Suspension Training is becoming more and more popular with athletes and regular gym goers – and for good reason! This style of bodyweight training can be equally as effective and even more functional than traditional weight training.
By holding yourself off the ground, or putting a foot in the suspension trainer, you are forcing your body to stabilize you and maintain control using an unstable object. (This is different than training while standing on an unstable object – which isn’t as effective. But that’s a different post)
By moving your body through space you accomplish a few things.
First, you recruit more muscle fibers because the exercise is a “closed chain” exercise. This is due in part to increased firing of motor neurons, which helps you develop the feel of where your body is in space. Basically, not only will a suspension trainer build functional muscle, it will also help you become more athletic.
Benefits of Suspension Training
This style of training is excellent, because it can be done anywhere as long as there’s a place to hang it. When I traveled through South America, I only brought a single suspension trainer with me, and was able to get GREAT workouts in at least 4 days per week.
The limiting factor when training with a suspension trainer is your imagination. Every exercise can be performed in some form of fashion, and you can work every muscle from head to toe.
I didn’t think it was possible to directly isolate the quads, but check out this Single Leg Quad Extension – it’s intense!
1. Metabolic Conditioning
One of the best ways to get a great workout with this piece of equipment is by flowing from one exercise right into the next one with limited rest. The result is a hear-beating, sweat-dripping, burner of a workout, that will keep you in shape to summit volcanoes at 15,000 ft elevation, kayak through Croc infested waters for hours, and fight in the upcoming zombie apocalypse.
Rather than doing 3 sets of 10 rows, followed by 3 sets of 10 pushups, by combining the two with no rest you can accomplish a lot more work in a lot less time.
For example, try this Suspension Training circuit next time you need a fast upper body workout
- Suspension Trainer (ST) Atomic Pushup x 8
- ST Row x 8
- ST Pistol Squat x 4 ea
- ST Biceps Curl x 16
- Rest 60 sec before repeating #1
2. Train Anywhere
With the easy to use design of the Suspension Trainer, you can put it up on any beam, wall mount, vertical pole, or door frame.
The door mount (black piece on the bottom right) means that you can get a good workout any time you have a door and door frame. And unlike other suspension trainers or ring attachments, the loop at the bottom of the handle will allow you to get great leg workouts in where and whenever you want.
3. Unlimited Exercises
With a Suspension Trainer and a little bit of ingenuity or a creative training program, you can train any body part, and mimic any sport specific movement. Anything from overhead squats all the way to gymnastic training, this one piece of equipment is all you need to stay young, train hard, and never be without a good workout.
I traveled through South America for a full year with only my suspension trainer, and I was able to get great workouts in (often in strange locations). But I followed a structured program that combined full body, core and plyometric movements that enabled me to play as hard as I wanted.
From hiking glaciers that were 15,000 feet in elevation, to kayaking 4 hours, mountain biking 30 miles of the Andes, and climbing hundreds of flights of stairs to see some of the most spectacular views in the world, thanks to my F3 Suspension Trainer, I was never unprepared.
This is basically a 2lb full gym that you can fit in a backpack.
4. Great for Any Level
Suspension Trainer exercises never leave my arsenal, because they can be some of the easiest for learning new movement patterns for beginners, as well as some of the most ridiculously hard muscle building exercises ever.
Building quality movement can be hard when you’re learning on a bench press or bent over row in the gym, or even worse, they can be totally non-functional, like locking your body into a machine for biceps curls or to work on your outer glutes. Not only are these machines not taking into consideration that your body works in unison to create results, they’re training you to turn off the other muscles when you’re training in isolation.
Not the Suspension Trainer.
Every move is a full body and core exercise, which is amazing for teaching “irradiated tension” – that’s the fancy way of saying it teaches you to keep your whole body strong while you’re training.
This translates to more calories burned, more abs, and less injuries.
5. Suspension Training Will Make You a Machine
Taking someone who has only does suspension training and then putting them in a traditional gym environment is awesome, because you see how strong someone who has only been training with body weight can actually be.
I’ve seen skinny 17 year olds who have never benched above 95lbs in their life put up an astounding 185, do weighted pullups with an extra 45lbs, and deadlift 255 off the floor after a 3 month suspension training program.
This isn’t anything abnormal, it’s all related to the process of learning to control your body. Too many people start with loaded movements in a gym without knowing how to move their body first. The ST teaches that, and it’s equivalent to building a house on a strong foundation, rather than starting construction on a muddy and bumpy lot.
Let the Suspension Trainer teach you how to move, then go out and move often.
6. Suspension Training is Perfect for Getting a Great Workout, FAST!
Not everyone has a full hour to go to the gym and train.
You can get a workout that’s more effective than traditional weight training in half the time. All you need is 25 minutes, a good plan, and a strong work ethic.
With just 5 days per week only training 25 minutes per day, you can get amazing results!
For more info on suspension training, or how you can use bodyweight exercises to finally get stronger, leaner, and Lean for Life, check out Bod in a Box