Strength training may spark thoughts of beefy bodybuilders with loaded barbells. But you don't have to lift heavy to get the most out of a strength workout.
Resistance training will improve your physical and mental health. And you don't need much to incorporate it into your routine. A simple pair of suspension training straps can get you started.
But how do you use them? We're glad you asked.
Here we'll go over the basics of suspension training and when to use it in your workout. Then we'll show you how to use suspension training straps to get that total-body burn.
Are you ready? Keep reading below to learn everything you need to know.
How Does Suspension Training Work?
Bodyweight suspension training is a type of resistance training. What does that mean? It means you're making your muscles push or pull something that resists the movement.
In this case, that something is your own bodyweight. When your muscles move against resistance, they're forced to work harder. This is what makes them strong!
Suspension training uses your own bodyweight to build strength and stamina. You suspend yourself from a pair of straps and move your body for maximum muscle building.
Don't worry, you won't have to hang off the ground completely. We'll get into what kinds of exercises you do with the straps in a second.
Should I Try Suspension Training?
A suspension training workout is great for those who have a limited space in which to exercise. If you're stuck working out in your bedroom or living room, straps can help.
It's also a solid choice for anyone who wants to blast their core and stabilizing muscles. Because you're leaning on the straps as you workout, even your smallest muscles have to work hard.
Suspension training is easy on the joints, too. And if you want to build strength while improving your balance and coordination, it might be for you.
Suspension Training Exercises
To get the most out of your suspension training, you need to have a few things in place.
First (and we can't stress this enough), you need to make sure your straps are secure. You'll be putting your entire body weight on these straps. To avoid injury, make sure it would take a fully-grown elephant to rip them from your ceiling.
Second, you should have a baseline fitness level to build on. Before you go full-boar on suspension training, get familiar with basic strength moves. This will help you stay safe and injury-free.
1. Suspended Pushups
Pushups are great beginner suspension training exercises because you can adjust the difficulty. For the highest burn, balance on your toes and lean forward onto the straps. To ease things up, keep your body in a more upright position.
Once you're ready, straighten your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Your body should be angled toward the floor. Then bend your elbows to 90-degrees and straighten them again.
Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 8-10 pushups for maximum muscle building.
2. Single Leg Lunge
A single-leg lunge. Sounds easy, right? This basic move torches the core and quads when you bring suspension straps into the mix.
As you're starting, you may want to keep a chair handy in case you need something to balance against. You'll be sliding one foot into your suspension strap. Then, you'll lower your body into a lunge on your standing leg.
Lower the strap to where the handle hits your upper thigh. Position yourself a foot in front of the strap and get ready to lunge. As you do, make sure you keep your knee straight over your toe, bending your leg to a 90-degree angle.
Start with a few sets of 10-12 reps or try a 30-seconds on, 15-seconds off circuit for three minutes.
3. High Plank to Pike
This is one of our favorite suspension training workouts. It's a great core-strengthening and can improve flexibility in the hips, too.
Lower your straps so they're a few feet off the floor. You're going to want to kneel in front of them and position both feet into the handles. Then start in a high plank position, like you're getting ready to do a standard pushup.
From there, tighten your core and crunch your legs toward you, keeping them straight. You want to make a V-shape with your body, bringing the tops of your legs toward your middle.
Finish the move by lowering yourself back into a high plank and repeat for 6-8 reps each set.
4. Pistol Squat
If you've always wanted to get better at pistol squats, then now's your moment! The best suspension training straps will actually make this move easier to master. You'll have something to lean on as you get used to the move and build strength.
Start with your strap handle at shoulder height. Grab onto it with the opposite hand of the leg you'll be squatting with. Balancing on that leg, lower yourself into the pistol squat, extending your opposite arm as you go.
Squeeze your glutes to press back up to standing. Congrats, you've done your first pistol squat! Now give us seven more.
5. Chest Fly
This is a great move for anyone who wants to strengthen their chest or up their pushup game. Get into the same position you were in for the pushup, with your hands close together. This time, you're going to open your arms out to each side.
Keep your elbows bent slightly as you do the movement. Then squeeze your chest as you bring your arms back to the center. Repeat the move for three sets of 8-12 repetitions.
6. Inverted Row
To balance out the chest fly, we're bringing in the inverted row. This move is great for the back, one of your largest muscle groups.
Take that pushup position and turn it upside down. You should be hanging beneath your straps, facing the ceiling.
With your arms straight above your shoulders, pull your body up. Your end position should have your hands level with your chest. Your elbows should be back, and you should be squeezing your shoulder blades together.
You know what to do. 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
7. Tricep Dips
Finally, for the advanced suspension trainer, we've got the dreaded tricep dips. You'll need a strong core and upper body for this move, so work up to it if you're a beginner.
You're going to lift yourself up until you're balancing on the straps. This move also works well if you have a set of rings to swap in place of your standard handles.
Lower yourself slowly with control like you would in a seated dip. But keep your core engaged so that your feet don't hit the floor. Repeat for reps or until you've maxed out your triceps.
Using Suspension Training Straps
Suspension training straps are a versatile tool for first-timers and gym veterans. Doing these exercises will build stability in your core while you gain strength. What more could you want?
Give suspension training a try if you're looking for a way to freshen up your workout routine. To check out our array of suspension straps, click here.