What is suspension training?
Suspension training is a revolutionary form of bodyweight exercise using fitness equipment called a Suspension Trainer.
Suspension trainers allow you to perform natural movements and exercises to build strength, lose weight and tone up. It's a scalable form of exercise that's suitable for people of all abilities and can be used to develop elite fitness.
Suspension trainers are essentially length adjustable straps which can be temporarily fixed to an anchor point (door / or any other stable object) to allow you to harness your body weight against gravity and carry out exercises in a suspended state.
As you can see in the image below it takes a lot of strength and coordination to gracefully control your body movements and offers an excellent workout to the core body and abdominals.
Suspension training is a superb form of functional training which maximises strength development, stability, and endurance, and over time will tone and define the body. Combined with cardiovascular exercise and dedicated strength training program it offers a well-rounded complimentary routine.
The benefits of suspension training:
Suspension training is good for the following:
- Can train the entire body and build total body strength
- Excellent core conditioning and abdominal workout
- Hundreds of possible exercises
- Easily adjustable for all fitness levels
- Easy to setup and portable, great for travelling
- Builds functional strength
Suspension training is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to develop definition and tone up, and is perfect for people with limited room or money - as it provides a complete body workout in the form of a 2lb package that can be fixed to a door (without the need for mountings and can be taken down in seconds).
One of the major benefits we have found is that suspension training is great for incremental developments that make seemingly impossible exercises such as the one legged squat accessible. Pistol squats can be performed easily with a suspension trainer and by altering your body weight over time you can work your way up to performing this impressive exercise equipment free.
As we've described, one of the benefits of suspension training is its ability to workout the entire body, with a huge selection of exercises to choose from. However, it's a particularly effective method of core conditioning and affords some of the best abdominal exercises possible (see the Suspended Crunch!).
Consistent and dedicated suspension training will help build a functional body that not only looks good but is also capable.
Suspension training exercises
Suspension training offers hundreds of exercises that challenge every part of the human body. You can use a suspension trainer for basic exercises such as biceps curls, triceps extension and chest flys but also for exercises that wouldn't be possible without a trainer like the suspended crunch or supine pull-through.
Here are just a few example suspension training exercises:
Exercise: Suspended Chest Press
Exercise: Suspended Single Leg Squat (Pistol Squat)
Exercise: Suspended crunch
For a full list of suspension training exercises please visit the Fitstream exercise directory.
What do you need for suspension training?
To beging suspension training all you really need is a suspension trainer and an anchor point to fix it to, that can safely support your bodyweight.
The anchor point can be a door (using suspension trainer door attachments that come with most mainstream suspension training packages) or beam / pull-up bar. Essentially any stable structure from which you can safely wrap the trainer straps round can be used.
As long as the trainer is securely fastened and you have adequate training space to exercise (around 8' should be sufficient) you're set to go.
A breakdown of a Suspension Trainer:
Below is a breakdown of the popular TRX Suspension Trainer to illustrate the common major components -
The TRX trainer pictured above is a single-strap design, but you can also buy dual-strap bodyweight systems like The Human Trainer which, whilst they increase the flexibility of the trainer (you can perform pull-ups, dips, chest flyes more effectively) arguably make it slighlty more cumbersome to setup.
There are various suspension trainers available but they're commonly made up of the following components:
- Handles / foot stirrups: To support use of both hands and foot based exercises
- Straps: The core component to the product, a quality nylon webbing material
- Buckles: Attached to the straps, the buckles allow you to adjust the length of the straps to accommodate for various exercises.
- Anchor: The part of the trainer that's fixed to the anchor point. It can be a loop that is thread round something and fixed in place, or a door anchor which sits over the door and is pulled shut.
- Anchor point: A solid, safe structure from which the suspension trainer is fixed. This must be capable of supporting your bodyweight. It is typically a standard household door, or beam of some kind.
Where can I buy a suspension trainer?
Check the Fitstream equipment section of the site for a list of popular suspension trainers available to buy online now.
The most popular single-strap suspension trainers today are made by Fitness Anywhere, who have built a product called the TRX Suspension Trainer.
The TRX was developed by a former US Navy SEAL, who needed a versatile way to stay in shape on missions. The TRX began life as a few lengths of parachute webbing hand-stitched together and has now evolved int the club-quality complete bodyweight training system you see above, and is helping to establish suspension training as part of mainstream fitness.
The TRX is available to buy now from Fitness Anywhere.