How to Perform the TRX Cross Balance Lunge

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

TRX Cross Balance Lunge

Verywell / Ben Goldstein 

Also Known As: TRX curtsy lunge

Targets: Quadriceps, glutes, calves, core

Equipment Needed: TRX Suspension Trainer

Level: Intermediate

The TRX cross balance lunge uses suspension straps and your body weight as an alternative way to perform the basic curtsy lunge. This variation requires you to hold onto handles suspended from an anchor point adding a balance component to the exercise. You are also working each leg independently making it an excellent exercise to build single-leg strength and stability.

Suspension cross balance lunges like all TRX exercises work by challenging your body in conditions of instability. This forces you to constantly engage your core to perform each exercise. It also helps improve your balance and overall strength.

Because you are suspended during the exercise, it takes the traditional curtsy lunge to a whole new level. The balance component challenges multiple muscle groups and forces more core engagement during the movement. This also means your whole body is working during the cross balance lunge for an effective full-body workout. This is one of the many benefits and allure of TRX training.

Some of the muscle groups challenged during the TRX cross balance lunge include the quads, glutes, calves, and core. Working each leg independently also forces the stabilizing muscles to work even harder to keep you balanced. This increased challenge during the exercise helps improve strength, stability, and athletic performance.

The TRX suspension straps used during the cross balance lunge and all suspension training exercises are adjustable and suitable for the novice exerciser to advanced athlete. This means the TRX cross balance lunge and all exercises can be modified to suit your fitness level.

You may have considered adding suspension training to your workout routine for an added challenge, improved athletic performance, or recommended as a great way to improve single-leg strength and stability. Either way, if you are new to this exercise method, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a certified TRX coach or a qualified personal trainer.

Benefits

The TRX cross balance lunge provides an increased challenge to the traditional curtsy lunge performed on the floor. It requires more core engagement to balance your body in unstable conditions. Several muscle groups are targeted including:

  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Core
  • Calves

Performing the TRX cross balance lunge is said to be an effective way to build single-leg strength and stability. You are also using dynamic balance which is the ability to maintain control over a base of support while in motion.

Your center of gravity is always out of balance during the TRX cross balance lunge leaving no choice but to engage your core, back, hips, and shoulders to stabilize the movement. This creates a more dynamic exercise and enables you to work your full body in just one movement. This exercise's time-saving feature is just one of the many benefits of TRX training.

TRX cross balance lunges and other suspension exercises are shown to have numerous positive benefits and studies have indicated the following:

  • Lean mass gains
  • Improved strength
  • Improved stability/balance
  • Increased core strength
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Decreased body fat
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Corrected body imbalance
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Reduced fall risk
  • Better gait (walking)
  • Improved functional fitness (day-to-day activities)
  • Practical and effective exercise alternative
  • Increased exercise confidence

The balance component of this exercise and other suspension training movements greatly improves stability and neuromuscular response. This comes in handy if you take a misstep off a curb or need to react quickly to a falling object.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The great thing about TRX training is portable cables that offer the ability to workout anywhere. It just requires an area where they can be securely attached and you are ready to exercise.

Follow these simple steps to perform the TRX cross balance lunge:

  1. Attach cables to an anchor point above your head adjusting the straps to hang down about mid-length.
  2. Grab the handles and stand with your body facing the anchor point.
  3. Step back until all slack is removed from the suspension straps, arms extended forward, and palms facing each other.
  4. Stand to center the right leg with the TRX anchor point, keeping your core tight, and neutral spine.
  5. Extend the left leg behind you and externally rotate the leg as you lower into a lunge so that the left leg crosses behind the right. (left toe gently touches the floor/ground)
  6. Press through the right foot to maintain balance during the movement.
  7. Drive through the right heel to return to start position. 
  8. Perform the exercise for a determined amount of reps and repeat on the other leg to complete the cycle.

Common Mistakes

The TRX cross balance lunge is performed in unstable conditions and special attention is required for proper form and technique. The following are common mistakes to avoid during this exercise:

Using Arms Instead of Legs

There is a tendency to pull on the suspension straps with your arms to return to a standing position during the cross balance lunge. This reduces exercise effectiveness and becomes more of an arm/core exercise than a single-leg strength builder. Focus on body awareness and pushing through the heel to return to the start position for the proper execution of this movement.

Over Rotating the Hips

The cross balance lunge requires external rotation of the hip during the exercise. Sometimes twisting or rotating the hip too much can occur increasing instability and the risk of injury to the hips/low back. Maintain proper form rotating the hip just enough to perform the exercise correctly. 

Incorrect Body Alignment

Proper body alignment is important during the TRX cross balance lunge. There can be a tendency to take the knee out of alignment with your foot and hip on the standing leg. Maintain proper alignment from the start by having your leg aligned with the anchor point, core tight, and being aware of knee placement at all times during the exercise.

Modifications and Variations

The TRX cross balance lunge can be performed in a variety of ways to accommodate your fitness level.

Need a Modification?

If you're new to cross balance lunges and TRX training, you may want to apply a few modifications as follows:

  • Perform the basic curtsy lunge on the floor without suspension straps. This will help you become familiar with the exercise and build leg strength before progressing to the TRX version.
  • Try the TRX basic lunge before progressing to the cross balance variation.

Up for a Challenge?

TRX training is a progressive exercise method suitable for all fitness levels. This means you can increase the intensity of your workout as you become stronger. The following applied modifications make the TRX cross balance lunge more advanced:

  • Combining the TRX cross balance lunge with a lateral lunge increases the challenge and intensity of the movement. This advanced pattern can be further increased adding more lunge variations moving from one TRX lunge to the other to complete one cycle. This would be performed for a determined amount of repetitions and repeat on the other leg.
  • Balancing on one leg and holding the cross balance lunge for an extended period of time is another way to increase the challenge of the exercise. You may consider starting with 30 seconds per lunge hold and repeating for 8-12 repetitions.

Safety and Precautions

The TRX cross balance lunge is performed in unstable conditions and requires keen body awareness during the exercise. Because of this instability, it’s important to be aware of your body position/movement at all times. The following tips will help you perform the cross balance lunge correctly and reduce the risk of injury:

  • Work at your fitness level and range of motion for this exercise to increase overall strength, mobility, and balance before adding more challenge.
  • Maintain proper body alignment during the exercise. This will help keep your knee aligned with your foot and hip of the standing leg.
  • Avoid twisting your hip too much during the TRX cross balance lunge. Externally rotate the hip just enough to cross the leg back behind the standing leg. This will help maintain stability and reduce the risk of injury to your hips/low back.
  • If you experience pain or discomfort that doesn’t feel right during the TRX cross balance lunge, discontinue the exercise.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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