DIY suspension straps
IntroSuspension Training is a registered trade and service mark of Fitness Anywhere, LLC. Their TRX Suspension Straps are heavy-grade and expensive. However, relatively inexpensive suspension training straps can be found online, or you may make your own set inexpensively.
What is Suspension TrainingSuspension training is a method of resistance fitness training that uses a system of ropes or straps to allow users to work against their body weight using a variety of multi-planar, compound exercise movements that develop strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously. Suspension Training, the TRX suspension equipment, and the associated exercises were developed in the 1990s by Randy Hetrick, a former Navy Seal and a Stanford MBA graduate; he began marketing them in 2005.
A rival product, InkaFlexx, was developed about the same time by Kurt Dasbach, a former professional soccer player in Chile. While he was playing in South America, he discovered an ancient Andean conditioning system that uses suspension ropes and he developed InkaFlexx based upon it. Unfortunately, the product failed in the marketplace.
Pros of the systemBecause of its demands on the body core, Suspension Training essentially turns every movement into a total-body movement, thus reducing the chance of injury. Because of increased muscular demand, Suspension Training increases caloric demand making it an effective tool for weight-loss. A benefit of Suspension Training is that the equipment is light, compact, portable, and may be hung from any support capable of safely supporting your body weight, including attaching it over the top of a room door. Suspension Training is used by military personnel because of its portability, ease of use, and results.
Cons of the systemSome sports scientists have expressed concern that weaker users may not have the core stability or joint integrity to use the system safely and effectively. A major problem with Suspension Training is the cost of the relatively simple suspension training device and their accompanying training programs and accessories. The TRX device costs over $200 and the InkaFlexx (while it existed) cost even more.
Make a set of suspension straps yourselfNo need to spend a lot of money to stay fit. It is easy to construct your own suspension training straps in less than 30 minutes that function just as well as the commercial ones, and the total system cost less than $20. Also, if you do like using the straps or no longer use them, the parts may be easily dismantled and used for other purposes. If you find that you use the straps a lot, want them to look classy, and don't mind spending $200 to fit in with the crowd, you can always buy a commercial set.
- Some type of hand saw.
- Straps. Three (3) straps that are used for strapping down crates during shipment. They should be rated for a working load that meets or exceeds your body weight. I used straps with a 750-pound working load (gives you a large safety margin) I obtained from a Harbor Freight store (2-pair at $4 a pair).
- VC conduit. Eighteen (18) inches of 3/4" PVC conduit. I got mine from a Lowes Home Improvement store for $1 for 5 feet.
- Connection device. You can use a 1/4" Quick Link from Lowes. I used 2 "D" Rings I obtained from Harbor Freight for $3. Whatever device you use, it must have a working load that meets or exceeds your body weight.
- 3/4" friction tape. A 60' roll from Lowes costs less than $2.
- Quick links. Two (2) 1/8" Quick Links from Lowes cost less than $4.
ConstructionThe final mechanism will resemble an upside-down "Y" with one upper support strap and two straps with handles hanging from it.
- Construct the tubes
- Saw three-six (6) inch long tubes from the conduit. Rub ends of the tubes around on a concrete floor to smooth them.
- Wrap friction tape around two of the tubes to make two (2) non-slip handles.
- The third tube will be used as a doorstop for the support strap.
- Construct the handle straps
- Cut about five (5) feet off the end of one of the moving straps.
- Thread one strap through the connection device, through a taped handle tube, and through the strap's clamping mechanism. Pull the two sides of the strap together just above the handle and attach a 1/8" Quick Link around both to hold the two sides of the strap together for ease of use.
- Thread the 5-foot piece you cut off the strap through the handle and tie the ends together using a Sheet Bend knot (search web for directions on tying the knot) to form a loop to use to place a foot into when doing certain exercises. Cut the excess off the ends of the foot loop and pull an end of the loop until the knot is located inside the tube.
- To form the other handle strap, perform the above steps again using another moving strap.
- Construct the support strap
- Thread the last moving strap through the connection device, through the remaining un-taped tube, and through the strap's clamping mechanism.
- You may cut the strap to a suitable length that works work with your attachment point, or you may leave it long so it may be used with a variety of attachment points.
- Use a flame to melt cut ends of the strap to prevent fraying.
- Use a cable tie to secure the extra length of the support strap.
- Completed. You have now completed the construction of the suspension straps.
Using the device
- Attach the support strap
- Attach the support strap to a suitable attachment point that will support your body weight. Choose the attachment point carefully since there will be a lot of force applied where the strap attaches to an object. With the extra length of the support strap, it may be adjusted to attach it to almost anything, such as a tree limb, building, or a vehicle.
- To use over a door, slip the doorstop tube over the top of a strong door from the side of the door facing the door frame and close the door with the support strap hanging downward. The tube will keep the strap anchored, spread the force over a larger area, and help protect the door and door frame from damage.
- Adjust the handle straps
- odjust the support strap length for the exercise being performed.
- Adjust the length of handle straps to make them equal in length. You will rarely need to adjust them again.
ExercisesSearch the web or YouTube for "suspension training" or "TRX suspension training" to find videos describing how to train using suspension straps.
|Door mount end|
|Middle connection point|
|Mounted on a door for use|