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Gym Fitness

Do Suspension Training Workouts Build Muscle?

Have you been wondering, “Do suspension training workouts build muscle?” Find the answer to this question and more here!

Published: 11/4/19

Do Suspension Training Workouts Build Muscle?

Suspension training, or TRX training, is training that causes you to suspend from a rope, challenging your body to keep you stabilized. And, while these exercises may look easy, they pack a big punch when it comes to building muscle. This style of resistance training was invented by a Navy Seal who needed to take his workouts wherever he went. He used his belts to perform push-ups, crunches, chest workouts, leg workouts, working his entire body, and would eventually patent the TRX. Now, TRX is a well-known gym staple, and we are happy to have them in our clubs for their diverse benefits. But, do suspension training workouts build muscle? Let’s dive into that now. 

Suspension Training Systems vs. Machines

When it comes to working out to build muscle, first you need to assess your goals. Are you looking to bulk up, gain strength, or something in between? The reason that it is essential to figure out your goals before starting a routine is that each piece of exercise equipment in the gym does something different for you. And that is true for suspension training vs. machines as well. While you do build muscle with suspension training (especially muscles in your core), you are limited to the weight of your body to build that strength. A suspension trainer (cables) hang from the wall, and then you hold on to them either with your hands or feet through the loops and perform your desired suspension training workout. With machines, your range of motion is not as great, but you can add more weight as you get stronger, leaving you a lot of room to grow your muscles. One article goes through a gentleman’s experience using TRX and why he ended up ditching machines altogether. You can find that here. Many studies have shown that the TRX forces you to engage more muscles than you would with a regular workout, especially the push-up. And, with the benefits of engaging your core every time, and its compactness and diversity, it may just be the only tool you need in the gym.

Change Your Stance

Now, you do need to work a little bit to challenge yourself during suspension training. Once you gain muscle, you may start to find some exercises fairly easy (look at you go!). However, the key here is to adjust your stance as the exercises get easier to test your balance even more and make the exercises more difficult. For example, let’s go through what it would be like to do a suspension training chest workout: 

  1. To begin, grab the TRX ropes and allow them to pull taught with your arms reached out in front of you. 
  2. Scoot your feet about a foot in front of you if you can and allow yourself to lean back, using the ropes as stabilization. 
  3. Pull your body forward by pulling your arms back, ending with your shoulder blades pinched together, and your hands holding the ropes on either side of your chest. 
  4. Return to the start position. 

Now, was that easy or hard? If it was easy, try this: 

  1. To begin, grab the TRX ropes and allow them to pull taught with your arms reached out in front of you. 
  2. Scoot your feet about two feet in front of you and lean back, using the ropes as stabilization. 
  3. Pull your body forward by pulling your arms back, ending with your shoulder blades pinched together, and your hands holding the ropes on either side of your chest. 
  4. Return to start position. 

Was that easier or harder? If you thought that was more difficult, you are correct! By testing your stabilization even more, and giving yourself less footing for the beginning of the exercise, you were forced to pull more of your weight and engage your core muscles even more. For this reason, the suspension ropes are a great way to build lean muscle.

What Is The Best Way To Strength Train

When it comes to any exercise, do what you love. We can’t get enough of the TRX ropes because you can use these guys for squat jumps, cable rows, lunges, push-ups, chest flies, and everything in between. But, if you prefer the free weights or the strength machines—do those. Just be sure to keep your exercises exciting and try something new from time to time. You don’t want to burn yourself out by doing the same exercises every day. After all, variety is the spice of life!

If you’re going to give this whole suspension training for muscle building a try, stop by any of our locations. We would be happy to show you around and introduce you to the suspension ropes. You can even join in on a Team Training class where, from time-to-time, in the strength section, we use suspension training to get a fantastic workout. Stop into a location near you and check it out!