Effectiveness of Suspension Training
In recent years, the popularity of suspension training systems has grown, substantially. In my experience as a strength and conditioning coach, suspension training systems have been a valuable tool in training clients, particularly those with little or no workout experience, and those with physical limitations. However, much like most other fitness training tools, the effectiveness of suspension training systems depends on the individual’s desired fitness goals.
So, what does this mean for you? If you are looking to increase strength, suspension training may not be the right tool. In a recent study published by the European Journal of Sports Science (“The acute effects of bodyweight suspension exercise on muscle activation and muscular fatigue”), comparisons between weighted workouts using barbells and suspension training were conducted, in which suspension training demonstrated a “decline in resistance load throughout the concentric phase” and weighted workouts “elicited higher mean resistance loads”. In other words, in the study, participants strictly using suspension training tools had a slightly lower amount of weight they could lift compared to those using traditional weighted workouts.
However, such results from studies like this does not mean that individuals should avoid suspension training, altogether, including those that seek to increase strength. Suspension training devices have been shown to be effective tools to improve stabilizing muscles, which can be helpful to decrease the likelihood of injury when lifting heavy weights.
In the end, suspension training is best used as a supplement to one’s training program. Using this alone, one may realize a decrease in strength, but using it along with weight training, suspension training may improve positive results and decrease the risk of injury. Along with any other piece of workout equipment, if you have no prior experience with suspension training, it is highly recommended to train under the close supervision of a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with extensive experience with suspension training.