Suspension training: Silvio Reffo tells us how to do it

«Once again we are here to tell you about and to offer you something new for your vertical routine.

Probably the summer heat makes the gym feel as hot as a furnace, making you tired, lose your motivation, or even, lose the quality of your training. If you are not able to go on vacation and reach a vertical destination in the cool weather or you don’t have air conditioning in your training bunker, here is something, that can probably help you maintain a minimum amount of form.

This is suspension training. There are many tools on the market which can be used to undertake these functional exercises; among these, our “famous” TRX or rings which can be used as a valid system to globally train our body. The heat does not change the use and performance of this equipment, therefore even our ego will thank us!

Why choose to train with a suspension training system compared to simple specific exercises (weights or barbell)? When we climb or undertake any movement, especially when it is anti gravitational, our kinetic chains are triggered in order to manage such an action. From the centre, the so called, “core stability” strength is moved onto the periphery. In fact, a lock off on an overhang does not only activate the muscles in the arm while locking off, but at the same time, many other muscles are recalled to make such a specific movement. The system while in suspension reproduces such mechanics, allowing to undertake a specific job on every single muscle in the entirety of a functional muscular activation very similar to what happens when climbing.

How much time is needed to enjoy a good suspension session? 45 minutes is more than enough to tackle a programme of exercises which can stimulate the majority of muscles involved in climbing.

How many times do these exercises need to be done to gain real improvement? I recommend to undertake such a session a couple times a week, at the same time with a specific climbing session. Obviously, these supports must not be used on their own  during this time of year, but they are also useful during the  physical phase of preparation at the start of the year; the only presence of mind needed is to make the most of them in a moment which is far away from the “performing” period. In fact if on the one hand they allow to train the large muscles, on the other hand they tire them out, making our muscles  “heavier”, in the immediate.

Here are some exercises for a circuit:


Es 1: Serratus anterior,  triceps

When doing pull ups; it is very important to do the exercise with good abdominal activation, keeping the torso straight. To increase the difficulty, do the exercise with more inclination, or vice versa, to make it easier, try and keep more upright.

12 reps x 3 series

Es 2: Pecs

Keep your arms open wide laterally, maintaining your body in a cross position, keeping a good abdominal activation. To increase the difficulty, as in the previous exercise increase the inclination; to decrease the difficulty do the exercise with your knees bent.

12 reps x 3 times


Ex 3: Abs

In the position on the left, pull up your legs to your chest, keeping them straight. It is important in the returning phase to not curve your back. To simplify the exercise bring the legs back by bending your knees.

12 reps x 3 series

Ex 4: Chest and shoulder muscles

Open your arms making an upper cross position. Keep the trunk aligned with a good activation of your abs.

12 reps x 3 series


Ex 5: Lats (latissimus dorsi)

Do pull ups. To increase the difficulty increase the body’s inclination or else do the exercise using one arm at a time.

12 reps x 3 times

Ex 6: Triceps

You have to push with your arms, from the starting position, keeping your body inclined and aligned and elbows bent (photo on the left hand side).

12 reps x 3 series.

Have a great session and enjoy your climbing!»

Text by Silvio Reffo