20 Movement Suspension Workout

Here’s what the suspension part of my practice looks like. Using alternate patterns and sequencing exercises with opposing muscle groups I can maintain a high work rate without gassing out. Also Vary tempo through the workout to tax energy systems differently, amping up strength with slower movements and cardio demands with a faster pace in different sets.

During this year of no travel, I’m using some time to put together “The Big Book of Anchored Resistance Exercises” The first edition this fall will have 200+ illustrated annotated exercises with suspension and elastic resistance. I’ll be previewing some content here soon.

Below the following video I’ve written up some cues for each exercise. Give it a look over and then you’ll get more out of following along with this workout. If you try it I’de love to hear what you think. If you dig it please share, your support is greatly appreciated.

20 X 20 Suspension Workout

1 – Bilateral Row Squat – Eyes on anchor/ Ground forces – work off flat feet or point toes up and pivot off heels, I progress this idea at times coming from a heels dominant push off the squat to up on my toes for the finish / This move shows hands rotating from overhand to vertical. Hand positions can also stay in one position either overhand high rows hands finish height equal or just below shoulders, vertical hands or underhand at mid section height. In all cases drive elbows back, squeeze the back and open up the chest with each rep.

2 – Bilateral Push-up Alternate Front Lunge – Eyes on horizon/ Ground Forces – experiment with putting less weight on front lunging foot to amplify the balance and push up demand/ Vertical hand position is a great position for pushing up with lunges or any balance demands because it offers a bit of extra lateral stability.

3 – Bilateral Row Alternate High Knee – Eyes on anchor/ Ground Forces – more stability working off a flat foot, get up and stay on balls of feet for more challenge / This version shows rotation from overhand to vertical again but all rowing hand orientations are available. Bring knee as high as possible.

4 – Bilateral Push-up Alternate Side Lunge – Eyes on horizon / Ground forces – make side lunges as wide as comfortable/ Overhand position a little more demanding for stability, more stable vertical hand orientation always an option.

5 – Bilateral Row Alternate Side Lunge – Eyes on anchor / Ground forces – Make lunges as wide as comfortable, experiment with using more upper body vs lower body strength to get up / Try different hand orientations, remember to squeeze the back, open up the chest and drive elbows back.

6 – Unilateral Press/Fly Alternate Front Lunge Ispilateral (same side) Hand Wide – Eyes on horizon / Ground forces – start with full weight going onto front foot and then try putting less weight on front foot to amplify the press/fly challenge / Your inside hand is advantaged so your natural inclination is to use this hand mostly to push up, you can, however, deliberately uses the wide hand to train the chest in a fly movement which is distinct from the forces required for a press. Play with how much power each side uses to help you get up. The ability to transfer weight from hand to hand with this suspension design offers specific advantages. Getting comfortable with weight transfer allows you to tax all movements more completely and allows you to progress movement patterns more effectively.

7 – Bilateral Row High Knee Hold – Eyes on anchor (particularly helpful for balance on this one) /Ground forces – flat foot, raise one knee as high as possible, lock in plank / Hand variations that start with overhand offer more lateral stability / Holding this position for reps is a nice balance progression, progress to this after you can do the alternate high knee row.

8 – Unilateral Press/Fly Alternate Front Lunge Contralateral (opposite side) Hand Wide – Same exact cues as #6 but now the pattern is different and so the adaptation demands will be different. Using both ipsilateral and contralateral patterns is going to be more efficient for creating adaptation demand then training only one of them. Training movements, work rates and resistance systematically with variety is the essence of progression. Last important note, notice the introduction of the around the clock notion, rather than simply alternate wide hands to the side now working the wide hand at different angles, again using resistance on the wide/fly hand to train the chest shoulder from a variety of angles.

9 – Alternate Open Stance Lunge with Coiling Core Row – There are two distinct row/pulling movements possible with this idea. The overhead hand is a pulling down range of motion, using the lower inside hand creates the type of row popularized by David Weck called Coiling Core, both very useful. If you’re an athlete you’ll want to go deeper on Weck Method for some state of the art running ideas. I also often use the handles in a lengthwise orientation for this exercise to add some grip strength to the work.

10 – IYT Alternate Front Lunge – Eyes on horizon/ Adjust the length of lunge/distance from the anchor to get shoulders as close to end range as comfortable. Don’t grip handles too tight to help keep shoulders loose.

11 –  Alternate Rotation – Eyes on hands through rotation, look at a spot on the ground behind you at end range/ Ground forces – feet can start flat for stability, add inward rotation off the ball of the back foot for more athletic movement / Push hands away from body for more resistance.

12 – Alternate Hands High and Wide Alternate Lunge Contralateral (opposite side) to Wide Hand – Eyes on horizon / Ground forces – start with full weight on the lunged foot and then try reducing the amount of weight on front foot to amplify the upper bodywork / Transfer weight from one hand to accentuate the unilateral work, note how the forces through the core change as you do this.

13 – Alternate Rotation with Squat – Same as #11 but with squat added, again progress athleticism with ground forces by getting up on the forefoot and inward rotation of the back foot.

14 – Bilateral Triceps Press Alternate Front Lunge – Eyes on the horizon / Ground forces – reduce weight on lunged foot to amplify the core and triceps load / Keep upper arms parallel to the ground.

15 – Alternate Curl with Squat – Eyes on anchor / Feet flat to start, point toes up to work off of heels for more hamstrings and glute activation, come up onto the ball of the foot at the end of the rep for more athletic work / bring elbows close to the body with the curl, curl the hand to same or opposite side shoulder.

16 – Alternate Front Lunge Ipsilateral (same side) Triceps Press – Eyes on the horizon / Ground forces full weight on front foot then reduce to amplify core and Triceps challenge / Training arms with lunges and squats is simply a more efficient use of training time than training these smaller muscle groups by themselves.

17 – Alternate Curl with Squat and Rotation – Eyes on hands, follow around to find spot o ground at end range / Stra flat foot, progress to pushing up of heels for hamstrings and glutes to coming up onto forefoot and rotating back foot around on the finish. Although this is called a curl it’s as much a chest fly exercise as well.

18 – Alternate Front Lunge Ipsilateral Hand Wide Contralateral Triceps Press – Variation of #12  and #16, you can start to see the vast number of ways you can combine lunges and how patterns can be coordinated with a variety of upper body ideas.

19 – Bilateral Isometric Row Hold Alternate High Knees – Eyes on the anchor / Ground forces, knees as high as possible get up on forefoot / Hands can be held overhand, most challenging, or vertical or underhand position.

20 – Bilateral Isometric Press Hold Alternate High Knees – Eyes on the horizon / Ground forces – get knees as high as possible and get up onto forefoot for most athletic work, move feet toward anchor to amplify core and upper body work / Hands in the vertical position for max side to side stability, overhand for more balance challenge.