Health & Medicine

Jason Wanlass: Take your fitness everywhere with suspension training

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to fitness. Do you find yourself ever falling into the same patterns and basically sleepwalking through your workouts? This is when we need to get creative with our fitness routine, and trying something new can often be the solution. This lifts you not only physically, but mentally as well.

One popular method exercisers are turning to is suspension training. Suspension training is a form of body weight training that incorporates the use of suspension straps on a stable overhead anchor point. This allows the user to angle his or her body as is appropriate for that person’s strength level.

Suspension training’s popularity has surged mostly because of its versatility and economic appeal (prices range from $99 to $199). Suspension straps can be used both indoors and outdoors. Plus, with one suspension unit you can perform more than a hundred exercises, all while minimizing cost and maximizing space. This is why more gyms, personal training studios and home exercisers are using it.

So the next time you see suspension straps at your gym, try a few of these exercises — your body will thank you for it.

Suspended Lunge: Position one foot in the foot cradles while positioning your leg/body approximately 3 feet from the anchor point and balancing on the opposite leg. Slowly descend into a lunge by actively reaching back with your suspended leg while simultaneously bending your balancing leg until you reach a 90-degree bend at your knee. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions before switching sides.

Note: If you have balance issues, modify by using a dowel rod for balance assistance. Also, this exercise can be replicated by holding the handles instead.

Hip Press: Position your heels in the foot cradles and lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Contract your abs and slowly lift your hips off the ground until you are fully extended. Pause for 2 seconds and slowly lower yourself back onto the mat. Repeat this move for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Body Saw: Position your feet deep into the foot cradles, toes first, while lying face down and resting on your forearms. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle with your hands clasped together. Engage your abs and slowly rise into a plank position. Using your arms, slowly rock your body back and forth as if you are sawing wood and maintain good alignment. Repeat this move for a total of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Note: As a prerequisite, you should be able to hold a plank position for 1 minute prior to trying this exercise. The Body Saw can also be performed from the knees as a modification.

Chest Press: Stand facing away from the suspension straps with your arms fully extended at chest level. Your body should be angled approximately 45 to 60 degrees relative to the floor, and your arms should be slightly shoulder-width apart. Maintaining alignment and control, contract your abs and slowly lower your body toward your hands until the handles are even with your chest and your arms bent at 90 degrees (just like a pushup). Press yourself back into the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Note: For more challenge, angle your body closer to the floor.

Row: Stand facing the anchor point with your arms fully extended at chest level. Your body should be angled approximately 45 to 60 degrees relative to the floor, and your arms should be shoulder-width apart. Maintaining alignment and control, contract your abs and slowly pull your body toward your hands until the handles are even with your chest and your arms bent at 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.

Note: For more challenge angle your body closer to the floor.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Champion Fitness Training in Meridian, has more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at championfit@live.com or championfit.net.

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