By Dr. Kyla Nelson, DC & Acupuncture Provider

Once it (finally) starts warming up this spring, a great way to workout outside is by using a suspension trainer (i.e. the WOSS suspension trainer).   It’s a great way to incorporate both resistance and cardiovascular activity into an exercise session, while enjoying the outdoors. 

Benefits of the Suspension Trainer

  • Great core workout

Your core is engaged in almost every exercise that you perform on the suspension trainer. This is because the unstable surface forces our bodies to increase torso muscle activity to “maintain a straight body position” (3). Therefore, you’ll get a great core workout, without necessarily performing a ton of traditional abdominal exercises.

  • Low Back Rehabilitation

Core stability exercises are one of the most commonly prescribed exercises for individuals with low back pain. Recent research has shown that “core stability exercises are found to be more effective when performed with an instability device such as suspension traps” (2). Furthermore, even though the core activation was higher, the spinal compression was not significantly higher for most exercises.

There were a few exercises, such as the standard push-up that were shown to increase spinal compression, however for an individual with a healthy low back this should not be a concern (3). Those who are pre-disposed to low back pain should sit down with a health practitioner and discuss which exercises may aggravate their condition based on their history and fitness goals.

  • Functional exercise for any age group

As we age we will all begin to notice drops in strength, balance issues and mobility declines. Recent research has begun focussing on the importance of functional exercise programs – that being exercises that are tailored to be similar to our daily movements (i.e. the squat). Suspension training is a great workout option for people of any age group, as it is a form of functional training that can easily be altered to meet the physical demands of each individual.

Studies have demonstrated that by following a functional training program individuals have experienced significant improvements such as improved stair climbing, increased walking speeds and improved reaction times, when compared to those individuals who performed traditional weight-machine exercises (4).

  • Improved Sports Performance

It’s been shown that having a strong core can lead to a “greater transfer of power to limbs during functional movements” (5). This will help the athlete work as one “functional unit” helping them increase their speed, strength and coordination, as well as provide spinal protection (5).

  • Constantly changing work-outs

It can get easily get boring when it comes to exercising and the suspension trainer can help prevent this. The possibilities are endless when it comes to exercising with a suspension trainer. You can workout in a park, in your basement or at a basketball court. You can even incorporate a partner workout where one of you is running a sprint, while another is performing an exercise! Plus with a little online research you will find that there are tons of exercises to choose from!

Overall, the suspension trainer is a great workout tool. A good option is the WOSS Suspension Trainer (retails approximately $30.00). With any new workout program, if you have any questions, concerns or want to discuss which exercises are best for you please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at or 905-853-7900.

  1. Dudgeon, Wesley D., et al. “Physiologic and Metabolic Effects of a Suspension Training Workout.” International Journal of Sports Science2 (2015): 65-72.
  2. Fong, Shirley SM, et al. “Core muscle activity during TRX. suspension exercises with and without kinesiology taping in adults with chronic low back pain: implications for rehabilitation.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2015).
  3. McGill, Stuart M., Jordan Cannon, and Jordan T. Andersen. “Analysis of pushing exercises: Muscle activity and spine load while contrasting techniques on stable surfaces with a labile suspension strap training system.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research1 (2014): 105-116.
  4. Gaedtke, Angus, and Tobias Morat. “TRX Suspension Training: A New Functional Training Approach For Older Adults-Development, Training Control And Feasibility.” International Journal of Exercise Science3 (2015): 3.
  5. Snarr, Ronald L., et al. “Electromyographic activity of rectus abdominis during a suspension push-up compared to traditional exercises.” J Exer Phys online3 (2013): 1-8.

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