A while back our fellow Alpine Trekker Paul posted a comment about another article. We then started emailing back and forth with Paul, which eventually led to him writing instructions on how to build your own suspension trainer. Don’t worry, you won’t have to buy a whole bunch of bits and bobs to do so. As a climber, you probably have everything you need lying around the house! For example, you can recycle your old climbing rope. In the following, we’re going to reveal how you can build your very own suspension trainer – and it won’t cost an arm and a leg!
Let’s build a suspension trainer
As you increase the intensity and level of your climbing and bouldering training, the need for supportive strength training grows as well. Besides, if you really want to improve your overall climbing performance, it is necessary to refine your training methods. However, the harder you train, the more likely you are to train lopsidedly, disregarding key muscle groups and your core, which can result in injuries, and nobody wants that! On the plus side, though, training methods for climbing and bouldering are constantly being improved and thus becoming much more versatile.
One of the more popular methods is using rings. Originally used for gymnastics, rings are perfect as climbing and bouldering training. Not only do they have plenty of advantages for your all-round physical fitness, but so many different exercises for boulderers and climbers have been developed in recent years that it’s becoming difficult to imagine a life without them!
- Mobility: not only is a suspension trainer lightweight and portable, but it is also easy to remove. So, you won’t have to worry about your trainer becoming a part of your living room decor.
- Time: a suspension trainer allows you to train at home whenever it is convenient for you. Thus, you can incorporate training into your daily life.
- Types of training: we don’t train individual muscles, but rather deep core muscles. We combine strength training with muscle coordination.
- For both strength and supportive strength training
- Several climbing gyms now have rings that you can use to train with as well.
- Price: the initial price is very low, and you won’t have to pay much at all after that.
Another advantage: the rings allow you to continuously adjust the intensity of the training according to your individual needs or the exercises you prefer to do. Plus, you can combine suspension training with your endurance training. For example, when you go for a run or a ride, you can take your trainer with you, hang it up on a tree and train to your heart’s content! Plus, you can even take it with you on your next holiday if you wish!
Let’s start building – what you’ll need:
For the suspension trainer you’ll need the following:
- 2 cords (each ca. 70cm / 5-6mm)
- 3-4 metre single rope (ca. 10 mm)
- 1 pulley
- 2 heavy-duty slings (1m length)/handles
- 1 sling
- 1 carabiner
The parts you need, especially those for the attachment, vary and depend on the kind of attachment. The important thing is to choose an attachment point that is fully capable of holding your own body weight, such as strong wall anchors, hammock hooks, ceiling beams, pillars, etc. But do make sure to check whether the wall is capable of holding your weight.
You can find all the necessary parts in our shop or use spare parts you have lying around your flat. For the heavy lift slings, provided you use them instead of rings, you’ll have to visit your local DIY store. You should make sure that the slings are at least 4-5cm in width and possibly even lightly padded. Alternatively, you can use training handles.
Tie the two cords in an overhand knot around the slings. It is important that the cords go through the heavy lift slings/training handles.
Secure the cord slings to the last sixth of the single rope using a Prusik knot. To do this, use the cord to tie a double cow hitch around the single rope. Make sure that the overhand knot on the cord is neither in the Prusik knot nor in the heavy lift sling.
For safety reasons, tie both ends of the single rope in a simple overhand knot.
Position the pulley in the middle of the single rope so that it can be attached to a tree, pole or hook.
By using a Prusik knot on the heavy lift slings, we can continuously and individually adjust the suspension trainer for different exercises. To do make these adjustments, hold onto the Prusik knot and push it along the single rope.
Notes: it is important for beginners to work with a skilled trainer a couple of times before training on their own. Trainers can show you what you’re doing wrong and correct it before it’s too late!