Stand upright facing the anchor point and grasp the cable handles, one in each hand.
- Place your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a few steps away until the cables are tight and your arms are fully extended.
- The handles should be positioned somewhere around mid-chest so that when you pull them, they stop by your ribcage.
- Retract your shoulders and keep them in place to maintain a good posture throughout the movement.
- Tighten your core and start leaning back slowly with your weight placed on your heels entirely.
- Walk your feet inwards so that your body creates a 30-60-degree angle with the floor.
- Your arms and feet should be supporting your weight but your core should remain braced to prevent your hips from sagging. This is your starting position.
- Turn your palms inward so that they are facing each other, with your hands positioned slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale, and use your back muscles to pull your torso up towards the handles.
- As you pull yourself up, bend your elbows and squeeze your scapulae together.
- Exhale and keep pulling as you keep the elbows close to your torso. At the top position, the handles should be in contact with your ribcage.
- Hold for a second at the top and reverse to get back to the starting position.
You’ll likely be tempted to rush back to the starting position, but that would be a terrible idea.
Instead, lower yourself steadily and with control to maximise your strength gains.
Also, don’t let your shoulders slouch forward when you’re at the bottom of the movement. They should remain engaged and stationary to help you maintain a good posture throughout.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE TRX LOW ROW WORK?
The trx low row fires up all the main muscle groups on your back including your rhomboids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi.
It also hits the deltoids on your shoulders and your core muscles which help keep your body stable.
BENEFITS OF THE TRX LOW ROW
STRENGTHENS YOUR POSTERIOR CHAIN
The trx low row trains the back half of your torso without needing specialised equipment or the help of a spotter to help with your form.
Very few rowing exercises are capable of such; most powerful exercises that train the posterior chain require either one of the two or both.
REQUIRES MINIMAL EQUIPMENT
For its execution, the trx low row only requires suspension cables and nothing else.
Suspension cables are easily available and portable, which means you can do the movement anywhere, even outside the gym.
In addition to your upper body muscles, this exercise also recruits some of the stabilizing muscles of your body such as your shoulder stabilizers, abdominal muscles and spinal erectors.
By recruiting and strengthening them, it helps prevent injuries to your lower back and shoulders.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE TRX LOW ROW
BARBELL HIGH PULL
The barbell high pull shares a motion pattern and target muscles with the trx low row.
The main difference between them is that while the barbell high pull gets some assistance from the lower body, the trx low barely does.
But at the end of the day, they both have pretty much the same impact on your lats, traps, rhomboids and deltoids.
- Grab a barbell and hold it with an underhand grip, hands about shoulder-width apart.
- Hinge your hips back and let the bar travel down towards your thighs.
- Before it reaches your knees, stand back forcefully by pushing your hips forward.
- As the barbell goes up your hips and towards your chest, push your elbows back.
- Get the bar back to the starting position and repeat the steps.
TRX LOW ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID
ALLOWING YOUR SHOULDERS TO SLOUCH
Letting the shoulders slouch is among the most common mistakes when doing this exercise.
When your shoulders slump, it is a sign that they are not properly engaged.
The biggest risk that comes with not engaging your shoulders is that you could develop shoulder injury.
Injury in such a case could occur because your shoulder stabilizers aren’t providing enough stability to help your deltoids withstand the pressure that comes with resistance.
Always roll your shoulders back at the starting position to minimize the chances of such risks occurring.
NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE
Failing to brace your core during the trx low row has two main effects; limiting the benefits and increasing the possibility of sustaining lower back injury.
If, while performing this exercise, you notice your hips slouching downward, chances are your core isn’t sufficiently engaged.
You can fix this by drawing your navel in towards the spine and tucking your pelvis in.
PERFORMING THE DESCENT TOO FAST
Most people fail to recognize how important it is to perform the descent portion of the exercise slowly and with control.
“Dropping” back to the starting position is one of the most detrimental mistakes you can make as you execute the trx low row.
Take your time to move slowly back to the starting position if you want to benefit optimally from it.
Most people prefer doing the basic barbell row, but best believe the trx low row is worth a shot too.
The resistance from the suspension cables and the tilted angle you use to execute it make it just as effective as the conventional row.
Give it a try and you’ll confirm this yourself!