As a personal trainer, either an online personal trainer or in-person personal trainer, you're always going to be looking for new exercises to use with your clients. If you are using online personal training software or remote personal training software you need exercises that can be safely incorporated via video, but that are still effective for your clients. That's where suspension training comes in. Suspension training is a methodology that requires a person to use his or her own bodyweight as resistance. By varying the angles that various exercises are performed at, an individual has the ability to increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise. This ability to vary the difficulty of the exercise is one of the main differentiators between a suspension exercise like the suspension push-press and its equivalent body-weight exercise, the push-up. Here, we are going to focus on the suspension row, which is an excellent exercise to teach clients of almost any experience or strength level.
First, watch our suspension row tutorial here:
Rows are an excellent exercise for developing overall fitness. Specifically, this suspension trainer row works the muscles of your middle back, biceps, and core. To perform this suspension trainer exercise, grasp the handles, take a step back to remove the slack in the bands, and then let yourself back by extending your arms. While descending, be sure to keep your head straight, back flat, and chest up. Once you have reached full extension at the elbows, pause briefly, then begin the concentric portion of the exercise by pulling yourself back up. That's one rep.
The suspension row offers a body-weight alternative to exercises such as the bent barbell or dumbbell row, cable row, or T-bar row. While these exercises are all excellent ways to strengthen the muscles of the middle back, they may be too advanced for many clients. Additionally, the suspension row places more of an emphasis on balance and core stability. However, unlike the pull-up, the suspension row offers a way to decrease the intensity or difficulty of the exercise, making it inclusive even to new and inexperienced clients.
To perform the suspension row, first, adjust the suspension trainer to a medium length. Have your client grasp the handles and take a step back until the slack is out of the bands. For the client’s first rep, have them move their feet back only slightly, reducing the resistance of the exercise. Have your clients extend their arms out, slowly letting themselves back. Make sure that your client keeps their back flat, head straight, and chest up throughout the exercise. Once your client has reached full extension at the elbow, have them ascend back to the starting point by pulling themselves back up. Here, be sure to have your clients keep their elbows into their sides; they are free to rotate the handles throughout the exercise if that is more comfortable on their wrists, but keep in mind for programming that rotation may shift more resistance to or from the biceps. As your client becomes more proficient in the exercise, have them take a step forward toward the suspension apparatus, thus increasing the resistance of the exercise. In sets of 8 – 12 reps, have your client take a step back as they begin to fail in the higher reps, which reduces the resistance and allows them to complete the specified number of reps in that set.
Suspension training is one of my personal favorite modalities because it is applicable across any strength, skill, or experience level. Most people can benefit from incorporating suspension training into their workout; as always, master your form first, then add intensity.