The History of Suspension Training


If you’ve ever put your body to the test with suspension training exercises (which involves nylon webbing attached to handles or rings and uses nothing more than your own body weight), then you may wonder how this particular exercise regimen came into existence. It is a story that starts a long time ago, but has been sort of “reborn” in the more recent past.

Skip Back to the 1800s

Look as far back as the 1800s and you will find that people of that day used suspension training techniques to get their body in top physical shape. You see it most in pictures of circus and carnival performers who were hanging from webbing of some sort, using the strength of their own sculpted muscles to hold them in position, their physique rock hard as a result.

As good a workout as it was for these individuals, suspension training really didn’t hit mainstream exercisers until the 1990s. And, it took a former military man to devise a system that used the same principles, providing the same results.

Move Forward to the 1990s

Former U.S. Navy Seal, Randy Hetrick, developed the TRX system (that stands for Total Resistance eXercise) which was the first system to utilize suspension training for the everyday person. How did he build it? Like any good Navy Seal, he created it from the gear he was using while actively serving for the military. 

Once he returned to “civilian life” in 2001, he went to Stanford University for his graduate degree and studied business which is when he started to turn his dream into a reality. With the help of an investor, his TRX business was born and suspension training started to become a common fitness option. Now you can find it in most any gym in the world, and you can also buy an easy-to-use system for home use too. 

There you have it, the history of suspension training. Where will it go from here? I guess we will just have to wait and see!

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