How to Use a Suspension Trainer Effectively In The Easiest Way?

It is time to kick the kettlebells, ditch the dumbbells and forget about weight training machines.

Maybe not permanently, but just long enough to incorporate a new fitness routine i.e. suspension training techniques with the best suspension trainer.

Popularized by a former US Navy Seal, suspension training utilizes bodyweight and gravity to make each exercise a challenge for your core. All one has to do is anchor the straps to a secure spot like a door frame, weight machine, basketball loop, or monkey bars. You can use your hands or feet to hold onto the straps depending on the type of exercise you’re doing.

A suspension trainer usually suspends the human body above the ground. In some cases, you may have to lean into or away from the straps to create destabilization and resistance. The best thing about suspension trainers is that they allow you to do more than 300 exercises anywhere, anytime.

There are many ways to use suspension trainers but in this post, we narrow them down to three. We also tell you how to properly anchor your trainer and position the body in relation to the anchor points.

Keep reading to discover more…

Core Training

The center of gravity is located along the midline of the body just above the hips. It shifts significantly when you change body position. Your body controls center of gravity during movement by using muscular strength and coordination.

Suspension training can help displace the center of gravity and activate core musculature, thus stabilizing the body in a truly functional way.

(i). Pendulum swing

This is an intermediate level exercise that targets the abs and obliques. Face away from the trainer and place your feet in the cradles before getting into a plank position. Keep your feet together and swing the legs over to the left side. Be sure to bend the knees toward the left elbow.

Swing the legs back into plank position than over to the right side in a fluid motion. Return to the starting position to complete a rep.

(ii). Crunch and curl

This is a beginner exercise that targets the abs and biceps. To get started, sit down facing the anchor. Use an underhand grip to grab the handles then lie down with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent and arms extended in front of you.

Back off the floor by lifting your shoulders and curling the hands towards the shoulders. Lower down to starting position to complete a rep.

(iii). Torso rotation

As the name suggests, this exercise involves spinning the torso to increase midsection strength.

Face the anchor point and grab the straps with both hands. Assume a wide stance with your legs then lean back until the straps are taut. Twist to the right as you pull your body upwards and be sure to keep your core tight and arms straight. Return to starting position and replicate the above steps on the left side.

Full body exercises

These are a great way to exercise all of the muscles at once. They pull the entire bodyweight and one can add exterior loads for an added challenge.

(i). Squat and fly

This is a true total body exercise that’s best suited for intermediates.

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Grab the handles in front of you and lower your body into a squat position as you extend the arms upwards. Spread the arms open as you explode up to stand and form an overhead V.

(ii). Reverse mountain climber

Sit underneath the straps and hook your feet onto the foot cradles.

Place your palms behind you on the floor, and ensure that the fingers are pointed toward your feet. Lift your body off the ground and bring the right knee into the chest before extending back to start. You will want to keep a slight bend in the elbows.

Repeat immediately the left knee, and alternate as quickly as possible without losing form.

(iii). Knee drive/sprinter start

Face the anchor and grab both handles in front of the chest. Lean forward and shift the weight to the feet until straps become taut. Bend the left knee in front of you then drive the right knee forward until the right is nearly parallel to the floor. Return to start.

Unilateral exercises

These are a great way to identify muscle imbalances and weaknesses.

(i). Push-ups

Hook your toes through the straps and lift your body such that the weight rests on the palms. Bend the elbows and lower the chest between the elbows, whilst keeping the core tight. The shoulders and chest will be engaged as you return to the starting position.

(ii). Inverted row

Lie underneath the straps and plant your feet on the floor with the knees bent.

Grasp the handles with the palms facing each other and arms fully extended then lift your body off the floor. Bend the elbows and pull the torso up towards the handles until the body forms a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.

How to Anchor a Suspension Trainer

The reason why suspension trainers are so effective is that they leverage bodyweight against the directional pull of gravity. This creates resistance that demands stability and mobility. Your training could suffer if the anchoring is sketchy.

The good news is that there are a number of options when it comes to good anchoring points. You can anchor your suspension trainer to a door, but the downside is that it will limit exercise selection and make doing some of the exercises awkward.

Consider hanging your suspension trainer directly overhead. This will allow immediate freedom to progress and regress movements for more effective exercise.

Final Verdict

It is important to note that suspension training is all about the position of the body in relation to the anchor point.

Knee tucks and push-ups become increasingly difficult based on the starting position. The effort required to complete a knee tuck decreases if your feet start directly under the anchor point.

The try and error trick is an effective way of finding out which body position allows you to complete reps without sacrificing technique.

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