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What is suspension training?

Hadyn Luke posted this on Wednesday 14th of May 2014 Hadyn Luke 14/05/2014

Tags: Training methods


Suspension training, the subject of this blog, has become more and more popular in recent times and today most personal trainers will have used it with clients in a gym environment.

Also known as TRX training, after the brand name of equipment, suspension training is a form of resistance training using bodyweight and gravity.

Where did the idea for suspension training come from?

TRX (Total Resistance eXercise) training was developed in the 1990s by an American, Randy Hetrick who had formerly been a US Navy SEAL – known for their gruelling training regimes.

Prior to this time, personal trainers sometimes used gymnastic rings to carry out similar training with their clients; however, the TRX and other systems have additional features such as feet holds and different attachments and options for adjusting the equipment.

What kind of equipment is needed?

Essentially, suspension training is carried out using bands or ropes that hang from a frame or bar. Within the sector there are several brands producing equipment as well as TRX.

Because it uses the individual’s bodyweight, suspension training can offer real results without the cost of expensive machinery. In fact, its simplicity is one of its selling points.

What are the benefits of suspension training?

As well as burning fat and building muscle, one of the key benefits of suspension training is that the client will get a total, multi-planar body workout, using compound muscle groups, as opposed to only isolation exercises.

The personal trainer will find that because the client can progress quickly and see immediate benefits, they are more likely to remain motivated.

Suspension training is also a useful tool for a personal trainer to offer if they have a client who is bored of the usual strength training tools, such as weights.

Other benefits of suspension training are:

  • It increases muscular endurance
  • It helps with balance and co-ordination
  • There are a lot of different adaptions suitable for a range of fitness levels
  • There is no expensive machinery required and it can be set up outside a gym environment
  • It offers clear progression and fast results
  • There is an extensive range of exercises that can be carried out
  • Exercises used such as the lunge, the press or the squat will be familiar to the client, but suspension training can offer an additional range of difficulty

Suspension training as functional training

Because it is a form of function training (see our blog on Functional training – a new tool for fitness professionals), suspension training can help an individual perform everyday activities better, enhancing their quality of life.

Who can use suspension training?

Many top athletes and sports people incorporate suspension training as part of their training regime.

While those who work out regularly with a personal trainer will have no problem with the exercises used in suspension training, as an activity, it requires a strong core. A fitness instructor would therefore usually recommend that less experienced clients should start by training their core through other forms of exercise before progressing on to suspension training.

A starting point would be for the personal trainer to work with the client until they can effectively carry out planks or other more dynamic core exercises (see our blogs on Defining core strength and Personal training: Exercises for the core).

Once the client has mastered the basics of suspension training with their body at a shallow angle, they can increase the angle to provide a more challenging work out and further train the core.

Who can teach suspension training?

Because the exercises can be quite advanced, a personal trainer should have a TRX suspension training qualification to be able to teach it. As a specially trained professional, the fitness instructor will be able to teach classes and incorporate it into one-to-one sessions with clients.


Before a client starts to use suspension training equipment, a personal trainer should always assess the client’s fitness levels and ability to carry out the exercise (see our blog on The importance of fitness testing).

Keep checking back on our Courses pages, as CMS are currently looking into the option of providing Suspension Training courses for personal trainers.

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