Over the past two years I have been using a suspension trainer both at home, in local parks and while coaching with the Telemark Nordic Ski club. The most common suspension trainer is the TRX brand, though others are available. Suspension trainers can be purchased from local fitness stores or online.
The challenge of using the suspension trainer is that you have to stabilize your body while completing an exercise motion while partially suspended. For example, a basic push can be made more challenging using the suspension training by having your hands hold onto the suspension trainer handles while performing the push up motion. Alternately, a push up could be performed while your ankles are suspended while your hands are on the ground.
Depending on the type and difficulty of an exercise, the suspension trainers are adjusted by varying the length of the straps. The adjustability of the straps allows the system to be used for a huge number of exercises as well as allowing for a large degree of variability within an exercise. Keeping with the push up example; A push up could be performed in a horizontal position or a more vertical position depending on strength and control.
I own both a TRX brand and WOSS suspension trainer. The TRX is well built and is slightly easier to use than the other trainer. As well, there are less straps in the way as you adjust the length of the trainer. The WOSS trainer is built with very rugged straps and metal buckles to adjust the height. Unfortunately there isn’t a great way to get the extra straps out of the way while using the WOSS trainer, and the handles tend to slide to one side instead of staying centred.
Workout sheets and / or DVD’s are provided in the suspension trainer kits. Other workouts or ideas can be found on Youtube or Pinterest.
Suspension trainers are thick non-elastic webbing that can be attached in one of three ways:
1) clipped onto a special U-Bolt hanger in the ceiling
2) attached to a closed door
3) wrapped over an overhead branch, goalpost, swing set, etc.
Both of the suspension trainers I own came with all the components to be fastened in each way just mentioned.
Portable & relatively lightweight.
Can use in a variety of settings and locations.
Exercises all muscle groups.
Exercise can be made easy to very challenging.
Strength train outdoors.
Great for younger athletes.
At roughly $250 to buy, a TRX seems expensive for what they are. Less expensive versions are available.
Requires some practice to be comfortable, with the ‘moving’ straps while performing exercise.
Strength building requires more ‘overload’ than the TRX can provide.