Introduction: 5-Minute Suspension Exercise Device for Less Than $16!

Build a fully functional version of Fitness Anywhere's TRX Suspension Trainer

Update: Better, Stronger, Faster! See the
video version of the 5-minute DIY Suspension Trainer


At $150, the TRX Suspension Trainer is cheaper than most gym equipment. Its body weight resistance exercises are challenging enough for elite athletes yet can be regressed to suit even the most deconditioned individuals (See examples at the TRX, ACE, or BodyLev libraries).

There are lots of TRX clones but this design is uniquely inexpensive, strong, and easy to make and use. Best of all, if a component is damaged or wears out, it's a cinch to replace the part instead of the whole device.

I've included simple instructions for an attachment that makes hanging your suspension trainer easy, even for anchor points higher than 9 feet.


Materials:

1) Two .5" by 4" PVC pipes or sprinkler risers (pre-cut PVC pipe for sprinkler systems) - $0.56 each OR...

upgrade to the "Perfect Fitness Handles" for better comfort and durability (available online for $9)

2) Two 12' x 1" Lashing straps with cambuckles (available online or at most hardware stores for about $6)

3) One 15' or longer x 1" lashing strap - $3.47

4) Scissors

5) (Optional - see last step) Tennis Ball


6) (Optional - see last step) Clip / Carabiner

Step 1: Prepare Long Lashing Strap

Trim any attachments from the ends of the long strap (hooks, buckles, etc.).

Step 2: Create or Buy a Handle (A)

Place one of the PVC pipes onto an 8 foot strap.

UPDATE: you can skip steps 2-4 if you're willing to spend just a little more for the "Perfect Fitness Handles" (available on Amazon.com for $8.79 at last check). Just cut all the material off of the metal lashing strap cambuckles and loop the handles onto them with a cow hitch knot (loop the webbing through the cambuckle and then through itself). As a bonus, they come with a bag and a door anchor! If you use the door anchor, try to put it on the side of the door that pulls open so that the door's frame provides reinforcement.

Step 3: Create a Handle (B)

Tie a simple overhand knot to form a handle (video).

NOTE: This is a permanent knot that won’t slip. However, it will reduce the strength of the lashing strap by up to 50 percent! This is why it’s important to choose straps that can hold your weight several times over.

Step 4: Create a Handle (C)

Cut off the excess material from the handle and save it for the next step.

NOTE: You can use a lighter to seal the cut edge of the lashing strap and prevent it from unraveling.

Step 5: Make a Foot Cradle

Slip the excess strap from the last step through the PVC pipe.  Secure the strap to itself with a square knot to create a foot cradle (video).

Step 6: Make a Foot Cradle (2)

Cut off the excess material from the foot cradle.

NOTE: Square knots slip over time.  Leave 1 inch ends on the knot and check them before use.  Alternatively, you can sew down the ends or tie overhand stopper knots to keep the square knot from coming undone.

Step 7: Attach the Handle to the Long Strap

Depress the button on the cambuckle and slide the fifteen foot lashing strap through it. If you've attached the handle correctly, the cambuckle won't slide down the longer strap no matter how hard you pull on the handle.


Note: Tie an overhand knot into the very end of the long lashing strap to keep the handle from sliding all the way off.

Step 8: Complete the Second Handle

Repeat step 2 through 7 to finish your suspension device!

Step 9: Hang Your Suspension Device

Sling the center of the device around a horizontal or vertical beam with a cow hitch knot (loop it through itself) and pull hard to cinch it in place.

Make sure to pull firmly on both handles before each use to ensure that you'e configured it correctly. Hold the end of the long strap, depress a cambuckle, and pull it up to shorten the device one side at a time. Alternatively, you can depress both cambuckles and pull them down simultaneously to lengthen it.

To attach the device to high anchor points (7 feet or higher from the ground), see the final step.

NOTE: Avoid anchor points with sharp corners as they might damage the lashing straps. Check your suspension device for damage or loose knots before each use.

Step 10: Optional Step: Make High Anchor Points Easier to Reach With a Simple Attachment

Clip an old tennis ball to the middle of the device to make it easier to sling over and remove from  high anchor points.

First, poke a hole through the ball and use a wire or popsicle stick to pull a piece of leftover lashing strap through it.  Attach a lightweight carabiner to the ball and clip it to the middle of the device.  Sling the ball around the anchor and use the dangling strap to pull it down (video).

Comments

author
palidanx made it! (author)2015-11-18

I made this and here are the items from homedepot as links

http://www.llamalist.com/lists/1

author
Ajljerry made it! (author)Ajljerry2016-02-16

Link couldn't be found. Could you post again? Thanks

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JonM18 made it! (author)2015-08-09

Got great inspiration fromn this, thanks! I made a simplified version of this, and I had everything I needed in the basement :)
Very satisfying indeed.

author
vladivastok made it! (author)2015-04-27

WATCHED THE VID. STILL, " WHT THE EXTRA [ D ] HANDLES ?? { VLAD ]

author
vladivastok made it! (author)2015-04-27

CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE VID. QUERIOSITY IS KILLLING ME. ALSO STOPPER KNOT AT THE END'S ARE ALLWAYS A GOOD IDEA. SLIPPERY MATTERIAL SHOULD HAVE A SURGEONS KNOT. SAME AS THE SQ. KNOT, ONLY DOUBLED OVER, " LEFT OVER RIGHT [2] TWICE/ RIGHT OVER LEFT [2] TWICE. THANKS [ VLAD ]

author
swelker made it! (author)2013-12-28

Thanks Budser! I've made four of these now, and included an exercise manual that I cobbled together from free videos on the internet. People love it! I came up with an add-on for the padding I was hoping for: I used 3/4 inch i.d. PVC rather than 1/2 (seemed more substantial) and then 7/8 i.d. pipe insulator (comes in long grey tubes for about $2.50). Took care of four kits no problem. And my cost is still $13 or less. Again, great job and congrats. Be sure to enter this in a contest if they ever have one for exercise equipment!

author
Budser made it! (author)Budser2015-03-29

Great advice! I made a set with 1" PVC pipe and they're far more comfortable than the originals. You might be able to skip the padding altogether with larger diameter grip.

author
mcollins9 made it! (author)2015-03-29

Of all the TRX clone instructables I have looked at, I like this one the best for its simplicity to build and ease of use. But I'm lost on one thing with this one. In the main picture it looks like it's extended as far as the straps allow. I don't see loose ends hanging from the attachments. Is that full extension? If so, how do you do TRX pushups with your feet at chest height? Or am I missing something?

author
MikeW8 made it! (author)2014-11-21

For a softer handle, I think you could use a piece of foam pipe insulation. It's pre-slit and made for different diameter pipes from 1"-1.5"

author
monique.cheney.9 made it! (author)2014-08-01

Can this be used with a door? For example put it over the door and use the tennis ball to hold it in place on the other side of the door as a anchor.

author
Budser made it! (author)2013-12-17

Thanks, Swelker, you're right--it's a square knot! Cutting your own PVC is a great way to do it if you've got a PVC cutter or a saw.

You could slide a piece of hose over the handles or perhaps use bicycle handlebar tape for a softer grip but I think your hands will get used to a hard surface over time.

author
swelker made it! (author)2013-12-16

Wow this is great. Thanks for saving me $175! Two questions: First, the knot you show in the video for the foot cradle doesn't seem to be a bowline? It looks like a simple (well-tied) square knot. Am I missing something?

Second, have you tried adding any padding to the handles? If so, what has worked well? My hands hurt about halfway through a workout and I was trying to come up with some options. I guess I'll cut a can cooler (koozie) and glue it on unless you have a better idea.

Again, thanks and great job! I agree that this is the best combination of easy/cheap/good quality of all the TRX clones. I actually got the straps for less and cut my own PVC and my cost was $10.

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BlackScorpion1910 made it! (author)2013-05-27

This is definantly perfect for calisthenics.