These 10 exercises are large muscle movements designed to workout the entire upper body.
- Push-Ups - on floor with grip handles, focus on pushing hands towards each other, compressing chest throughout movement
- Back Row - full range, from face/head to kidneys
- Chest Press - full range, pushing up and out for upper chest, middle and low angles to work the muscle throughout
- Choose (one per round):
- Torso Twist - face anchor point and adjust foot positioning load
- Power Pull - staggered descending repetition: 3 left, 3 right, 2 left, 2 right, …
- Plank - with feet in stirrups, hold plank center, shift left, shift right (with goal of single arm side plank someday)
- Chest Fly - multiple angles, from tall Y to a low T
- Back Fly - multiple angles, from tall Y to a low T
- Triceps Extension - from above head (“hammer toss”) and from the ears/shoulders
- Bicep Curl - with wrists rotated in, out and clutched together
I perform each exercise for ~1 minute based on muscle fatique and move directly to the next with no break. The routine is designed to allow the most recently used muscle to recover while doing the next in, a sort of circuit training. I usually repeat the routine twice but sometimes I’ll add a 3rd, bonus round.
I Move Freely and Do Not Anchor My Feet
I move my feet away from or towards the suspension point to decrease or increase muscle load, respectively. This is most obvious in the Chest Fly because I like to get a deep stretch in at the top of the motion but it can put an excessive load on your rotator cuff tendon, so I step into the stretch to lighten the load.
I do this to lesser degrees on other exercises as well, often leaving one foot anchored while the other moves to optimize the load throughout the movement. It becomes a slow dance from left to right on each repetition.
Suspension Straps Don’t Have Numbers
Using freeweights you can easily say “I bench press 200 pounds” but using suspension straps has no such simplistic goal.
Why’s that good?
Because, I cannot compare nor compete with a number. It’s not that numbers are bad but without numbers it’s all about how it feels. Too much load? Lighten it. Too easy? Step toward the suspension point. The goal becomes complete muscle fatique then move to the next exercise.
My suspension straps have provided me a few hundred upper body workouts. They’re relatively cheap, lightweight, easy to travel with and can provide resistance at a variety of angles and loads based on foot placement.
My upper body isn’t bulky, I’m not swoll. I feel healthy, strong and genuinely feel good most days. Most days I’m also a little sore from the last workout but not in a painful way, more of a healthy body awareness way that leads to stretching throughout the day.
I owned a set of suspension straps well before the pandemic thinking them to be a great option but am ultimately glad I gave them a chance. They are a great option for limited space, really opening up how you can work out. It provides another dimension to use many muscles throughout their range of motion.