One of those things that intimidated me for a long time would be TRX and suspension training. The classes and workout videos present what appeared to be far too great a challenge for my fitness level, but now that I have come so far in my fitness journey, it seemed like the right time to give suspension training a try. I found out that small, home-gym style sets are available, so I could slowly learn to use the bands in the privacy of my own home, rather than in the studio with other people watching me. I grabbed a Fitness Answered Training strap kit and got started!
Disclaimer: I received this product at no cost in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.
Just like an inflatable fitness ball, suspension training works on one principle: instability. By changing an anchored surface into a mobile one, using suspension straps makes exercises more dynamic, causing more muscle tissue to be recruited during exercise execution. Your muscles have to work double duty, performing both the exercise itself AND keeping the body stable throughout. This type of dynamic fitness is excellent for building functional strength and is a great way to maximize a standard workout or revitalize a stale routine.
The straps can be anchored to a bar or in the frame of a door, thanks to the carabiner clip and door mounting stopper included in the set. Clip the carabiner to any overhead pole or ceiling mount, but be careful to ensure that whatever you're using to support the straps (and therefore yourself) safely. Poor mounting is the best way to get seriously hurt using suspension training! If you don't have a good overhead mount, you can slide the door stopper between the top of your door and your door frame, closing the door to hold it tight, then clipping the carabiner to the door stop attachment. While this typically provides less workroom than a ceiling mount in the middle of a room, it is often more stable, and there are still PLENTY of exercises you can do!
Though the Fitness Answered suspension kit doesn't actually come with mounting or exercise instructions, there are countless videos out there to learn how to mount, adjust, and use suspension straps for whatever type of workout you're after: from upper body, to core, to legs, and whatever else you can think of, suspension training can target the entire body. Some of my favorites include rows (above), chest presses, body saws, lunges, single leg squats (below), hamstring curls, and mountain climbers. That's almost a whole body workout just out of my handful of favorites! There are dozens more suspension exercises to thoroughly work your entire body from head to toe.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing around with the suspension straps! I've decided to keep them stashed at work (which is easy thanks to the mesh travel bag included with the kit) so I can pull it out on days my lifting routine needs a little extra OOMPH! It's so easy to set up, use, take down, and store, that I have the feeling it'll quickly become one of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment. As usual, I like to find products that are versatile (check), storable (check), and portable (check) when looking to build my home gym arsenal, and suspension training DEFINITELY makes the cut!
Do you take TRX or other suspension system based classes? What's your favorite suspension exercise? What fitness gear, classes, or programs intimidate you?