Introduction: Budget ($12) Suspension Straps (TRX-type)
Build yourself some inexpensive but very strong TRX-like suspension straps for functional strength training at any level or age. Suspension strap training is much older than the popularized TRX system; gymnasts have used rings and ropes for generations. The straps make certain things, like push-ups easier for beginners where standard pushups on the floor are difficult or impossible by elevating the body to an angle that reduces the body weight supported to a weight the beginner can manage. Gradually this angle can be increased as strength grows and excess body weight diminishes. For those more advanced in fitness, moving the hands off the floor and into the straps for a pushup adds an incredible level of difficulty as the straps must be held below the body as the pushup is lowered! Legs, back, biceps, triceps, and abdominal groups can be trained and there are an amazing amount of videos on the internet to teach you how to use the straps to increase your fitness level, whatever it may be.
Materials cost me just over $12 bucks Canadian
Tools: Tape-measure, marking pen, saw, sandpaper or file, screw driver
Materials: Three ratchet straps at least 10'/3m I purchased two packages of two 12' Erickson straps for 8 dollars Cdn at a dollar store
12" (305 mm) of 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC plastic pipe (metal is not suitable for this project as it will likely cut the nylon straps)
at least one quick-link, a d-ring anchor loop, 4 wood screws.
Extras: A cordless drill and bit makes installing the d-ring much easier.
The quick-link can be replaced with a carabiner but it must be very strong from a climbing or safety supplier, cheap ones will deform. The quick-link is the more wallet friendly choice. The larger carabiner can make installation easier.
Step 1: Cut and Sand the PVC Pipe
- Mark the pvc pipe at 6 1/2" (165 mm).
- Cut the pipe with a saw, I'm using a mini hacksaw in the picture.
- Use the sandpaper or a file to clean up the edges of the cut and pay special attention to the inside of the pipe as a sharp edge could wear and damage the nylon strap.
Step 2: Tying Handles and Foot Loops
- First remove the long straps from the ratchet assemblies. Set the ratchets aside.
- Make a loop in the strap near the hook and feed this loop through one of the pvc pipes.
- Pull it through until you have a loop of about 6" (150mm)sticking out the end of the pipe, and about 24" (600mm) of strap between the other end of the pipe and the hook.
Step 3: Tying the Foot Loop
- Working with the 6" loop, open it up and fold it back on the pipe to make a double bite.
- Pull the hook through the bite until about 12" (300mm) of strap has been pulled through.
Step 4: Finishing the Footloop
- Tighten the bite hard around the strap you pulled through; reef it to make sure it will not slip.
- Push the knot into the end of the pipe.
- You now have the foot loop complete with the long running end of the strap emerging from one end of the pipe and a 12" strap with the hook emerging from the other side and a solid loop of strap for the feet.
Step 5: Tying the Handle
- Make a loop in the long end of the strap.
- Feed it into the closed circle of the strap hook.
- Open the loop and pull the hook into the loop.
- Tighten the loop down on the hook.
Step 6: Securing the Strap So the Loop Won't Slip
- Now make a loop in the long strap near the hook.
- Push the loop into the closed circle.
- Pull the entire length of the long trap through the loop and tighten.
- The handle and foot loop is now complete.
Step 7: Now, One More Time and Video of the Process
Grab the other piece of pipe and another strap and do it all again. Here is a 4 minute video of the entire process.
Step 8: Assembling the Ratchets and Quick-link
- Open up the quick-link and place two of the ratchets into it back to back.
- Back to back is to allow for operation of the ratchets once suspended from the anchor.
- Place the third ratchet at the other end of the quick-link and close the link.
- For ease of identifying them while hanging, mark the two placed back to back with an x.
Step 9: Securing the D-Loop
- Expose or identify structural wood.
- Secure the d-loop using the wood screws.
- You can use the screw driver, but I prefer the speed of a cordless drill.
Step 10: Hang the Long Strap
- Hang the last unused long strap you have by passing the running end (without the hook) through the d-loop.
- Then pass the running end through the closed circle of the hook.
- Pull it through until the hook butts up to the d-loop and the strap pulls tight.
Step 11: Secure the Assembly of Ratchets
- Ensure the two ratchets marked with an x hang downward.
- Pull the running end of the nylon strap through the spindle of the upper ratchet assembly as it would normally be assembled.
- Pull the strap through and adjust it until it is near the d-loop.
- Secure the strap by operating the ratchet.
Step 12: Hanging the Handles and Footloops
- Feed the running end of one of the handle straps into the spindle of a ratchet and operate the ratchet to secure.
- Repeat with other ratchet and handle strap.
Step 13: Test Before You Trust!
Suspend weight from the straps in a manner you will not get hurt to test the strength of the system to support your weight.
Step 14: Just Some Encouragement and Some Exercises You Can Perform
Consult a doctor before you start exercising to ensure the plan is safe for you. There are many videos you can find on the internet to learn how to use suspension straps to build strength, endurance and fitness. Start anywhere. If you are having trouble starting maybe once a day just do three exercises, one set of 5 each, it will take less than five minutes and commit to that for a week, then maybe do it twice a day after that. It may seem like a little, but a skyscraper is made of thousands of little bricks, a marathon is thousands of little steps, your fitness is thousands of tiny choices-one more step, one more push, one more pull!
- Inclined Push-ups, to reduce the total weight of the body in the beginning.
- Lying pull-up to work the back muscles.
- Bicep curl by leaning back and pulling handles toward ears.
- Wide fly, to work the shoulders.
- Abdominal knee tucks.
Second Prize in the
Exercise Speed Challenge