While suspension training is not the newest innovation in fitness anymore, it is a method of training which is often dismissed due to its simplistic appearance or unorthodox technique. In any gym you go to, be it one for the everyday civilian or at a Premier League training ground, you will find a range of suspension training of some sort.
What really sets suspension training apart from its counterparts is the fact you can perform 300 – 400 exercises with the equipment. Athletes use their own bodyweight as a training aid to develop lean muscle, better balance, more fluid movement patterns and a multifaceted style of fitness which is ideally suited to the high-octane demands of English football.
Suspension training is so popular because it develops ‘functional fitness’ which is a more practical method of fitness that prepares muscles and joints for the challenges a football match will present them. Using your own body weight to build strength, rather than addition weights, mirrors the physical demands of a game.
A player’s balance, coordination and joint stability is also developed in unison and the risk of sustaining an injury is also reduced. Suspension training really trains the part of the body which are going to be most used throughout a football match.
Here are three key exercises to do when using suspension training:
- Crossover Balance Lunges: Adjust the straps to chest height and grab both handles. Place one foot on the ground and raise your opposite leg in front of you until your knee is parallel to your hip. Lower yourself down with your working leg extended out in front of you. Slowly rise up again, then lower your working leg behind you, crossing behind the knee of your stationary leg. Your knee should finish behind the ankle of your stationary leg, but not touch the floor. Drive back up to the start. (x10 reps each leg)
- Hamstring Curls: Adjust the straps to calf height and lie on your back with both heels in the foot cradles. Keeping your back straight and your core tight, raise your hips off the ground and pull your legs upwards until your heels are almost touching your buttocks. Extend your legs out again and repeat (x20 reps)
- Mountain Climbers: With the straps positioned at calf height, place your toes in the foot cradles and adopt a press-up position. Keeping your hips elevated, lift your right knee up to your chest. As you lower your right knee back down, raise your left knee to your chest, and repeat the sequence throughout. (x 60 secs)