Maybe a friend has a TRX suspension training system, you saw some YouTube videos, or you tried one out at your gym, and now you want your own. But then comes sticker shock—how can a few straps cost so much? Is there something special about TRX systems that makes them so expensive?
TRX are expensive for several reasons. These include being the first company to sell suspension trainers and good marketing. They invest heavily in developing new products to stay a leader in the fitness industry. TRX has also protected its patents so that other companies can’t sell cheap “knockoffs”.
To understand why TRX products are expensive, it helps to know the company’s history. Specifically how it dealt with competitors who were trying to make money from TRX’s trademarks and patents. Afterwards, you can decide if its design features are worth the extra cost.
Is TRX More Expensive Because of Marketing?
The secret of suspension training is creating resistance using your body weight and gravity. The equipment is very basic so why should TRX equipment be more expensive? Is it just marketing, or is there something special about the equipment?
The answer is a little bit of both.
TRX has built it’s brand longer than competitors because it was the first to sell suspension training straps. The head start gave TRX time to create a brand before competitors came along.
So some of the extra cost goes into their marketing. But there is more to the story than simply marketing. TRX holds several patents, making it difficult for competitors to sell identical products.
What Special Patents Does TRX Hold?
TRX has patented several parts of its system and registering trademarks for its brand. This has made it almost impossible for its competitors to sell like-products without risking a lawsuit.
TRX has patented three critical components of its products:
- Its integrated foot pedal and handle grip
- The single anchor point
- A locking loop designed to prevent slipping
Also, TRX has registered two trademarks for its products – SUSPENSION TRAINING® and SUSPENSION TRAINER™.
In 2017, TRX was awarded over six million dollars in a lawsuit. This was against an online company selling cheap knockoffs of TRX’s suspension trainers. WOSS Enterprises was not only using the trademark Suspension Trainer name but also the patented design features.
Keeping Competitors at Bay
TRX has invested heavily in developing the products. So other companies selling cheaper versions would be taking advantage of TRX investments. TRX has put a lot of work into developing their products, doing market research, and creating a network of TRX teachers.
This hasn’t stopped competitors from developing knockoff products. However, they need to design different anchor points, handles, and methods to prevent slipping. Also, they cannot call their product Suspension Trainers.
That’s why NMVB calls their products Bodyweight Resistance Training Straps. Also Intent Sports sells Bodyweight Max Trainers, and Go Fit’s product is Gravity Straps.
Is TRX Trying To Create a Monopoly?
Some might argue that TRX is trying to create a monopoly on suspension trainers. The company contends that fraudulent counterfeiters should not be able to sell products. Especially products that TRX calls unsafe and dangerous.
Randy Hetric is the founder of TRX. He said that the lawsuit was “a big win for brand innovators and customers alike, and it continues to put the fraudsters and cheaters . . . on notice.”
This lawsuit might not have completely eliminated inferior knockoffs with other products. But it has caused manufacturers of other suspension trainers to put at least some money into research and development.
How Were TRX Suspension Trainers Developed?
TRX’s beginnings go back to 1997. Randy Hetrick, the creator and founder of TRX, and a former Navy Seal used a jujitsu belt and parachute webbing to create an early version. Navy Seals were often on missions without access to fitness centres. So Hetrick’s improvised suspension trainer became popular while deployed.
His fellow Seals loved his design and called it “the gizmo.” After getting out of the Navy, Hetrick started developing prototypes of a product that he could sell. With fellow Seals and athletes’ help, Hetrick made 50 prototypes until he had a good enough product to market.
At first, Hetrick decided to sell the TRX trainers to pro athletes, trainers, and gyms. Testimonials from athletes and the availability of TRX equipment in gyms built a serious demand. Also more experienced trainers taught early trainees how to use them. Workout DVDs and certified TRX instructors helped spread the word even further!
TRX FORCE® was then incorporated into the U.S. Marine Corps training. Later the endorsement of NFL quarterbacks helped TRX gain a million users worldwide.
Continual Improvements and Innovations
Further TRX innovations include the following:
- In 2011, TRX introduced a Pro Pack targeted to fitness professionals.
- The same year, TRX created a suspension training course for sports medicine.
- TRX introduced commercial trainer and group courses in 2012. In 2013 they launched their first online suspension training course.
- TRX continues to improve its training apps. The current app includes workouts specific to TRX suspension equipment. There are also workouts for other activities including yoga and HIIT. To monitor your heart rate or VO2max, you can connect to smartwatches or fitness wearables. Workouts with expert coaches are also available. Unfortunately, the apps are not free.
- TRX continued to expand its suspension trainers. In 2019, TRX moved into a new physical fitness area by introducing an innovative foam roller. The purpose of this innovative TRX Rocker® is to help people who suffer from Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS).
What Are Some Alternatives to TRX?
You can find numerous alternatives to TRX. Some have many of the same features of the TRX systems, while others are limited. The key features are good quality anchors, handles and straps. You also want the suspension trainer to be highly portable and have good support products. If you feel a TRX suspension Trainer is out of your price range, please check out this article which reviews the alternative TRX suspension trainers.
A Word of Caution
As you search the internet, be on the lookout for systems that call themselves resistance trainers but don’t mention suspension. These trainers can help some people, but a Bodygym Core System Resistance Trainer is not a suspension trainer.
Although TRX equipment is expensive, the company makes a high-quality product. Yes, you are paying for the marketing but also for the innovations that you won’t see in other suspension resistance products. If you don’t want to spend that much, ask friends for recommendations or check out other products at sporting goods retailers.