Top Suspension Trainers for 2016 – An In Depth Review
Suspension training has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. The invention of a former Navy Seal just over a decade ago, you’ll find suspension trainers in most commercial gyms and training studios nowadays. More and more home gym enthusiasts are also switching on to the many benefits of suspension training. They are discovering that there is nothing better to activate the core on every movement, provide a great pulling motion and allow for unilateral training. When you invest in a suspension trainer, you get all of this, plus more than 300 bodyweight exercises, without any bulky equipments or weights.
In this guide we’ll break down the things that you need to be searching for when buying a suspension trainer for your home gym. We’ll find out just what makes suspension training a superior form of exercise and we’ll give you the insider tips to get the max benefit from your suspension trainer investment.
We’ve waded through the marketplace to bring you the 6 best suspension trainers on the planet. Our review section will detail what’s on offer, take a look at the pros and cons of each and bring you our recommendations on where you should be spend your money.
Our top rated suspension trainer was the EX1 from Emerge which provided all of the great benefits of other popular models, but at a reasonable price and it was a hands down winner. Our second favorite was the WOSS Attack Training System . The unit featured some striking innovations, such as a D-Ring center strap connector to add instability and rubber handles. Add these to it’s top performance on the standard features and an impeccable price point.
In terms of innovation, the Crosscore 180 BodyTrainer was a clear front runner, with it’s unique pulley system and simple pin switch to conventional suspension trainer. We found the original trainer, the TRX, to be an excellent unit which comes with great supporting materials but asks for a lot more money than the competition for not much more than brand value.
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The EX1 from Emerge provides all of the benefits of the high end models, but at a hugely reduced price. Unlike the majority of budget trainers out there, there is no drop of in quality with the EX1. In fact, the Emerge trainer provides more flexibility, enhanced core focus and greater mobility. Good news! Black Friday sales for Suspension Trainers start now! (Discount Code: EMERGE15).
- 1.5 inch thick heavy grade webbing
- Rubber grip handles
- Mesh carry bag
- Lifetime Quality Guarantee
- No cons could be found
With thick, 1.5 inch heavy grade military webbing, rubber grip handles and double can buckles, the EX1 is made to be tough. It features a unique stabilizer ring which ensures that the strapping will never slip. Extras that come with the EX1 are a sturdy door anchor, a handy mesh carry bag and a free getting started guide. The EX1 is the best quality, best price suspension trainer that we’ve ever seen!
The WOSS Attack system features a number of innovations that quickly got our attention. It uses 1st grade US military webbing for an extremely strong strap. The center strap goes through a D-ring, making it more unstable than the competition. This provides a greater level of workout challenge. It also comes with rubber sleeve grips which are usually only seen on much more expensive models.
- Military Grade Webbing -
The strap is what your body suspends from so you need to know that it will do the job, year after year. The webbing on these straps is the same used by the US military so you can have total confidence that it will do the job.
- D-Ring -
Rather than simply sewing the strap into a loop like many competitors do, WOSS straps feature a D-ring with a strap running through it. This small innovation allows for a great deal more versatility in terms of exercise options.
- Rubber Handles -
the WOSS Attack handles are softer , more comfortable and provide a very secure, slip resistant grip.
- Portability -
The WOSS Attack system comes with a convenient carry bag and the whole things packs up to a two pound weight.
- The Carabiners could be a little larger.
The WOSS Attack system is a very impressive until that is available at a third of the price of some of its competitors. Amazingly there is no drop off in quality, versatility or durability for that dollar reduction. In fact, the WOSS has a couple of unique features that the higher priced options don’t feature (D-ring, rubber handles). That makes investing in a WOSS ATTACK a no-brainer, and our favorite suspension trainer.
The TRX suspension training system is the original suspension training system, created by former Navy Seal Randy Hetrick. The system comes with the TRX extension strap, which the rest of the system hooks into. The TRX straps themselves come with two handles and two foot cradles.The system also comes with a door anchor for people with no cross beam or bar to hang the straps from. A TRX dvd also comes with the system. The DVD guide not only shows how to set the system up, it also takes you through every single exercise - and it gives you two live workouts with the TRX master trainers. A comprehensive book contains the same information as the DVD. The whole thing comes in a convenient carry bag.
The TRX system features a very user friendly strap adjustment system. With a suspension trainer, you’ll be changing strap positions quite a lot. The TRX equipment allows you to do so without eating into your valuable training time. You simply grab the buckle and pull up and down on the strap.
Rearranging the straps for single handle mode simply requires looping one handle into the other. The TRX allows you to do this in a matter of seconds.
A great feature of the TRX is its versatility. The whole thing weighs only two pounds and the pull-string carry bag allows you take it anywhere. Now you’ll never be without your training gear.
- Ease of set-up -
The TRX users quick snap carabiners and one pull strap adjustment that allow you set the system up in seconds
- DVD -
The TRX DVD guide is a comprehensive, professionally presented production that provides tons of added value.
- Handles -
The TRX handles are of a soft webbing, allowing for a comfortable gripping position for both hands and feet.
The TRX can be packed into the tiniest of spaces thanks to its handy pull-string carry bag, making it the ultimate portable workout device.
- Can't Add Extras -
The straps on the TRX have no provision for adding extra pieces of equipment to them.
- Price -
the TRX is a lot more expensive than many of its competitors.
As the original suspension trainer the TRX sets the standard for the industry. We loved it’s portability, it’s ease of set-up and the fantastic DVD guide that comes with it. We weren’t impressed with the price. If brand recognition is important, then this is the one for you. The TRX PRO Suspension Training Kit is quite expensive, for a cheaper option, you can consider the TRX Suspension Training Home Gym. But if you’re simply after a piece of equipment that will do the business without breaking the bank, you may be better off with the Emerge EX1 or WOSS Attack system.
The GoFit system is a doorway mounted suspension trainer that allows you to train the suspension way even if your don’t have an overhead mounting position available.
The GoFit system will mount in any standard doorway, locking i place for a rock solid workout every time.
- Ease of Adjustment -
To adjust the straps, you simply push a button, which frees the straps to be pulled to the length you desire.
- Added Pull Up Bar
The GoFit system includes a pull up bar, allowing you to have, not only a great suspension system, but also a way to get in your regular pull ups and chin ups.
- Quality Instruction Book and DVD -
Several online reviewers commented on how impressed they were with the quality of the instruction manual and accompanying DVD.
- Bar and straps are not removable
If you’re after a doorway suspension trainer, then this is the best that we found. It’s solid, versatile and easy to adjust.
The Crosscore 180 system makes use of a pulley system to create a level of instability to enhance the core training aspect of every exercise. It also provides handles that can be attached to the trainer’s ropes with carabiners.
- Instability -
the unique pulley system which features a rope thread through a movable pulley creates an extra layer of difficulty for every exercise. The effect of this is that the core and other stabilizer muscle groups are far more engaged than on other systems.
- Rotating Pulley -
The design of the pulley allows for a wider range of motion than other suspension systems, providing the ability to perform twisting back and forth pulling type exercises.
- Pin Lock -
By simply inserting a pin, the system reverts to a conventional suspension trainer, allowing you to eliminate the instability.
- Price -
The Crosscore is by far the most expensive unit that we came across. Keep in mind, however, that it offers more than a conventional suspension system.
- Weight -
Even though the system comes with a handy carry bag, it still weighs twice as much as most of the other units we reviewed. That decreases the portability factor considerably.
If cost is not an issue for you then the Crosscore 180 system has a lot going for it. It offers a greater level of intensity that will translate to quicker results. We really liked that it quickly converts back to a normal suspension trainer with the simple insertion of a pin.
The Kylin Sport system provides a doorway or ceiling mounted suspension trainer that gives you the full suspension experience at a great price. There are no innovations or unique features here, just a solid, dependable trainer that does its job and does it well.
- Durability -
the straps are made of thick webbing, the buckles are reliable and the handles are made of durable nylon
- Travel Carry Case -
The unit is extremely portable, packing up to a tiny bag that weighs just a couple of pounds.
- Ease of use -
the system sets up in seconds, with an easy button controlled change of strap length arrangement.
- No DVD
The Kylin Sport Suspension Trainer is a no frills system that will provide you with years of dependable bodyweight suspension training at a discounted price.
When you’re shopping for a suspension system, you need to be able to wade through the straps and buckles which, let’s face it, all essentially look alike, in order to hone in on the important features. Here’s what you need to be looking out for:
- DVD - Suspension training is a new type of training for many people. A quality DVD that clearly shows how to set up the gear and to do the exercises is an important part of a complete suspension training package.
- Strap Quality - The straps are what suspend your bodyweight. Make sure that they are constructed of quality material and that the buckles are reliable. Carbon fiber buckling is the ideal.
- Handles - You’ll want a comfortable gripping surface for both hands and feet. In addition the handles need to be as slip resistant as possible.
- Anchor Points - Not only must be the anchor points be sturdy, but you don’t want them to leave any marks on the door or ceiling. This is especially the case when it comes to doorway systems.
- Portability - One of the great features about the suspension concept is that it can be taken anywhere. Your system should come with a carry case and should all pack up to just a couple of pounds.
What’s So Great about Suspension Training, Anyway?
Suspension training has become the most popular training variant of the last few years for good reason. The portability and variability of the system are huge factors. Here are five more reasons why suspension training rocks:
- Suitable for all levels - To make the system harder, you simply change the level of your body position. The lower you go, the more difficult the exercise.
- Hits both aerobic and an anaerobic systems - When training on a suspension trainer, you are getting both a muscular and a cardiovascular workout. The faster you train, the more aerobic the exercise becomes.
- Low impact - Suspension training is extremely low impact, making it very user friendly on your joints.
- Core centric - Due to the instability factor, every single exercise you do on the suspension trainer is a core exercise. That makes the suspension trainer a superior alternative when 6-pack abs are your goal.
- Unilateral training - the suspension system makes it easy and safe to work a single side of your body in isolation.
The best suspension training system for home use that we could find was the EX1 from Emerge. It is versatile, durable and all of those great features come together at a cost that is significantly cheaper than most of its competitors, which, makes EX1 a wise choice. On the other hand, the WOSS suspension trainer featured such innovations as a D-Ring center for better exercise instability, rubber handles for more comfortable, slip resistant grip and thick, close weave webbing that provided the strength and resilience that your body demands.