Use suspension exercises to cap off a successful movement class.
Suspension exercise continues to grow more popular, in part because of its versatility and adaptability. It’s especially effective for mobility because it provides gentle traction that improves muscle flexibility, joint support and spinal decompression.
The sequence below flows seamlessly, stretching all major muscle groups while augmenting joint mobility. It’s a great finish for any type of workout. The sequence bookends are bilateral exercises, which spotlight muscular imbalances; the other three are unilateral moves, which allow participants to work to maximum capacity on each side of the body. Perform the entire sequence at least twice, alternating sides.
Here are some additional tips:
- Keep the load in the low-to-moderate range (an easy vector or pendulum).
- Be mindful, move slowly and deliberately, and breathe from the diaphragm.
- Inhale during extension and exhale during flexion.
- Give students permission to explore their individual boundaries.
- Emphasize proper body alignment, and repeat the paired sequences for at least 2 minutes (or to the point of diminishing returns).
Standing Chest Stretch
- Stand facing away from anchor and walk out until arms are at sides, palms facing forward to feel stretch in chest and shoulders. Feet are offset, back heel pressing down.
- Lift breastbone and breathe slowly, with control.
- Change arm positions or add torso rotation to vary sensation.
- Return to start.
Reminder: Opposite foot will be forward during next sequence.
- Continue facing away from anchor. With right hand in both foot cradles, lift overhead, creating tension in straps. R foot turns in 45 degrees, and left foot turns out 90 degrees.
- Keeping tension on strap, side-bend L and reach free hand down leg, L knee slightly bent. Look up at hand.
- Hold position, or move slowly and deliberately; unhinge and return to start.
Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch
- Continue facing away from anchor. With R hand in both foot cradles, extend arm overhead.
- Step R foot forward and slide L leg back into lunge position.
- Hold for desired number of breaths; return to start.
Frontal-Plane Shoulder Stretch
Keeping foot cradles in same hand, turn away from upraised arm, allowing shoulder to internally rotate as hand comes behind back (sideways to anchor).
- Offset outside foot away from anchor.
- Lean away from anchor until you feel shoulder stretch. Tilt head toward anchor to increase stretch.
- Hold for desired number of breaths and release.
Wide-Stance Hip Hinge
- Take handles in both hands and stand facing anchor, legs in wide stance, arms straight just below chest height.
- Exert even pressure on handles with both hands. Press shoulder blades down.
- Hinge forward from hips, bringing head between arms. Align ears with shoulders, and gaze downward. Hold, or move through slow reps.
- Press down on handles to unhinge, returning to start.
- Face away from anchor to begin next sequence.
Repeat entire sequence using L hand for unilateral exercises.