Imagine there was a magical tool with which you could perform hundreds of different exercises adjusted for all levels. If you've spent your days dreaming of a one-stop body-shop, then you're in luck.
You may have seen them advertised or (literally) hanging out at your local gym. They're those two strappy mechanisms that people appear to do all sorts of things on. Well, that's because you can. The beauty of the suspension trainer is that it uses your own body weight for resistance in every exercise, allowing you to adjust your angle to make it harder or easier. They've gained popularity because they're easy to travel with, and great for a group fitness setting where everyone's experience varies. And obviously because they work!
If you own one, or have access to one at a gym, I've put together a full body circuit workout that hits all the major muscle groups and can be completed under 30 minutes. Happy Sweating!
45 seconds: Jump Squats
45 seconds: Chest Press
45 seconds: Bodyweight Row
45 seconds: Right Suspended lunge
45 Seconds: Left Suspended lunge
45 Seconds: Y-Fly
45 Seconds: Hamstring Curl to scissor combo
45 Seconds: Plank Tuck
Rest 1 minute, Repeat 2 more times
The Jump Squat
Straps to halfway, facing the anchor point, feet are hip width, holding handles mid chest.
Lower to a squat keeping the knees behind the toes, immediately jump up, and return to the squat position as you come down.
Notes: core stays engaged, the momentum from the drop is used to propel you back up. It should look and feel like one smooth motion.
The Chest Press
Straps to fully lengthened, facing away from the anchor point, feet are hip width (or wider for more support). Holding handles, arms come out in front a bit wider then shoulder-width. Body is on an angle suited for your desired resistance.
Chest lowers as elbows bend outward to 90 degrees. Stop at 90 and then push through to starting position. Repeat
Notes: This is very similar to a push up. Walking father from the anchor point will make it easier, walking back toward the anchor point at a steeper angle will make it harder. One day you'll be parallel to the ground! (#goals)
The Bodyweight Row
Straps halfway, facing toward the anchor point, feet are hip-width apart. Find your angle holding handles with hands to chest wrists facing toward each other (this is your end point).
Lower back straightening arms, then pull (row) back to end point elbows bent to 90 degrees, bringing wrists back to chest. Think of squeezing your shoulder blades together on your back as your bring wrist back to your chest.
You can make this more difficult by pointing the wrists forward and instead bringing the wrists to your temples for a "high row." You can also combo the two together.
The Suspended Lunge
Position: Straps halfway,** facing away from the anchor point, grab both handles and insert one foot into the lowest handle strap. Start far enough out so that you have room to lunge back. Farther from the anchor point is harder, closer is easier.
**This will depend on how tall you are and how high the suspension trainer is anchored. You are looking to have a 90 degree bend in the leg in the suspension trainer.
Lunge back driving the leg in the handles back, while the one on the ground bends to 90 degrees. Come back through driving the knee of the suspended leg up and straightening the standing leg. Repeat.
This one is as much about balance as it is working the leg. Make sure to do the movements slow and controlled keeping the core engaged and the back straight.
Straps halfway, facing the anchor point, feet hip-width apart. Find a comfortable angle holding the handles in front of you, arms straight, wrists facing downward.
Slowly raise your arms up above your head coming to end in a "Y" position as you pull your chest and body forward. Slowly release back to starting position arms forward in front of you.
If you're just starting out and your angle isn't very steep, you can give yourself extra support by keeping your feet hip width, but taking a staggered stance. This will give you more balance.
Hamstring Curl to Scissor combo
Straps to mid calf (bottom handles hit the middle of your calf), lay on your back facing the anchor point, heels into the lower strap, positioned just below the anchor point. Hips lift off the ground.
Keeping your back on the ground, hips up, and heels in the straps, bring your knees in toward your chest, and then release back to start position (this is the hamstring curl). To add the scissors, open your legs out wide, then return them to start. Repeat with hamstring curl..
To make this harder, come farther from the anchor point. To make it easier, come closer to the anchor point.
The Plank Tuck
Keep strap length from previous exercise. Facing away from the anchor point, tops of feet are in the lower straps, body is in a plank position, palms under shoulders.
Holding plank, draw your knees toward your chest, hold a second, release back to start. Repeat.
This can also be done from a forearm plank. Elbows under shoulders and forearms flat. Slightly lift the hips as your draw the knees toward the chest.
* all exercises are for informational purposes only. Always make sure you have been cleared by a physician to exercise, if necessary.