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Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 3:32 pm
by Massimo Kokhno
I made a video of my first implementation of this idea:


Detailed Reddit post here.

I got the idea from the "pull up & dip" bar that stays attached to trees or poles with the friction of a tight strap.

For now my simplest implementation is using two lashing straps with a cam buckle, each has a workload of 250kg/550lbs and probably costs around $2.50 in a hardware store. Grip can be uncomfortable with the straps alone, I solved the problem with my gymnastic rings, but an improvised solution is cutting some pvc pipe to get some handles and sanding the edges to avoid fraying the straps.

This is already a very cheap and compact solution, and a pvc handle or ring can also be used as a door anchor on doors that can support the load. The question is about possible improvements to the setups.

One of the concrete poles I tried this on had some rough parts, and after testing some exercises a bit of wear on the inside of the tightened strap was visible. Looks like the "pull up & dip product" solves this by having a layer of soft material between the strap and surface. An improvised solution might be a towel, but I haven't tested this.

I did not notice any wear from using this on a metal pole, which was also smooth enough to allow normal pull ups instead of having the feet in a cat hang position.

Also I'm thinking about progressions. For vertical pulling, the hardest that comes to mind are normal one arm pull ups if the surface is smooth, while the cat hang version is at least a bit easier if the feet have good grip.

For horizontal pulling, one arm inverted rows with the feet elevated and pulling towards the waist instead of chest. Though front lever rows might work with the body next to the vertical object, similar to a front lever rope climb.

Nordic curls can be comfortably done with one leg eventually, even on a declined surface, for example at the base of a tree on a hill. But I don't know what would be a cheap and compact solution for knee padding that works even for the most sensitive knees, that's an unsolved problem for me. I doubt it could be as compact as the straps + handles. Maybe some kind of foldable mat would be good, since it has more uses than just knee padding so it could fit the idea of traveling around the world with only a backpack of essential stuff.

These are my ideas for now, I think this thing has great potential for always having good training

Re: Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 4:33 pm
by Against Gravity
I love this kind of minimalistic setups. It's like a way to guarantee that no matter what life circumstances we're in - there's always an opportunity to train hard & effectively!

Are you going to use it as the main training tool from now on, or just when (if) in the future you don't have access to your current equipment?
Cool video, by the way

Re: Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:41 am
by Massimo Kokhno
Thank you, I think I'll keep training at home as before, but it's one more tool I can use if I want to train anywhere else, and I'll keep thinking about more options to always have effective training tools in as many circumstances as possible.

Re: Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:54 pm
by Against Gravity
Massimo Kokhno wrote: Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:41 am Thank you, I think I'll keep training at home as before, but it's one more tool I can use if I want to train anywhere else, and I'll keep thinking about more options to always have effective training tools in as many circumstances as possible.
I like that 'external pessimism, internal optimism' mindset (preparing contingency plans for the worst circumstances) - I think it's the equivalent of physical strength for the mind. Thinking that way, not even a worldwide apocalypse would stop you from training! (or anything else you apply that mindset to)

Regarding the upper body, I'd find that device especially useful for bicep-engaging pulling exercises (OAC progressions), when not having a pullup bar or a solid tree' branch to hang rings. For pushing exercises and tricep-engaging pulling exercises, I think the floor is enough: bridge pushups, HeSPU progressions, planche push-up progressions & V-sit/manna progressions. The latter would take care of core as well.

Regarding the lower body, rough surfaces would be enough for friction pistol squats, but that device would be good for GHR & maintain a healthy quad-to-ham strength ratio. So again, key for pulling.

So I'd definitely use that device for OAC & GHR, and probably some OA rows and ITY raises as a finisher for shoulder health.

Re: Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:31 am
by Massimo Kokhno
That's more or less what I was thinking, about figuring out options to adapt to any amount of available equipment, starting from just the floor which has good long term options (one arm planche push up, one arm handstand push up, one arm sliding pull over for vertical pulling, forearm Victorian cross and reverse planche for horizontal pulling, one leg sissy squat and natural one leg extension, sliding one leg glute bridge curl), and with a place to attach straps you get the normal pull up and row and Nordic curl progression options, and isolation for the biceps or rotator cuff if you want.

Re: Cheap suspension trainer, pulling strength almost anywhere.

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:06 pm
by Vagabond
I love the idea, Massimo! Thank you so much for sharing it! I'll definitely borrow some of your ideas in the future!