Suspension Straps Exercises – Worthy Additions To Your Workout Methods

Over the couple of weeks before this was written I put together a few video clips of me using some suspension straps I made to add a new level of exercise to my workouts. They are made from two tie down straps purchased at Lowes. Total price of the straps, clips, 3/4″ pvc was around $20.00. The result was a pair of 14 foot straps with ratchets that is versatile to say the least.

Best of all this DIY version is rated for 1000 pounds work load, 3000 lbs break strength. That gives me a lot of confidence that I am not going to break loose from anything these are attached to. Considering the way they’re used, nothing is more important than that consideration.

The video shows some brief examples of some of the simpler exercises outdoors and one indoors. At the end, I show the straps and how they are put together.



Don’t mistake these workout wonders for guy stuff.

Before going any further, women watching this, the way I’m dressed and where I’m using it, can come to the conclusion this is for guys. Not so. This is as much for women as for men. The benefits are for either and will work equally for either.

Just before I started this article I went out back and showed my 21 year old daughter, who is a martial artist, how to go through a full upper body workout with the straps. While she showed considerable strain, she went through it smoothly and successfully.

Satisfaction For Those Needing Exercise Efficiency

One of the great features of a pair of simple homemade suspension straps is their versatility. A full body workout can be accomplished by attaching the straps to a tree once and not moving them. All you have to do is change positions.

The first several exercises shown out in the woods were me using the suspension straps without ever changing or reattaching them. I just changed the position of my feet or my direction in relation to the straps. From that, I was able to do pushups at 3 different angles, angled rows pulling my body up toward the tree, curls with a full range of motion, triceps extensions, again with a full range of motion. 

All suspended between the straps attached to one spot on the tree. 

At home I showed one set of rows pulling myself up and toward the door the straps were inserted through. That setup was the straps attached to a 2×4 that was placed on the opposite side of the door. The board was driven between the door facing and the door closed.

That results in a solid, secure attachment for the straps to workout indoors. 

Workout at any level of difficulty and extremity.

Finally, I showed a couple of exercises of a more extreme nature with my feet off the ground, planted on the side of the tree. You have to be real confident of your straps to do that, and it is suggested that you get used to them fully before trying exercises where you are suspended with your feet off the ground. 

Check out the video to see how the straps are put together. 

You can be sure, suspension strap exercises will be a steadfast part of my strength and muscle building efforts well into the future.                                                                                                                                                                                   



How To Get A High Impact Workout With No Gym Equipment

This article and the brief video is to show you how to get a high impact workout for your whole body without gym equipment. This can also be used for targeted areas of your body, just like in a gym. The workout includes both strength exercise as well as cardio and endurance work.

All without stepping foot in a gym equipment or using any equipment.


On a typical day when I work out outside the gym, I’ll start out by warming up my legs walking or jogging  up a big hill like the one shown. This is critical to get your legs warmed up and prevent injury in what will be a real, intense workout for your thighs and cWarmup Hillalves.

In the video you’ll notice I did have on a weighted vest that can be purchased in just about any sporting goods store or any place gym equipment is carried. But you don’t have to get a vest. A backpack with rocks in it will do if you want to add to your body weight for resistance.

After warming up on the first hill, I typically run up and down the side of a big, steep levee that runs along the side of a lake in a city park. I’ll go up and down it 3-4 times as I work my way down the levee towards a wooded area.

When I finish the levee, I’m at the foot of a ragged, fairly steep trail I’ll run up until it levels out. Finally, at that point I’ll take a short, steep gully to the top of the wooded hill.

Intermittent Cardio

NOTE: On days when I am only doing cardio and endurance work, I’ll keep going here on into the woods to some steep, winding hills. The course I’ve mapped out is about 2.5 miles.

But on this type of workout day, where I’m combining the purpose for the workout, instead of doing the whole course, I’ll head back down to do some resistance exercise. Just like in the fitness center.

I’ll often start with pushups. First will be several sets of incline pushups followed by some decline pushups. These will be done between the sides of a small ditch. This allows a full range of motion providing the best shoulder, triceps and chest exercise possible for pushups.

HIgh Impact Pushups

Also, just like in a gym, you can do flyes like you would with dumbbells. Only outside you’ll likely be using rocks. Find a small, rounded hump to lie on and go for it. Do sets and reps just like you would inside.

Flyes With Rocks

Yeah, this is for girls too. Jacquilyn jumps right in and gets some good strength work outdoors. Being a martial artist, she gets a great deal of benefit from the functional exercise done out here. And sometimes she’ll show off a little by doing something like pushups from a full split position.

HIgh Impact Workout For Women

Want to work your arms? Find an assortment of rocks and tree limbs for weights. With these you can get a comprehensive biceps workout with alternate curls, curls with one large rock, reverse curls with smaller rocks, etc. Again sets and reps just like in the gym.

Rock Arm Workout

Serious, high impact strength exercises you can add:

[See the video for a visual of these]

You can do power cleans and presses overhead with a rock, just like with a barbell. Use caution to get a good grip and lift it like you would a barbell. From the ground up to your chest first, then overhead and back to the ground for one rep.

Bent rows with a rock is as effective as any movement with gym equipment. Bend over picking up a rock and lifting it toward your chest with your arms only, staying bent at the waist. For your upper back and arms.

Deadlifts and squats can be simulated, again by simply doing the same type movements with a rock. Bend over keeping your back as straight as possible. Pick up a rock by taking it in your hands and standing up with it. Lower it to the ground for one rep. The position for this can vary based on what you’re lifting and what your goals are.

These are some of the most common exercise I do, but the number and type you can do is seemingly endless. You can work your whole body or any part of your body for any fitness goal with a high impact workout. All without touching gym equipment.

A Particular Benefit Of Functional Exercise

NOTE: Worth mentioning here is when you do this type workout you’re doing what is known as functional exercise. That means that instead of everything being sized and balanced for you like in the gym, when working out like this you have to simulate the way you would lift in any number of real situations day to day.

For extended or intermittent cardio work, running up and down hills and rough trails instead of sidewalks or tracks will not only improve your general condition, but also your balance and reflexes.

This is not to keep anybody out of the gym. What it is intended to do is get you to loosen up, add some entertainment and motivation to your fitness pursuits.The best of both worlds is to add this to your gym workouts for well rounded and never boring exercise options.

And it’s to put you on the path to functional strength and conditioning to add quality to your life no matter your age, goals or fitness level.


Full Body Playground Workout

In the video and in the pictures below I’m with my daughter Jacquilyn as we show you a great effective full body workout in a local playground. Just using your body weight or a weighted vest you can perform multiple types of workouts that are not only effective, but fun.

We come to a playground to workout because we like to play. Could be that if you want to add a significant system to your exercise arsenal, it’s time to start acting a little more like a kid.

Keep in mind this is for ideas, not to copy step for step. Do what you need to do to meet your fitness goals. In a modest size playground there are seemingly limitless ways to exercise. A description to go with the video follows.


The Playground Leg Workout

We started out by working our legs on some of the step platforms. We figured out a way to perform a comprehensive leg workout all on a playground.

First was a step up exercise reminiscent of simple steppers that have been exercise equipment forever. But on a playground they are all different heights. We started out stepping up with one leg repetitiously for one set at a time. Alternately Jacquilyn stepped up with both feet alternating legs for each rep.

playground stepper exercise

The platform step up will work the same muscles as squats or lunges. Add a weighted vest and you can get a very serious and intensive leg workout.

Following the first platform step exercise, we climbed a ladder up to slide. That means we climbed it over and over. 10 times up and down were a set. This following the platform exercise got pretty challenging.

playground climbing workout

The final playground leg exercise was on another higher platform that had hand grips on the sides. We used the grips to begin warming up our upper body as we concluded our leg exercise by stepping up high one leg at a time on the platform.

Playground Step Up Exercise

Platform to ladder to platform. Seven total sets of leg exercises that left our legs burning and our lungs stretching for air.

Shoulder and Chest Torture On A Kid’s Slide

Next we started on our upper body exercises by working shoulders, triceps and chest muscles.

We started with elevated and decline pushups on a slide. The double slide we used allowed us to workout at multiple angles and to widen our grip to vary the range of motion. It left us burning from our shoulders to our waist.

These exercises included what I refer to as “pushaways” which is what Jacquilyn is doing in the pictures below. Holding on to the rails, feet to the rail, body suspended in air, allowing your shoulders to move forward as far as possible, then push back. The effect of pushups though working your shoulders directly at a different angle.

Pushups on a Playground

Biceps And Upper Back Workout On The Playground

After the shoulder, chest and triceps work we made our way over to a couple of pieces of playground equipment that allowed us to work our biceps and upper back.

The first of these was a flexible bridge between a couple of platforms. It had a rail above it making it ideal to stand on, grab the rail and pull ourselves towards it over and over.

Next was the overhead round rail that, while awkward, when we got situated made a grueling workout station. Here we hung upside down in a horizontal position to the rail above us. We pulled our upper body up and down for each set simulating the same effect on our upper back and biceps as bent rows.

Playground Pullups

Jacquilyn Showing How To Do It Right With Crunches

Finally, Jacquilyn decided to show off with some hanging crunches and provided a great grand finale. Obviously this will work your upper abs and lower back.

Hanging crunches

There it is. A full body workout in a playground. Fun, effective and what you see here is far from the only type of exercises to do.

Now it’s your turn. Because one of the few absolute requirements to Normal Fitness, even in a playground is:

You have to get started.


Variety In A Biceps Workout To Keep It Interesting

If there is anything I need in resistance training it’s variety to keep in interesting. I have a low boredom threshold and short attention span. Not exactly a combination for consistency, but at least I recognize it. Variety in where I workout and what I use keeps me enthusiastically involved just like in this biceps workout with various ….. stuff.

These are all real workouts that are photographed while they’re going on. The swelling muscle, red faces, sweat are all real. Any of them that you use, please be careful to test the weight and see how it will affect your muscles and joints in the positions shown.

In this biceps workout I decided to come out on my back deck with a workout ball and some adjustable dumbbells, but that’s not all I used.

I warmed up by doing some regular light curls.

The first exercise I did a couple of sets of was curls on the exercise ball. This will require you to use light dumbbells. Exercise Ball Curls

  • I sat on the ball and took the dumbbells in hand.
  • I laid back rolling the ball to the center of my back
  • I rested my elbows on the side of the ball.
  • I stretched my arms out to the sides, elbows bent but stationary
  • The move was made by curling the dumbbells up toward my shoulder while keeping my elbows pressed to the ball
  • Return to the spread position for the rep
  • Repeat for the full set.

That’s a pretty excruciating move even with light dumbbells. Always use light weight and test gradually to find the right weight for you.

Dumbbell Hammer CurlMy next move in this workout was two handed hammer curls with a dumbbell.

Take the dumbbell in both hands (fingers may overlap).
Hold the dumbbell down in front of you to start.
With both arms curl the dumbbell up toward your chest keeping your hands in the hammer position.
Lower the dumbbell to the starting position for the rep.
For multiple sets alternate your hands in the upper/lower position.

Finally I did some isolated dumbbell curls utilizing one of my deck handrails. Use caution getting your arm set. Test the weight to determine the strain on your elbow.

  • I placed my arm and elbow down the rail.
  • Arm starts at the fully extended position
  • With the elbow remaining in place, curl the dumbbell up toward your shoulderDeck rail bicep curl
  • Return to full arm extension for the completed repetition.

These biceps exercises are here, just like everything else, to give you ideas. Combining lots of variety with the enjoyment of pursuing life goals keeps your fitness fun, intense and interesting.

Never get bored in your workouts.


Chest Workout With Dumbbells On An Exercise Ball

The value of regular workouts on exercise balls is the fact that they force balance while you work out. A chest workout with adjustable dumbbells using an exercise ball both provides deep and responsive pec workouts for men or women.

Just make surExercise ball and weights for chest workoute the ball is rated for enough weight to use without suddenly deflating. (Otherwise known as exploding)

Equipment Needed For An Exercise Ball Chest Workout

All you need for a full chest workout is the ball and a set of dumbbells. Minimal equipment that can provide maximum results. A bonus is that this small amount of equipment can be used for a multitude of other exercises and workouts.

CAUTION: Getting set with the dumbbells is the most likely point for a mishap. You have to sit on the ball and pick up the dumbbells. Then you have to roll back to a lying position while swinging the dumbbells up to a beginning press position. Test weight gradually to see what will work safely and effectively.

Practice this with no weight before proceeding.

Dumbbell Bench Press On The Exercise Ball

Just like in most workouts I start with a simple press. But a bench press on an exercise ball using dumbbells forces a much greater range of motion taking some pressure off the shoulders and triceps. That pressure is transferred to more focused exertion on the pectoral muscles themselves. This makes the move more a stretching, defining move along with strengthening.

       Ready for exercise ball press                  Execise ball press

Press the dumbbells straight up palms facing toward your feet. Move them smoothly back down to the starting position. This completes a repetition. Repeat for a full set of repetitions.

Dumbbell Flyes On The Fitness Ball

Again, this is no different than flyes on a bench as far as the hand position and movement goes. What is different is the greater range of motion which you will very definitely feel.

After rolling back to the starting position, palms facing in. Press the dumbbells upward. From the up position, spread your arms to the sides, elbows slightly bent. Raise the dumbbells back to the position above your chest to complete the repetition. Repeat for a set.

               Ready for exercise ball flyes                      Exercise ball flyes

Those two exercises used to supplement your other fitness pursuits will be extremely valuable. They are not intended to be “every workout” exercises. They help to keep your resistance exercise filled with variety and muscle variance.

A fitness ball is an inexpensive and valuable piece of fitness equipment that will benefit anybody who works out for strength, flexibility and agility.