Suspension Training and Simplicity

Suspension trainer workout

Following my last entry, I had several people ask to see additional exercises that can be performed with a suspension trainer. With that in mind, I put together a short clip showing some of my favorite movements. As you’ll see, I included a mix of push, pull, and core exercises. I also added a weighted vest, which isn’t necessary, but offers a convenient way to increase the difficulty of any bodyweight exercise.

Suspension Trainer Exercises

As you can see, you don’t need an elaborate gym to achieve a quality workout. My suspension trainer is nothing but a pair of cam buckle straps and playground ring handles. And while commercial options do exist (see here), it’s important to recognize that you can do quite well with an inexpensive pair like mine. I’ve used the same straps and handles for many years and they are still as good as new.

Less Is More

Aside from sharing some of my favorite exercises, I believe there is a more important lesson to convey. As I’ve said before, you don’t need an endless list of movements to develop strength. Using the video above as an example, I only needed 60 seconds to demonstrate the majority of suspension training exercises that we perform.

I’m not suggesting that there aren’t other useful options available, but instead highlighting the fact that I don’t need to perform every exercise in the world to improve. I can do quite well by working with a smaller group of exercises. And while such advice might sound obvious, I believe it is a message that does not get enough attention in today’s world.

It’s much more common for online sources to strive to provide an endless supply of fresh content. From a training standpoint, that often means new and different exercises. Meanwhile, I continue to perform the same movements that I demonstrated many years ago (ex. here and here). Yet, my so-called lack of variety has not hindered me at all. On the contrary, I never spread myself too thin by trying to keep up with every possible movement under the sun.

Beyond Suspension Training

Furthermore, the idea that less can be more is not specific to suspension training. The general premise can be applied to any training modality. For example, suppose one athlete performs 3 barbell lifts for 6 months (squat, bench, deadlift), while another tries to include 50 different barbell exercises over the same period. Who do you think will be stronger?

My money will be on the individual who didn’t spread himself too thin, but instead worked hard with a few exercises that have stood the test of time. Once again, less can be more. It is impossible to include every useful exercise in a training program.

Unfortunately, many athletes and coaches struggle to accept this fact. They try to fit everything into a program, and then wonder why they aren’t making meaningful progress with any particular exercise. The answer to that question is obvious. Their quest to perform every quality movement doesn’t allow them to invest enough time towards improving at any individual task.

Final Thoughts

I may sound like a broken record, but I hope my own example can help some readers to understand that you can do well without constantly changing how you train. Once you find something that works, you can ride it out for as long as you’d like.

Naturally, the time may come when you wish to mix things up to prevent boredom, but doing so doesn’t require that you knock everything down and start from scratch. A few subtle adjustments here and there are typically all that’s necessary to spice things up without veering off track.

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“Every man is the son of his actions.” – Spanish proverb

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  1. Great post! While reading, I found myself recalling a Bruce Lee quote and a rhetorical question Mike Mentzer asked his audience during a seminar, respectively:

    “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”.

    “Yes, there are hundreds of exercises you could do, but where do you draw the line?”

  2. Hi Ross, the message will never become redundant.The basics will never let you down, less can most certainly turn out to be more.

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