Fitness Trends: Suspension Training
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Fitness Trends: Suspension Training

This first segment of Fitness Trends covers the general concept of Suspension Training and how you can benefit from it.

What is suspension training?  When I first heard of it, it made me think of a baby's jumping seat suspended from the doorway! But when left
I was first introduced to it through TRX, I was hooked!  All it means is that the exerciser does body weight exercises partially to fully suspended from the floor by a set of straps securely fastened to the wall, ceiling or other stable surface..  The degree of angle of the body determines the level of difficulty. These straps are connected to a beam, pole, wall anchor or tree that is sturdy enough to hold around 300 pounds of body weight.  There are handles that double as foot straps and are able to be adjusted by length.  

TRX was the first brand out and was developed by and for military training.  Since then, gyms around the world use TRX and other brands that have taken the concept to put their own spin on the design. Skilz, Weider, Go Fit, and Nordic Trak all have their own versions that can be used at home.

What is the benefit of suspension training? The greatest benefit is that most anyone can use it!  Some gyms have classes that are very intense and use terms like "shred" and "burn", which is nothing more than ridiculous marketing hype.  Don't let that intimidate you.  These straps can be used for senior citizens (with doctor's approve and proper instruction), people with physical issues, those who are clinically obese, and the athlete.  I love them for new exercisers to set proper movement form and for people with back issues that struggle to work core any other way.

The core, i.e. abs, back, obliques as a unit, is the central focus.  The abs should be "engaged", held firm during all exercises performed.  It is best to start by alternating face forward and face backward.  The straps should always be taut.

Form, especially for squats, are able to be performed without fear of falling and protection of the knees.  The chest press is easier that doing push ups, being a precursor for push-ups.  I absolutely love the versatility of suspension training since muscle groups can be isolated or integrated together and various training methods applied. Stabilizing muscles are build and a better fat burn results.

Who would not benefit from suspension training? Anyone whose health could be jeapordized by using these straps.  It is important to ask your doctor before putting them to use.  Some bulging disc issues can be aggravated by using them.  People with damaged shoulders may need to limit what they do with them. As with all new exercises, check with your doctor first!

Those of you who weigh 300 pounds or more should find out the weight limit of the equipment AND the item that will be holding the straps and you. Even though TRX and their attachments are better designed for higher weights, check first. If you will be safe with it's use, enjoy the benefits!

Do be careful that you use them according to the instructions for your safety! God bless you!

These video clips were taken with my cellphone so they will show adjustments, etc. but you can get an idea of what can be done with suspension training straps.  Exercises in video clips may be advanced for your fitness level.  If this is the case, consult a personal trainer to learn how to begin using them.

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