Suspension Training: Less Equipment, More Impact

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Stretch those cords, work that core.

I like to keep my room as free of clutter as possible after a childhood of constantly tripping over my own toys and discarded laundry. This is why I don’t love having to keep a lot of different exercise implements around, because I simply don’t have the room for all of them. Without any equipment, though, how are you supposed to get your ideal exercise? Bodyweight exercise is the obvious answer, but unassisted bodyweight stuff doesn’t always get you what you need. If you’ve only got enough room for a single piece of equipment, you might want to consider a simple suspension trainer.

Suspension training was originally devised by the Navy SEALs to provide a clean workout nearly anywhere with minimal equipment. The concept is simple: get yourself a suspension trainer, a special kind of nylon band. This band is suspended from a higher point, such as the top of a closed door. Grab the handles and pull them back. The natural resistance of the band turns your body into a living dumbbell, allowing you to yank and stretch with exactly as much weight as you can personally manage.

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Suspension training, aside from being economical, is a great way to train your core and stability. The wiggly design of the bands make balancing a little harder, which is good, as it encourages you to stay centered and balanced as you work out. The only downside to suspension training is that it’s not great for building more muscle than you already have. It’ll absolutely help you maintain what you’ve got, but since it’s based on your own bodyweight, it can’t provide much in the way of limit-breaking extra weight. If you’re just looking to stay in shape, though, it’s an excellent, simple option.