Suspension Training: the complete fitness package

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trainer-mattAfter living and breathing health and fitness for over 20 years, you see many pieces of equipment be hailed as the “greatest” or “the most innovative products the fitness industry has ever seen”. While many come and go I personally believe the one that will last the test of time is the suspension training. I think you will be hard to find a single piece of equipment like this that can provide and challenge the body in its different physical components of fitness (i.e. strengthening, conditioning, endurance, flexibility, core activation and balance). Fitness should be all inclusive and it can provide amazing results in the hands of a good trainer for an athlete, rehab and the elderly.

So what is Suspension Training?

Whether it is TRX, Crank-it or some other brand of straps used the fundamentals are the same, it provides a workout system that leverages gravity and your bodyweight to perform an amazing variety of exercises. As well as this huge variety of choice it also allows you to be in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise – because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. Days of sitting on and circuiting 20 different machines just to get in your total-body workout seem a little outdated as this form of training creates an all-in-one motion that combines strength and flexibility. Suspension training takes the simple (like a chest press or triceps extension) to become a core-stabilization exercise using your own body weight from different angles to engage more muscle groups at the same time. “TRX trains for reactive stability, says Chris Frankel, head of human performance at TRX. “If your core isn’t tight, you’ll lose balance on the straps. Bracing your core before you move becomes second nature. You’re relying on your own ability to marry your center of gravity with your base of support

So what are the benefits of Suspension Training?

If you are just starting off or getting back into the gym, been injured or of an age where you are feeling like your range of movement is becoming limited or maybe you are a seasoned regular who just needs a boost in challenge and motivation for your workout –  the suspension training can offer the following

–          Can give you a scalable, sustainable, fun, effective approach to help you achieve your personal best.

–          Creates a link between training and exercise to play, strength and control, balance and flexibility, and empowers you to be better at what you love

–          Uses versatile, scalable progression that anyone, anywhere can use any time to perform exercises that improve movement on the field or in life

–          research findings do state that exercises on a Suspension Trainer require more muscular activation across the entire body

What are some of the mistakes commonly seen using suspension training?

Suspension training exercises are amazingly effective, but like everything else in the gym there is the RIGHT way and then there are those wrong methods which either cause injures or giggles. Here are some the mistakes I want you to avoid when attempting any suspension training exercises. If you avoid these mistakes, you will create so much more benefit.

When facing the straps avoid:

Arching – When attempting exercises like bicep curls, or Y shoulders and starting to fatigue, it is common to “lead with your stomach” and arch your back. Avoid this by tightening your core, squeezing your Glutes. If necessary you can also adjust your body angle to make the movement easier and finish the set

Slack Straps – If you find the straps become slack during a moment, it probably means you’re being slack too! Always keep tension through the straps throughout every exercise movement. The best method to avoid this is slow down and if this doesn’t work lean more into the horizontal position

Incorrect start position – Always find your end point in the movement. From here you can adjust to the correct foot position and stance to correctly perform the exercise at your level. Too often you see people fall back with straps slack and it can result in injury.

Hunching – Always remember to keep your shoulders down and allow scapula movement during any push or pull exercises. Again as you fatigue, it gets harder to hold your torso in correct posture. If necessary you can also adjust your body angle to make the movement easier and finish the set

When Laying Prone with feet in straps avoid:

Hip Sag – This is my biggest no no when training. If you are focusing on your core it’s imperative that you have good core and plank technique (even before attempting this). As you fatigue, it gets harder to hold your torso in correct posture. If you find your hips sagging or back arching during a movement, ensure your core is turned on and if necessary, regress the movement to an easier version to be able to finish with proper spine position. Failing to do this can result in injury.

Conclusion

I have been utilising suspension training on myself and my clients now for over 2 years! It has produced some amazing RESULTS. It is challenging and definitely offers much reward in those fitness components I have mentioned earlier. We are offering at the centre 2 FREE sessions on using this training equipment next week and I hope to see you there. I guarantee you will learn something new.

Remember  – Technique is king!!