How to Perform the TRX Sprinter Start

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

TRX sprinter start

 Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: TRX Knee Drive

Targets: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, core

Equipment Needed: TRX Suspension Trainer

Level: Intermediate to advanced

The TRX sprinter start uses suspension straps and your body weight to challenge the muscular endurance and power of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. As you work against handheld resistance, your heart rate also increases for a great cardio workout.

If you enjoy sprint intervals or resistance sprints, progressing to the TRX sprinter start will add a whole new dynamic to the exercise. The balance component of suspension straps forces more core engagement during the movement for an increased challenge.

The TRX sprinter start requires a solid plank position at the end of each repetition and works each leg independently. This forces the stabilizing muscles including your core to work even harder to maintain balance. This increased challenge during the exercise helps improve single-leg strength, stability, and athletic performance.

If you want to increase the size and strength of your quads and hamstrings, the TRX sprinter start offers an alternative way to achieve that goal. The added bonus is improved core strength and cardiovascular health with this full-body exercise.

The TRX sprinter start is an intermediate to advanced exercise so it would be important to master the basic movement before adding knee drives or hops. The good news is all TRX exercises can be modified to your fitness level.

You may have considered adding TRX 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 sprinter start challenges the muscular power, strength, and endurance of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. At the same time, you are elevating your heart rate for an effective cardio workout.

Because multiple muscle groups are working at the same time, the TRX sprinter start and all suspension training exercises claim to provide a superior timesaving full-body workout. Being able to complete short effective workouts is one of the many benefits of TRX training.

Performing the TRX sprinter start 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. 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.

The TRX sprinter start 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

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 sprinter start:

  1. Attach cables to an anchor point above your head and extend the straps to full length.
  2. Face away from the anchor point grabbing the handles at chest level and tucked under the armpits (palms face each other).
  3. Lean forward into the TRX straps and walk feet back toward anchor point until your body is straight and at about a 45-degree angle (plank position).
  4. Maintain a solid plank position (back straight, core tight, squeeze your glutes) resting on the balls of your feet.
  5. Step back with your right leg and into a sprinter start position (like sprinters blocks during a track meet) keeping a 90-degree bend in the knee and stay on the balls of your feet.
  6. Drive through the ball of the working leg to return to start position and reset your plank.
  7. Continue this movement for a continued amount of reps or timed interval.
  8. Repeat the exercise on the other leg.

Common Mistakes

The TRX sprinter start 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:

Half Chest Press Position

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 fixed with proper body position before executing the movement. Lean fully into the straps and get into a solid plank position before starting the exercise.

Improper Planking

Correct body alignment including having 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 plank position. Not maintaining a tight core and alignment throughout the movement increases 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.

Modifications and Variations

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

Need a Modification?

If you're new to sprinter starts and TRX training, you may want to apply a few modifications as follows:

  • Master the TRX standing plank position holding the straps tucked near the armpits. This will increase your core strength and exercise confidence before progressing to the next level. 
  • Perform a full incline plank (hands on a bench) and lunge back in stable conditions before adding suspension straps. This will allow you to get comfortable with the exercise as you practice sprint position and returning to plank without having to worry about the balance component.

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 sprinter start more advanced:

  • Perform the exercise driving the knee of the working leg toward the chest and hold for a brief single leg plank at the top.
  • Add a hop at the end range of motion of the working leg to increase the power and endurance challenge of the exercise.

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/movement at all times.

The following tips will help you perform the TRX sprinter start correctly and reduce the risk of injury:

  • Master the basic sprinter start movement before progressing to increased challenge. This includes having the ability to maintain a solid plank position and reset to that position during the exercise.
  • Avoid holding the straps at a half-chest press increasing shoulder stress and instability. Lean fully into the TRX suspension straps held at the armpits to reduce overtaxing the shoulders and to effectively and safely execute the exercise.
  • If you experience pain or discomfort that doesn’t feel right during the TRX sprinter start, discontinue the exercise.

Try It Out

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

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