Benefits of Suspension Training (TRX, gymnastics rings, etc)

Joel Armenta NASM- Master Trainer
TRX STC, GSTC, SMSTC, RTC, GRTC

Gyms are full of different types of equipment: rubber bands, barbells, dumbbells, stationary machines, cardio equipment, medicine balls, TRX, etc. One piece of equipment that its available in most gyms now days and its underutilized is the suspension trainer. My considerations to consider a piece of equipment a suspension trainer are:

  1. You use your body as a resistance
  2. It’s attached at a point higher than the individuals center of gravity
  3. Easily allows you to adjust your resistance

Some examples of what I would consider a suspension trainer would be: TRX, ropes, gymnastics rings, jungle gym, etc.

Now that you know what a suspension trainer might look like, what are some of its benefits?

First, they are very versatile. I like the idea of using one piece of equipment to get my workout done, especially when I’m in a time crunch. I don’t have to go from point A to point B looking for equipment, or sometimes waiting for some to finish their workout so I can use that piece of equipment.

The second thing I Iike about them is that they make you use your core; to do the exercises correctly you must keep your core braced. A lot of us have sedentary jobs where we sit, and we relax our core musculature. Over time that can cause our core muscles to get weak and consequently bring other problems such as back pain, bad posture, among other things. Using a suspension trainer is like doing a plank repeatedly as you do your sets. Imagine teaching your body to keep the core strong and have a good posture over and over again! That mid-section will definitely get stronger and firmer.

The third thing I like about the suspension trainer is that it challenges your stabilizer muscles. You probably have heard from your bodybuilding friend “today is back day”, “chest day!”, etc. They are talking about the primary movers, but in every movement, there are many other muscles involved helping stabilize the joints. Suspension trainers challenge these auxiliary axillary muscles and makes them stronger and more resilient to stress resulting in a lower risk of injury.

Lastly, adjusting the resistance in the suspension trainer is very simple. All you have to do its change the angle of your body by getting moving away or closer to the anchor point. If you are standing you can make it harder by moving closer to the anchor point; if you are laying down you can make it harder by moving away from the anchor point. This beats having to change weights all the time, or waiting on someone using the weight you need.

This is basic suspension trainer workout you can do at your gym. You can adjust the intensity by working with the angles.

Perform three sets of 15 repetitions each in a circuit mode.

Roll Out

Set up:

  1. Kneel under anchor and place your hands on the handles.
  2. Lean slightly forward while maintaining a strong and long spine.

Movement:

  1. Shift your weight away from the anchor while maintaining your core braced.
  2. Contract your abdominals to return to your starting position

Suspended Bridge

Set up:

  1. Lay on your back with your head away from the suspension trainer
  2. Place your feet on the straps and bent your knees to ninety degrees

Movement:

  1. Push your heels down into the straps and raise your hips towards your forehead until your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line.
  2. Slowly return to the floor

Chest Press

Set up:

  1. Stand facing away from the anchor with your arms extended and hands on the straps
  2. Lean forward into a plank position

Movement:

  1. Take your body closer to your hands by bending at the elbows and the shoulders. (Don’t lose the plank position)
  2. Push your body away from your hands and back into the starting position

Squat

Set Up:

  1. Stand facing the anchor and hold on to the straps, put slight tension on the straps

Movement:

  1. Bend at the hips and the knees and sit about a chair height
  2. Push the ground away and return to the starting position

Row

Set up:

  1. Stand facing the anchor and hold onto the straps near your chest
  2. Lean back and brace your core as if performing a plank

Movement:

  1. Extend your arms and lower your body away from the straps
  2. Pull your body up closer to the straps by pulling your shoulder blades closer together and bending your elbows.

Remember that the key to results is consistency. Challenge yourself and put the effort required to conquer the challenges you set for yourself.

If you are thinking about starting a workout program always check with your doctor first.