Do you remember swinging from a tree branch or pulling up on the monkey bars when you were younger? Or climbing the ropes in gym class? Those were all variations on what we call TRX or “suspension training” today, and it’s become a sort of cult-like form of fitness. Basically, suspension training involves a contraption made of nylon webbed straps and handles that you attach to a stable “anchor” using a carabiner. You then use your body weight as the resistance to perform 100’s of exercises that build power, strength, core stability, flexibility and balance.
After doing a little research on the Internet, I found a few websites with instructions on how to build a homemade suspension trainer for about $20. However, the key is the durability of the do-it-yourself model! Check out this site for a video tutorial on the DIY version.
I personally purchased the TRX® Suspension Trainer that has become a popular tool at most health clubs. The home version “Pro-Pack” packed a hefty price tag of $249.95 but it came with an extra sturdy door attachment for indoor use, a great instructional DVD, exercise booklet, and a mesh carrying bag. I will admit that the high cost has been more than worth it for my family! However, if you want just the straps without the bells and whistles, GoFit Bob Harper Gravity Straps will get the same job done for less than $40.
The beauty of suspension training is the portability both indoor and outdoor. At this time of year, take it to the park, beach, local high school, or even your own backyard. Throw it over a sturdy anchor like a tree branch, chain link fence, goal post, or monkey bars. The key is to make sure the carabiner is properly attached and then “weight test” it before you start working out.
You want the anchor point to be approx 7-9′ off the ground and the handles approx 3-4” off the ground when fully extended. Try to find an area about 6-8 wide with a non-slip surface.
The Suspension Trainer is great for a fast and easy workout for all fitness levels. Start slowly and build up to more intense exercises. You even get a cardio workout when performing exercises one after the other with power.
Try exercises like:
Pushup with Feet in Pike
Adjusting your body position can make these exercises easier and/or harder.If you need ideas on exercises or proper form, YouTube is overloaded with exercise clips. But remember, if you are a newbie, you should start slowly and seek out help from a trainer if necessary.
Grab TRX bands or another suspension training system to make your body your machine and create a playground of exercises either indoors or outdoors!
What are your thoughts on TRX and suspension training? Love it? Hate it? Share below!