What is it?
You have probably see an Olympic gymnast at some stage in your life holding what looks like a couple of rings attached to some straps, swinging around and doing maneuvers that you can only dream of, for the athlete to train themselves to be able to achieve that, they would have to do some form of suspension training.
Suspension Training is a form of resistant training that includes bodyweight exercises in which a variety of multi-planar, exercise movements can be performed while suspended from either Olympic rings or TRX type equipment.
These are done with the aim of developing strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously.
Loved by Personal Trainers, and the US military, Suspension Training helps tighten the core far more effectively than the standard abdominal crunch. It also improves functional strength, balance and flexibility. Suspension training has been around for a while, first the Olympics and then the US military come up with the idea to train their elite special forces. Thanks to a great marketing campaign from TRX, Suspension Training has really kicked off, and it will be around for along time.
How does it work?
Wrapping the straps around a sturdy branch in your local park or around the crossbar on the cable/chin-up machine at the gym, you have two Olympic rings to hang on. Or if you are using a TRX, you will have a couple of handles to hold and straps for your feet. This enables you to exercise suspended off the floor for the really hard-core people, or using the floor or an exercise ball to place your feet or hands upon, which will make the exercises easier.
There are multiple variations of basic exercises such as squats and push-ups, as well as ridiculously tough planks and suspension exercises to work through. You can focus on strength or flexibility, or put exercises together in a sequence with short breaks for more of a cardio workout.
Provided you know what you are doing, suspension training will provide you with a punishing workout.
Is Suspension Training for you?
I started doing Suspension Training more than10 years ago. It was during the Sydney Olympics when I first became interested. Watching the gymnasts on the rings, I was thinking about the power and strength that must be required to perform such maneuvers, so I did some research and found a company in the United States that would ship some rings to London for me to experiment with. WOW, the first day I used them I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to perform very simple maneuvers, and amazed at Versatility. My muscles were sore for days.
If you want to try something new and you are already reasonably fit. Then I would highly recommend giving them a try. If you are new to fitness or maybe a little put off by them, or afraid you will be unable to use them for even the most basic exercises, then please ask a Personal Trainer to show you the correct technique in using them, injuries are best avoid if the exercises are performed correctly from day one.
5 Basic Exercises to get you started!
Start position: Face anchor point with feet shoulder width apart. Hold handles with arms extended and leaning back slightly to add resistance.
Movement description: Keep shoulders pulled down and back. Pull body toward anchor point using back and arms squeezing shoulder blades together and tilt head up slightly. Return to start position. Keep body fully aligned.
Start Position: Face away from anchor point with feet shoulder width apart. Hold rings in front of chest with arms extended.
Movement Description: Starting with a shallow body angle, lower chest to handles in a pushup position. Press back to start position. Keep body fully aligned.
Start Position: Face anchor point with feet shoulder width apart. Hold rings in front of chest with arms extended and slightly leaning back.
Movement Description: Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees so you lower your body into a sitting position then return to standing keeping your knees slightly bent with your arms still outstretched.
Start position: Face anchor point. Hold handles with arms extended. Lean back.
Movement Description: Bend elbows until hands are next to temples, with palms facing forehead. Return to start position with arms straight. Keep elbows high throughout movement.
Start Position: Face away from anchor point. Hold handles with palms facing down and arms extended, hands at eye level. Lean forward. Keep hands separated.
Movement Description: Bend elbows until hands are behind head. Return to start position by driving hands forward until arms are straight
Start Position Stand facing away from the anchor point. Extend arms out straight in line with shoulders and lean slightly forward onto balls of feet.
Movement Description: Slowly drive arms up and overhead until you feel your core muscles engage and then return to start position, keeping arms straight and maintaining body alignment.
Written by; Peter