How to Do TRX Sprinter Starts: Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

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If you want to increase the size and strength of your quads, hamstrings, and glutes while getting in some cardio at the same time, the TRX sprinter start is one way to achieve this goal. This intermediate to advanced exercise can be included in your full body strength or cardio workout.

Also Known As: TRX knee drive

Targets: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core

Equipment Needed: TRX suspension trainer

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to Do a TRX Sprinter Start

 Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The portable cables used in TRX training offer the ability to work out anywhere. They just need to be securely attached to an anchor point above your head with the straps extended to full length.

Face away from the anchor point, grabbing the handles at chest level and tucking them under the armpits (palms facing each other). Lean forward into the TRX straps and walk the feet back toward the anchor point until your body is at about a 45-degree angle.

Maintain a solid plank position. Your back is straight, your glutes and core are tight, and you are resting on the balls of your feet. This is the starting position.

  1. Step back with your right leg, getting into a sprinter start position (like sprinters do with their feet against the blocks during a track meet). Keep a 90-degree bend in the knee and stay on the balls of your feet.
  2. Drive through the ball of the working leg to return to the starting position and reset your plank.
  3. Continue this movement for your desired number of reps or timed intervals before repeating the exercise on the other leg.
  4. Return to the plank position, then stand up to end this exercise.

Benefits of the TRX Sprinter Start

TRX training, in general, has been shown to provide numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • Improved strength, stability, and balance
  • Improved cardiovascular health and blood pressure
  • Decreased body fat
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Increased exercise confidence

The TRX sprinter start, specifically, uses suspension straps and your body's weight to challenge the muscular endurance and power of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Stabilizing muscles (including the core) are also activated to maintain balance.

The challenge offered during this exercise helps improve single-leg strength, stability, and athletic performance—even in older adults. As you work against handheld resistance, your heart rate also increases for a great cardio workout.

Because multiple muscle groups are working at the same time, some believe that TRX exercises such as the sprinter start provide a superior, timesaving full-body workout. Certain pieces of research support this, especially if the goal is increased muscular strength and endurance.

If you enjoy sprint intervals or resistance sprints, progressing to the TRX sprinter start will add a whole new dynamic to the exercise. It could even benefit you in everyday life.

The balance component of the TRX sprinter start 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.

Other Variations of a TRX Sprinter Start

The TRX sprinter start can be performed in a variety of ways to accommodate your fitness level.

TRX Standing Plank

If you're not ready to do the sprinter start, you can do the TRX standing plank. This involves remaining in the plank position while holding the straps tucked near the armpits and not moving the legs. This can help increase your core strength and exercise confidence before progressing to the next level. 

Incline Plank

Another option is to perform an incline plank with your hands on a bench and lunge back in this stable condition before adding suspension straps. This allows you to get comfortable with the exercise as you practice the sprint position and return to the plank without having to worry about the balance component.

TRX Sprinter Start With Knee Drive

If you want to make the TRX sprinter start more difficult, you can add a knee drive to the movement. This involves driving the knee of the working leg toward the chest and holding for a brief single leg plank at the top.

TRX Sprinter Start With a Hop

You can also make this exercise more intense by adding a hop at the end range of motion of the working leg. This serves to increase the power and endurance challenge of the exercise.

It's important to master the basic movement before adding knee drives or hops. If you are new to this exercise method, you may want to enlist the help of a certified TRX coach or qualified personal trainer.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these common mistakes to keep the TRX sprinter start exercise both effective and safe.

Half Chest Press

There is a tendency to maintain a half chest press position instead of leaning fully into the TRX straps tucked close to the armpits. This overtaxes the shoulders and does not allow you to perform the exercise effectively.

This is easily remedied by ensuring that you have a proper body position before executing the movement. Lean fully into the straps and get into a solid plank before starting the exercise.

Improper Body Alignment

Correct body alignment—including the ability to hold a plank—is essential during this exercise. Performing the movement too quickly or when overly fatigued can result in an improper position.

Not maintaining a tight core and alignment throughout the movement increases the risk of injury to your low back and hips.

Master the basic movement by being aware of your body position throughout the exercise. This will enable you to perform the exercise safely and effectively.

Safety and Precautions

The TRX sprinter start 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 and movement at all times.

This exercise may not be recommended for someone with hip or shoulder issues. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist to decide whether it is safe for you to do. And if you experience pain or discomfort that doesn’t feel right during the TRX sprinter start, discontinue the exercise.

Start with the TRX standing plank to master form, then progress to the TRX sprinter start. Work your way up to three sets of 10 to 12 reps or, if using time, 30-second bursts. Once this feels easy, add knee drives or hops to continue progressing.

Try It Out

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

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Smith L, Snow J, Fargo J, Buchanan C, Dalleck L, Green D. ACE sponsored research: Investigating the acute and chronic health benefits of TRX suspension training. American Council on Exercise.

  2. Gaedtke A, Morat T. TRX suspension training: A new functional training approach for older adults - development, training control and feasibility. Int J Exerc Sci. 2015;8(3):224-233.

  3. Arazi H, Malakoutinia F, Izadi M. Effects of eight weeks of TRX versus traditional resistance training on physical fitness factors and extremities perimeter of non-athlete females. Phys Act Rev. 2018;6(6):73-80. doi:10.16926/par.2018.06.10

  4. Tinto A, Campanella M, Fasano M. Core strengthening and synchronized swimming: TRX suspension training in young female athletes. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016;57(6):744-51. doi:10.23736/s0022-4707.16.06338-6

By Darla Leal
Darla Leal is a Master Fitness Trainer, freelance writer, and the creator of Stay Healthy Fitness, where she embraces a "fit-over-55" lifestyle.