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What Is Suspension Training?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
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Suspension training is a type of workout where people use a set of straps and their body weight to move through a series of exercises with the goal of increasing strength, flexibility, and endurance. High energy workouts can even include a cardiovascular component. In this approach to fitness training, people grab straps attached to a hard point like a tree branch or the ceiling, and move through exercises like squats, pull ups, and so forth. The straps are easy to adjust, and people can change position on the ground to vary the intensity of the workout.

People have been using various forms of suspension training for centuries, as images of gym rings in 19th century woodblocks attest, but modern suspension training systems have their roots in the military. Soldiers need to be able to stay fit on deployment, but cannot pack and manage large amounts of workout equipment. Suspension training allows them to quickly and easily set up a gym and break it down again to meet fitness needs, and the huge variety of exercises keeps the work interesting and makes sure muscle groups are worked evenly.

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This form of exercise relies on resistance, with the weight of the body acting as a tool in the workout. People can work the upper and lower body with a variety of moves. Moving closer to the point below the suspension and spreading the legs makes moves easier, while moving further away and closing the distance between the legs will make them more challenging. This allows people to customize exercises to meet their needs.

Some gyms offer group suspension training classes. Personal trainers can also offer one on one assistance, and people can use suspension training systems at home as well. The portability can be an advantage for people who travel and want to be able to stay fit while they are on the road; the straps can be set up anywhere.

To do suspension training, people do need a strong core. It is not a beginning form of exercise, as the muscles around the spine and abdomen need to be in good condition. People who have been doing sports like yoga and pilates can usually safely incorporate suspension training into their workouts, as can weight lifters who make sure to include core exercises in the workouts. People who are not sure about whether this technique is right for them can talk to a doctor or personal trainer.

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