New Rarely Equals Better

Homemade Suspension Trainer

Earlier this week, I shared a short video of a homemade suspension trainer that I made many years ago. After posting the clip, I was surprised at how many comments and views it received. After all, my suspension trainer is an old piece of equipment that’s been featured on this site several times before.

For example, here’s the exact tool from a 2010 post.

The suspension trainer is nothing but an inexpensive pair of cam buckle straps and playground ring handles. It’s nothing fancy, but it is still going strong and gets the job done. And the fact that it can still attract some attention is refreshing in an industry that always seems to be pushing something new or different.

Same Sh*t, Different Decade

Although fitness trends seem to change faster than the seasons, my own approach to training has remained fairly constant over the years. Very little has changed. The suspension trainer serves as one of many examples. It worked for me 10+ years ago and continues to work for me today.

Once you find something that works, you don’t need to constantly seek out different methods. There’s something to be said for consistency with exercises that have proven useful and stood the test of time. For instance, suspension trainers may have gained popularity in the last 10 to 15 years, but the concept itself is everything but new.

1866 Suspension Training

In 1866, there was a book published (Athletic Sports For Boys) that featured a homemade suspension trainer. The image below comes from page 45 of the book.

Perhaps I’ll sound strange for saying it, but I think it’s neat to be working with a device that’s similar to what athletes were using 150 years ago. It was challenging then and in continues to be challenging today. Very little has changed in that regard.

Take Home Lesson

Believe it or not, I’m not writing this entry in hopes that everyone makes or purchases a suspension trainer. Instead, I’m using the tool to highlight the idea that effective forms of exercise are everything but new. And furthermore, when you find an exercise or tool that works, there’s no need to abandon it after a few months just because someone said you need variety.

As I’ve said before, adding variety to your routine doesn’t mean knocking everything down and starting from scratch. It’s possible to remain consistent with exercises that have proven beneficial, while including subtle forms of variety to prevent staleness.

Don’t Be Fooled

In today’s social media driven world, there’s plenty of online personalities who make a living by constantly pumping out new (or recycled) material. These so-called fitness celebrities often train no one but themselves. As a result, more and more exercises are being invented today than ever before. Thus, it’s important to understand that not all exercises have been devised with your well-being in mind. Plenty of movements have been created for no other reason but to satisfy the creator’s need to provide new content.

When it comes to exercise though, new rarely equals better. Regardless of your goals, there’s plenty of established exercises and routines that have already stood the test of time. And I don’t say this to suggest that there won’t be times when improvements can be made, but such occasions aren’t nearly as common as some would like you to believe.

Final Thoughts

In summary, when it comes to exercise selection, I’m a big believer in the idea that less can be more. I don’t need to perform countless exercises to be healthy and strong. I rarely stray too far from a handful of basic movements and tools that have served me well throughout my life. There’s no reason to fix something that isn’t broken.

So, while my old suspension trainer may seem archaic compared to many of the newer models, it works well for me. I’m not defined by the equipment. Instead, I define myself through the consistent effort that I apply to whatever exercise I perform. Hard work does not depend on a particular movement or tool. It’s up to the individual and can applied to almost anything.

Related Entries:


“Effort is between you and you.” – Ray Lewis


  1. I’ve noticed this a lot – especially recently; ‘5 minute fat-blasting cardio’, ‘jogging doesn’t work anymore, it’s all about HIIT’. NO.

    Granted, there may be new methods out today, but that doesn’t mean the old ones aren’t effective – the classics are classics for a reason. Love the post, mate.

  2. Great writing!
    I realized something similar in my social circles – while I started out with a set of dumbells and added expanders (during studies I took some internships, traveled around a lot, needed something light but effective), some of my friends went through the whole “no pain, no gain – max weights!” phase, followed by calisthenics and crossfit, just to realize that they don’t stick around long enough to see actual results…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *