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March 5, 2014 | Fitnovatives Blog

4 Suspension Training Sins

They are present in almost every gym, athletic training center and studio around the world, but it is not uncommon to see many people using suspension trainers improperly. TRX is the leader in suspension-training education and we always encourage trainers and instructors to go through at least one of our qualification courses to not only learn a broad range of exercises, but also how to make suspension training safe and effective for all populations.

Quality of movement is what we strive for, which can deteriorate if somebody begins with an exercise they are not ready for, chooses a progression that is too advanced or pushes reps beyond failure. Avoid these four sins when working with your clients and teaching your classes, so everyone can safely reach their fitness goals!

1. Sagging

TRX Technique

On occasion I hear people complain that suspension training hurts their lower back. One hundred percent of the time, when I have evaluated their form during exercise, the pain was caused by not maintaining a solid plank throughout movements. If the hips are allowed to sag while in suspension or during any other exercise, pressure will be placed on the lumbar spine, which will lead to back pain. If your client can’t keep his hips from sagging, instruct him to change his angle or increase his base of support to make the exercise easier.

2. Not starting in the correct position

TRX Technique

Ensure your client is starting at an angle that is safe and doable for the exercise you have selected. Also, always begin shoulder exercises with an offset foot stance and at the end range of motion to maintain constant tension on the suspension trainer.

3. Scraping

TRX Technique

When struggling for stability, some people lower the straps so that they rub on the arms. Not only is this a form of cheating, but it can also be quite painful. To avoid scraping the straps on the arms, have your client slightly lift the hands up. If this cannot be done without sacrificing form (see: sagging) then change the angle or base of support to make the exercise easier.

4. Sawing

TRX Technique

This will lead to early wear and tear of your suspension trainer. To prevent the straps from sawing back and forth, have your client slow the movement down and put equal pressure into the foot cradles or handles.

If you’re interested in learning more about safe suspension training, check out the TRX education courses.

By Shana Verstegen

Shana is an American Council on Exercise and TRX Master Instructor and a six-time world champion lumberjack athlete. She also holds records as a collegiate pole vaulter and is a nationally ranked fitness competitor. She holds a degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is a certified personal trainer through ACE, NASM, and NFPT. The Fitness Director at Supreme Health and Fitness in Madison, Wis., Shana is also a highly accomplished coach across multiple disciplines. She has guided her lumberjack athletes and fitness competitors to world best performances and her collegiate track and field athletes hold many school records. An energetic and personable speaker, she is also the national spokesperson for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

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