Instructables
Picture of Suspension Exercise Device for less than $13
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If you are on a budget, $12.58 and twenty minutes are all you need to build a fully functional clone of Fitness Anywhere's TRX Suspension Trainer (trxtraining.com). 

At $199, 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.  I've included simple instructions for an attachment that makes hanging the device a breeze, 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

2) Two 8' x 1" Lashing straps  with cambuckles - sold together for $7.97

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

4) Scissors

5) Tennis Ball (Optional - see last step)

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

Total Cost: $12.56

 
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Step 1: Prepare long lashing strap

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

Step 2: Create a handle (1)

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

Step 3: Create a handle (2)

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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 (3)

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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

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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).

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.

swelker10 months ago
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!
Budser (author) 10 months ago
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.
swelker10 months ago
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.
This is definantly perfect for calisthenics.