The announcement of the TRX Bandit came as a surprise, although it really shouldn't have. TRX is famous for its suspension trainers and home weights, but the new Bandit is slightly different from (and much cheaper than) the rest of the home gym equipment it offers. And probably for that reason, I can see it becoming prevalent, especially among people who travel a lot.
What is the TRX Bandit? In theory, the Bandit is a plastic handle that enables you to have a better grip when using resistance bands. Simple, right? In reality, the Bandit successfully turns resistance bands, the most underrated home gym equipment, into a full-body workout and stretching machine.
I must admit, I was a bit sceptical at first. I tried more hardcore suspension trainers from TRX, such as the excellent TRX Home2, but even so, seeing the Bandit on press photos didn't fill me with confidence. After giving them a try, though, I realised just how much potential there is in the product.
TRX Bandit: price and release date
The TRX Bandit Kit is available for $49.95/£65.95 and comes with two handles, two blue TRX Strength Bands (5 – 15 lbs.) and two green TRX Strength Bands (15 – 30 lbs.).
Also available is the TRX Bandit that comes with two handles only for $29.95/£35.95.
Both options are accompanied by a seven-day trial to the TRX Training Club.
AUS prices TBC.
TRX Bandit: how does it work and why should you care
The TRX Bandit was constructed with a universal handle design and grippy ThermoPlastic Rubber to provide "better control through movements for improved performance", as TRX puts it. And indeed, the Bandit helps to keep the stretchy plastic digging into your hands as you work out.
As you've probably guessed by now, you can't use the TRX Bandit on its own: you'll also need at least a resistance band to work out with them. According to TRX, the Bandit is best paired with TRX Strength Bands; however, you can also use them with any other resistance bands of your choice.
This is great news as resistance bands aren't only cheap, but you probably have one tucked away in your home already. Getting a TRX Bandit will help you utilise these bands to their full potential without spending loads of money on new home gym equipment.
During the press briefing, we had to perform various exercises using the Strength Bands and the Bandit. I'm still not convinced it's good for deadlifts – there isn't enough resistance at the beginning of the movement – but for stretching and isolating movements (e.g. biceps curls), I can't think of better equipment to use, especially if you're on the move, for example in a hotel room.
Don't get me wrong: the TRX Bandit won't replace dumbbells or kettlebells when it comes to muscle building. It's more than adequate in getting a quick pump when you can't have access to these, though. It's also way better for stretching, something I really appreciate as I'm generally stiff as hell.
That said, you can use more than just one band at a time with the TRX Bandit, which, in theory, can enable you to load the muscles properly to force them to grow. But having to add and remove a bazillion bands every time you switch between exercises would reduce the convenience factor of the Bandit, admittedly its biggest USP.
After using the TRX Bandit for a week now, I can safely I'm a convert. I've been supplementing my strength training with TRX Bandit-assisted stretching sessions, and I can already feel its benefits. The fact that I can shove it in a small pouch and store it anywhere makes the Bandit all the more appealing to me, especially since I live in a small flat.
I'm yet to give them a go on their own as I still can't travel anywhere (thanks, corona!), but as soon as I am on the go again, I'll make sure to include the TRX Bandit in my gym bag. Or backpack. Or both.