Trees & TRX: Working Out at Home With a Suspension Strap System

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Let me begin by saying that this post and all my posts are not results of companies contacting me and saying "help us sell more." I created crushlife acres to share what works for me and what strategies I'm using to get complete projects, stay in shape, be a better dad. My goal is to give you valuable information so you can do the same, so you live more fully and CRUSHLIFE.

So here's where I'm at:

I recently cancelled my gym membership because they were forcing me to switch facilities and raising my rates. Quitting the gym was a huge deal to me personally. I've been exercising in traditional facilities for 20 years (time flies) and I've gotten great results...

I'm now 37 with 2 sets of young twins, I still have a 6-pack, I weigh less than I did in college and, most importantly, I have the physical strength, energy and stamina to put in a ton of manual labor on my farm and then run around with my kids or go play basketball afterwards.

I've decided to substitute my gym membership with multiple at-home strategies. One of those strategies is TRX-style, Suspension Strap training. I was ready for something different and since I cancelled, I've lost a few pounds and my body feels even better.

Picture of me staying fit, exercising at the hobby farm
Suspension Strap training with consistent doses of running and manual labor have me feeling great and ready for anything the farm will throw my way

If you've never heard of a TRX or Suspension Strap system, it is a body-weight based way to exercise. More specifically, it is 2 lengths of adjustable nylon straps with handles that are attached to a single anchor point and designed to maximize the potential of your body's weight. These straps give you the ability to adjust the amount of weight you're moving by adjusting the angle of your body. The other advantage to Suspension Strap training is the stability component that is added because your body is working independently on each half, this forces you to use your stabilizers to keep your body on plane, in-line and moving smoothly throughout the exercise.

If you hire a trainer at a modern gym, you can be confident that stabilizer training with the use of balance balls or exercises on one foot will be a big part of their program. Why is that?Because research shows that the training of stabilizing muscles leads to more functional movement and great overall strength. The forced connection between your muscles and your brain – which is working to keep you stable as your muscles complete the exercise – improves the "wiring" of your biomechanics. This helps with your balance, reaction time, accuracy of movement and the overall performance of your body. Good balance and bio

There are lots of TRX-style options out there, which one did I go with and why?

I purchased the set linked below because its every I needed and nothing I didn't. This set is quality and has worked great in the short time I've had it. It comes with the attachments for the traditional anchor point strategy as well as an attachment for using the system by attaching it to any standard door.

What did you use to anchor the Suspension Strap system?

I bought 4 sets of anchor rings very similar to the product linked below. The licensed anchors are $25-$35, I didn't want to spend that money on top of purchasing the Suspension Strap system, I mean, one of the reasons I cancelled my gym membership was to save money right?

This is an affordable anchor for suspension strap exercise systems.
Suspension strap anchor purchased at home depot for a couple of bucks.

The anchors linked below get great reviews on Amazon, you can also get a cheaper version home depot (pictured at right). I've attached 3 of these Everbilt anchors around my property so I can choose my workout location based on weather and desired exercise. Either of these will work great as long as you find a good stud, beam or tree to attach them to. (Please, please, please be careful about where you anchor these. Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable anchoring them to a stud in my house, I would use the door anchor strap that comes with the system before I would use a stud or ceiling beam).

Where does the TRX fit into you exercise strategy?

I would use two adjectives to describe TRX-style, Suspension Strap exercise in my life: Convenient & Supplemental. This style of exercise is convenient because it allows you put substantial load/resistance on your muscles without the use of weights, kettlebells, etc... and supplemental because there are muscle groups that are tough isolate with the TRX (shoulders, legs).

DIY suspension strap anchor point.
DIY anchor point with Qon Quill anchor strap weaved through. The 2 straps you use to complete exercises clip to this black strap below.

In short: I love that I can grab these straps, move them where I want, hook them up quickly and get a good pump with an added stability component very quickly, HOWEVER, I do not personally view Suspension Strap training as a daily fitness foundation. This is why I chose the lower cost system linked below. All I needed was the straps, I knew I could figure out the anchor myself and look online for information on exercises.

How do you specifically use Suspension Straps?

• Suspension straps are an outside fitness option that I'm glad I have. Because I'm writing this in winter, my use of them has been limited to a few sunny days.

• My favorite way to use the straps is in between laps on the trail or sprints up one side. I hook the straps to my tree and head down the trail. My heart rate jumps fast from the running and adding the Suspension Strap exercises between the running is so good for building lean muscle and strengthening my heart at the same time!

• Once the weather warms up I fully plan on doing evening workouts on certain muscle groups to get in some two-a-days. I will have days where I do full workouts with Suspension Straps as well.

• When I use my Qon Quill Suspension Straps I quickly move through circuits of 3 or 4 exercises, similar to the way you do yoga, one after the other, with smooth transitions in between. A quick example: 20 squats, 10 rows, 10 back flys, 10 bicep curls. I would do a sprint 1 minute of running in place or jump squats or anything else to get the heart rate up then take a 30 second or 1 minute break in between this circuit and go through it 4 or 6 times. Those types circuits, two blocks of them with cardio, you'll be done quick and you'll burn calories. GUARANTEED.

In closing: Fitness is not rocket science, as you get stronger and more experienced you can make it up as you go. For most of us, it's really about moving your body, staying light and strong, producing endorphins and burning calories. The Qon Quill Suspension Strap system is a great way to give yourself another option when you want get a quick workout or change your routine up.

5 reasons why I'm glad I bought the Suspension Strap System:

• Affordable

• Ideal for outdoor exercise – my preference whenever possible

• Easy to relocate and attach at various locations

• One of the most effective ways to put resistance on your muscles without having to lug weights or kettlebells around

• Requires your body to use it's stabilizers/improves biomechanics

• Works great for compound movements

• Works for beginners who just want to start moving or for experienced weight trainers who want to supplement their current routine.

Rise. Shine. Crush.