Changing Resistance Levels on a Suspension Trainer

When using a suspension trainer, you can change resistance to increase or decrease difficulty of any given movement by changing your body position. This allows you to easily modify exercises. It also allow you to tailor workouts to your fitness level and challenge you appropriately. We will show you how to do this by increasing and decreasing both the resistance and the stability of the movements you perform standing up.  Finally, we will talk about how to modify the difficulty level of movements you perform from the ground position.

Changing the resistance levels from the standing position

Most movements will have you starting in a standing position. From this position, you can use the angles of your body position to load varying percentages of your body weight onto the straps. This allows a beginner to safely and easily make adjustments to find their starting point. It also allows  a more experienced user to perform drop sets of varying resistance without interruption.  In addition, it allows several users of various abilities to do the same workout together, yet perform all the movements at their individual levels of resistance.  Pretty cool.  There is no need to take off or put on weight plates, mess with machines or trade in dumbbells.   You are able to make these changes quickly and even mid-set if needed.

To the right is an example of two levels of resistance during a Suspended Push Up.   The more upright you are, the more body-weight you are supporting with your legs, and not having to push with your arms.  If you want more resistance, simply step back further to load more weight onto the straps. All the angles in between the hardest (most horizontal), and the easiest (most upright,) can be used to load any desired amount of weight onto the straps.  You can even change resistance mid-set!




To the left that is an example demonstrating the same concepts during a rowing (pulling) exercise.  The further you step underneath the straps, the more weight is hanging on the straps that you will have to pull up during the movement

Changing the resistance level from the ground position

You can adjusting the resistance to some degree from the ground based position by  changing where you are in relation to the point directly underneath the anchor. See the following photos for a clarification on examples of this. When you are doing movements with your feet in the cradles you can use your position relative to the center spot right under the anchor, and gravity, to add or reduce resistance. Neutral is right under the anchor point, as shown in the top pic below.  Moving out so your starting position is in front of the anchor point will start the movement at a higher level of resistance. You will be pulling against gravity during the movement, making it harder, as shown in bottom pic below.


Changing the Level of Stability By Changing your Foot Stance 

The instability of suspension training is much of what makes it so highly functional and relevant to everyday movements. Stability can be added or taken away depending on where your feet are during your standing position.  If you are a novice suspension training user, start with the most stable foot position until you feel comfortable with the movement.


Wide base of support: Stability is maximized with a broad base of support and your center of gravity in the middle of that base.  You will be more stable with a wide stance than a narrow stance, because you will have a wider base of support.


Narrow your support base when using a suspension trainer. Decrease the stability of your stance by bringing your feet closer together to create a narrow stance. Step it up even more by doing the exercise on just one foot. This will decrease the width of the base you are starting on, and if on one leg will give the body a more asymmetrical load and will force the body to work harder to create stability.


Offset stance.  An offset stance allows you to have more stability and be able to shift weight forward and back during the movement.  It’s a convenient way to “self spot”  when performing movements with tougher angles.  A longer offset position
will provide more stability than a shorter one. As with the narrow and wide foot positions shown above, you can adjust your foot placement as needed before or during the movement.