In the fifth installment of his TRX Suspension Trainer series, Brian demonstrates the Plank Pushup,which is intended to improve upper body/corestrength and stability in the trunk and shoulders.

See 'Related Resources' below for past Functionally Fits (including the TRX miniseries) and other exercises and training tips.


Begin with both feet suspended in the TRX and in a traditional plank position. Initially, it is best to position the feet beneath the anchor point.


Transition to a push-up by using one palm to push up one side of the body,and then repeat on the other side. Onceyou are in the top push-up position, pause and then slowly return to the startposition.


The goal is to keepthe legs relatively still, although they will naturally sway from side to sideto some degree. Additionally, strive tomaintain a neutral spine position throughout as it becomes easy to allow thelumbar spine to dip as fatigue sets in.Typically, I perform this exercise for 30-45 seconds or until the clientloses acceptable form. Repeat for 2-3sets.


Thisis a more advanced version of a traditional floor-based plank push-up. By adding in the TRX, the trunk is forced tocounteract additional rotation and translation in the frontal plane imposed bythe positional change and directional sway.Moving further forward and away from the anchor point increases thedifficulty as well.

This exercise is intended to improve upper body/corestrength and stability in the trunk and shoulders. Ideally, utilize it withathletes and advanced clientele seeking closed chain upper body work and/orchallenging core training. I preferslower pacing to preserve better from as the natural inclination for clients willbe to move faster to continue to overcome gravity as fatigue sets in.

The following stepscan be used as a progression toward the full TRX plank push-up:

  1. Plank push-up with both feet in the TRX and both knees on the ground
  2. Plank push-up with both feet in the TRX and one knee on the ground with the other leg suspended
  3. Full TRX plank push-up (with spotting and mild assistance)


Thisexercise is not appropriate for clientele without sufficient upper bodystrength or no prior TRX experience.Clients should be able to demonstrate good technique with the floorversion of the plank push-up before moving on to the TRX. I also recommend training clients to masterthe traditional static TRX plank and TRX suspended push-ups prior toincorporating this exercise in their program.

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS (www.brianschiff.com) is a licensed physical therapist, respected author and fitness professional. He became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 1998. In 2000, he opened his own personal training and sport-specific conditioning facility, Fitness Edge, in Dublin, Ohio. Brian has presented at several professional conferences and seminars on injury prevention and sport-specific training.