Fitness Friday with Chad Martin

Suspension Training

            I remember as a kid watching the Olympics and was always fascinated by watching the gymnast on the rings or the pommel horse.  They make it look easy but in order to hold an iron cross or even an inverted iron cross, I knew their upper body strength had to be amazing.  Well, I wasn’t the only one paying attention.  Even though suspension training has been around for many years recently a former Navy Seal instructor while in combat developed a strap system that you could hang from anywhere, that took up a small amount of space and your resistance is your own body weight.  Researching a little I found evidence of suspension training going all the way back to an 1866 book “Athletic training for boys.”

            The benefits of suspension training obviously make it ideal for traveling or areas with a lack of space.  All you need is two things besides the trainer, gravity and your bodyweight, which we all have an abundant supply of.  Also, many exercises engage more than one muscle and many incorporate the core, which is excellent for all athletic activities and fitness.  One of the negatives might be well you can’t adjust any weight, but you can adjust your own.  It is very simple.  For beginners or persons rehabilitating an injury, you can stand at less of an angle or spread your feet apart.  Intermediates can drop a little lower creating more of an angle (45) and bring your feet together, and the advanced trainers can use one foot or elevate your feet in the air by using a bench or a box and try to get parallel with the floor.  This will engage almost all of your bodyweight.  Remember, the closer to the floor the harder it will get.

            One other big negative is the price.  Many of the TRX packages are over $200, but you do get instructional advice, videos, and a heavy duty trainer.  But after doing a little research it isn’t too difficult to be a DIYer and make your own for around $20-$30.  Also, for something really simple and effective I found you can go buy a double handle boat/ski rope and wrap around any tree branch, pole, or pull-up bar for a majority of the exercises.

Exercises                                                                                                                                             Chest- Push-ups, Dips, Pullovers, regular/circle flyes                                                                              

Back-Pull-ups, Row Pull-ups, inverted pull-ups                                                                                 

Shoulders-standing reverse and side raises, inverted push-ups                                                      

Biceps-Standing bicep curls (double or single)                                                       

Triceps-Skull crushers, Dips, Kickbacks                                                                                

Quads-single leg squats, lunges, sprinter starts                                                                                           

Abs-many core exercises, parallel crunches, knee lifts, side rolls, pike


…For more information and tips, check my website, & @PROCHADMARTIN.

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