Choosing the best suspension trainer is as confusing as ever. As a gym owner, I found the market is swamped and recognizing a good product is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Luckily for you, I spent over 30 hours rating 50 suspension trainers in 14 categories including quality, price, and handle design. I’ve also personally tried many of them with a range of clients during my 20 years of experience as a personal trainer.
If you’re in a hurry, TRX PRO4 is the king of the proverbial hill.
It’s what I’d recommend to most people. It scored the highest against our set of criteria with 14 out of 15.
The design and high-end craftsmanship were never in question because, well, it’s an original TRX. The robust handles make the most difference (compared to lesser products, even the TRX PRO 3). More on that in a second.
My top-rated budget pick is the FitIndex. This 15-piece set one was somewhat of a surprise because I know very little about the brand and have never worked with it.
According to the stats and ratings, it’s just as well-made as some kits that cost 3-4 times more.
- 9 best suspension trainers
- 1. Best suspension trainer overall – TRX PRO4
- 2. Runner-up – TRX HOME2 suspension training system
- 3. Best budget suspension trainer: FITINDEX Fitness Resistance Trainer Kit
- 4. Best suspension trainer for traveling: TRX Tactical Gym
- 5. Best suspension trainer for beginners – Lifeline Jungle Gym suspension training system
- 6. Best at-home suspension trainer: TRX All-in-One Home Gym Bundle
- 7. Best alternative to suspension trainers: Rogue Gymnastic Rings
- 8. Best suspension trainer for cheap: Worldfit ISO Trainer
- 9. Our “if money was no object pick”: Recoil S2 Pro
- Suspension trainer buying guide
- How we choose the best trainers
- FAQs about suspension trainers
- The bottom line for suspension trainers
9 best suspension trainers
You can find out the current price and other user’s ratings on any of the links below. Here are the top picks…
|Name||Best For||Rating (out of 15)||Price|
|TRX PRO4 SYSTEM||Overall||14||$$$$|
|TRX HOME2 SYSTEM||Runner up||13||$$$|
|FITINDEX Fitness Resistance Trainer Kit||Budget||11||$|
|TRX Tactical Gym||Travel||13||$$$$|
|TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle||Home||11||$$$|
|Rogue Gymnastic Rings||Alternative||10||$$|
|WorldFit ISO Trainer||Cheap||9||$|
|Recoil S2 Pro||Money no object||11||$$$$$|
I’ve made a conscious effort to include a range of options for different needs – from professional to home use and alternatives, like gymnastics rings.
I’ll explain more about how we rated each suspension trainer later. But for now, here is why these made the cut…
The PRO4 gets the top spot simply because it’s hard to beat the quality. The rubber handles are very comfortable but don’t catch sweat and are easy to clean, unlike the foam handles.
Scoring 14 out of 15 it is the highest-scoring suspension trainer against our criteria…
To be honest, if you asked me how to improve on the PRO3 a few years ago, I’d have problems coming up with a meaningful answer.
That all changed when PRO4 arrived and I started sweating it out. The handles of the PRO3 feel a peg more rigid, and the grip is not as comfy, especially when you get a serious sweat going.
Apart from feeling more comfortable and robust than any TRX handle I’ve held before, it’s also antimicrobial. This kills and reduces the spread of germs and bacteria on the handles.
The PRO4 was launched back in 2016. And including an antimicrobial handle in pre-COVID times is either serious visionary design or pure luck.
It’s more likely the latter but, whatever the case, kudos to TRX for that.
Check out the 2-minute video below to see more about what the TRX PRO4 provides…
Handles aside, the most significant improvement is the adjustable strap of the foot cradle. This is a massive plus for gyms and families who share one TRX. We’re all built differently, so the option to cater for different-sized feet is a big win, and I tip my hat to TRX for thinking of it.
I also love the new gray-black-yellow color scheme, as do most of my clients. It’s not a big deal use-wise; it just looks way cooler in a club setting.
When it comes to the strap material and anchor, not much has changed.
And it wouldn’t make much sense if it did.
The heavy-duty straps are what you’d expect from TRX – industrial-grade durability that’s still flexible enough for free movement. The weight limit is the same as it was for the PRO 3 – 350 pounds.
PRO4 is great for homes, but where it truly outshines its predecessor is the gym.
Take it from a gym owner.
PRO4 killed two birds with one stone:
- It solved a common problem I’ve seen with previous versions – the foot straps being too big. For some of my clients with small feet, the loose foot straps made using the TRX much more challenging.
- It eliminated the “who-touched-this-before-me” thoughts with the easy-to-clean rubber handles. And with the way things are going, those thoughts are here to stay.
|Handle material||Antimicrobial rubber|
|Adjustable foot straps||Yes|
|Max user weight||350 lbs|
- Great handles – the new improved rubber handle is comfier, slips less, and eliminates microbes.
- Adjustable foot straps – snug adjustable fit feels safer, especially if your feet are on the smaller side or you want to work out barefoot.
- One-year app access – guided on-demand workouts from TRX pros are a huge plus for beginners.
- Locking carabiner – eliminates the chances of theft if you’re installing it outside.
- New color scheme – the new gray adds to the coolness factor, especially in a club/gym.
- Premium price – only one set on the list (the Recoil S2) costs more than the PRO4
HOME2 is TRX’s best seller and my runner-up for two reasons:
- It offers the same quality materials as the kits from the PRO series, for less money
- It’s the only set in the HOME series with adjustable foot straps
The trade-off between my top-rated PRO4 and this kit is this – the PRO4 costs a bit more and comes with better handles.
HOME2 features adjustable foot straps, which makes the world of difference for families looking to share one kit.
In fact, only the PRO4 and this version have this feature as you can see…
Adjustable foot straps are ideal if multiple people use the TRX. There’s nothing worse than being mid exercise and your foot slipping out or finishing your set only to find your foot is stuck and you can’t get down safely!
In terms of sheer quality, it’s superior to (almost) all the non-TRX entries on the list.
When I say “sheer quality,” I mean the craftsmanship of the stitching and the robust nylon-webbing that stands the test of time like none other. You pay a premium for TRX, but you’re buying great quality – bear that in mind before considering cheaper alternatives.
When I say “almost,” I mean that some products on the list are better than HOME2 in specific aspects (like rubber handles) but cost significantly more.
Overall, for moderate home use, HOME2 ticks all the boxes.
|Adjustable foot straps||Yes|
|Max user weight||350 lbs|
- Budget-friendly – if rubber handles are not a biggie, you’ll pay less for HOME2 than you would for PRO4 and get the same quality
- Improved foot straps design – adjustable loops fit more snugly and feel safer
- Free app access for one year – you save a pretty penny (currently $49.95) by getting free access to the guided workouts in the app
- Foam handles – compared to rubber handles, foam is not as good in terms of grip and longevity.
Note: I don’t have a special relationship with TRX, nor did I receive free products (which is not unheard of in the industry). I’m digressing here to stress that this guide is about objectively choosing the best kit. The rating system is based on data and bias-free.
In terms of durability, FitIndex is easily comparable to products that cost a few times more. The carabiners and the mounting kit are robust. The zinc alloy buckles are tough as nails but still slide smoothly over the straps.
The main resistance straps are independently adjustable and feature clear printed markings. This makes the FitIndex easier to use and more newbie-friendly. The FITINDEX also has a maximum user weight of 400 lbs, so it’s a great option for the heavier user.
I was honestly surprised when an obvious winner emerged in this category, standing a head taller than hundreds of budget options out there.
Two thumbs up from me.
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||400 lbs|
- Budget-friendly – you pay much less for comparable quality.
- Robust build – heavier metal connectors feel safer than lighter composites, especially if you’re just starting out.
- Well-marked – large printed markings on the straps make the length adjustment easier.
- Generously sized handle loop – makes it easier to get your feet in and out.
- Simple mounting – cuts the initial installation time and makes it easier to move the kit.
- High max user weight – ideal for the heavier people who want a suspension trainer option
- Carabiners are not spring-loaded – securing a carabiner by using a screw takes a bit more time than a “regular” spring-loaded carabiner
TRX Tactical Gym is all about portability – it’s lighter, packs smaller, and comes with a handy carrying bag.
Weighing only 1.2lbs it’s the lightest option on this list and is super easy to transport.
The carabiners and the adjusters are made from a light composite that’s just as durable as any metal but weighs much less. Moreover, setting it up and putting it away is a breeze. If you travel a lot and are looking for a portable gym, this is the one for you.
The handles are durable rubber and are just as good as those of the PRO4.
The foot straps are not adjustable, which is a moot point for this kit because the target audience is not likely to work out barefoot or share their TRX with anyone.
The portability-focused design is well-executed and the looks press those “alpha-male buttons” much better than black and yellow. That goes both for the user and the onlooker.
To illustrate the portability, we’re including an unboxing video of the TRX Tactical Gym.
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||350 lbs|
- Tough but light – it allows you to easily pack and carry it without sacrificing the quality of the workout you’ll get on the road.
- It comes with stabilizers – for some people, fixing the locking loop will feel safer.
- Rubber non-slip handles – much better grip and longevity than foam handles.
- The coolness factor – the imposing color scheme will be a conversation starter for sure, even for those familiar with TRX.
- Practical carry bag – this adds to the travel-friendliness of the kit. Besides, the bag looks cool on its own.
- Premium price – like with other TRX units, the premium build quality comes with a price tag to match.
- Foot straps not adjustable – might not feel as safe as PRO4 or HOME2 if you have very small feet.
Lifeline Jungle is my top pick for beginners for two reasons:
- The split anchor system
- The foot cradle
Split anchor design means that the two straps are attached independently, which is easier to do if you’re new to suspension training than trying to figure out the angles and positioning of a single anchor.
More importantly, it allows you to change the forces by adjusting the angles, from narrow through neutral to wide.
The foot cradles will be a big plus for newbies because suspending your feet feels weird when you’re just starting out. The foot cradles feel safer than pulling your feet through the straps.
Finally, the investment is not nearly as significant as buying a TRX.
On the flip-side, it does come with plastic handles but I don’t see this as a deal-breaker because not many a beginner will mind a firm grip. Furthermore, they’re easier to clean than foam.
I was skeptical about the durability so I went back 5 years in my research of user experiences. I did not find a single case of the handles cracking for other people, but I’ve had a pair at my gym that cracked. I might have been in the minority given the other reviews, but bear in mind it could happen.
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||600 lbs (300 each strap)|
- Split anchors – separate straps are easier to set up and allow you to change the intensity by adjusting the angles.
- Foot cradles– they feel safer and put less stress on the bridge of the foot
- Integrated non-scuff door anchor – eliminates the risk of damaging the top of your door
- Extender loops – make it more versatile because it allows you to secure to bars, pipes, or a tree, even if the branches are thick.
- Incredibly strong – the heaviest max user weight pure suspension trainer I’ve ever seen
- Plastic handles – not as comfortable as rubber
I awarded this kit the ‘best at-home’ badge because of the balance between versatility and price. It feels like the ideal ‘entry level’ TRX kit – perfectly suited to suspension trainer beginners.
If you’re confused by the TRX kits out there and whether to get the bands or not, your best bet is the All-in-one bundle. You get it all and pay less than you would for most of the newer TRX arrivals.
The All-in-one comes with a suspension training kit, mount anchors for indoor and outdoor use, resistance bands, and a shaker bottle as a nice finishing touch.
It’s far cheaper than a gym machine. But if you are looking for an all-in-one home gym then be sure to check out an depth guide here.
If I were to nitpick, I’d mention that the handles are foam (meaning not as good or durable as rubber), and the foot straps are not adjustable.
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||350 lbs|
- Complete bundle – eliminates the confusion of which pieces to get or leave out (which is often the case with the rubber bands).
- Pricing – costs less than most TRX kits on this list.
- Detailed workout guide – if you’re starting out, the full-color 35-page workout guide will make it much easier.
- Shaker bottle included – not a big deal, but a nice touch that adds to the experience of getting a TRX.
- Foam handles – not likely to last as long as rubber would
If most of your workout routine is focused on dips and pull-ups, you might prefer the no-fuss design of rings over a classic suspension kit. The rings are super strong, suitable for all, and provide a different user experience. At my gym, I have both suspension trainers and rings, because the rings are more suitable for dips and gymnastic movements such as muscle-ups.
On that note- if you are looking for pull up alternative exercises, then check out our guide here.
As far as rings go, this kit from Rogue is a great choice. The training straps are durable and well-marked, the buckles are sturdy, and the rings are not plastic but laminated birch.
Rings typically can take more weight on them and last longer than suspension trainers…
The great thing about Rogue’s wooden rings is that they can be used inside or outside. Just don’t leave wood outside when it’s raining for obvious reasons!
|Handle material||Wood (birch)|
|Adjustable foot straps||N/A|
|Max user weight||661.3 lbs (300 kg)|
- Simpler – if you only perform a few exercises, the simple design of the rings will be easier to use.
- Budget-friendly – these costs significantly less than your average suspension kit.
- High-end wood rings – wood like birch has better grip and load-bearing capacity than plastic.
- Design – the markings are prominent, it’s easily adjustable, and you can fold away the excess strap.
- Offers a different use case – rings are suitable for gymnastic movements that suspension trainers just don’t work for
- Not as versatile as a suspension kit – not a good fit for people looking to perform hamstring curls or certain specific exercises using the rings as a foot anchor
Wordfit ISO is my top pick in the category because it’s the most well-rounded isometric kit I know.
Yes, yes, I get that it’s not a suspension trainer per se, but I’m including it to make a point – isometric training is a great way to supplement bodyweight resistance training and free weights.
There are limits to the Wordfit ISO, but contrast that with the vastly lower price point and the specific use case of the equipment.
Believe me, I’ve seen it.
If you’ve never tried isometric workouts, there’s a good chance the stability improvements will be shocking.
I’ve used these to break through plateaus with some of my most advanced clients. I raise a few eyebrows every time I mention it.
Wherever your eyebrow is right now, the truth is that isometric training protocols work.
They’re not as fun as packing the whole gym onto the squat rack and yelling, “Lightweight, baby!” but they work.
I believe the reasons for that are two-fold:
- A plateau is not always about the major muscles – more often than not, it’s about your body protecting itself against injury of the stabilizers and tendons.
- We measure strength by concentric movement (muscle tension rising to meet resistance). But, as far as the brain is concerned, concentric and eccentric movements are very different. The answer to the plateau might lie in improving the eccentric phase of muscle contraction (increase in length under tension).
|Worldfit ISO Trainer|
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||N/A|
- Cheap – you’ll pay 10-20% of what you’d pay for a TRX. Still, this is a US-made product that delivers on its promise.
- Simple – the simple design and solid buckles allow for fast and easy switches between iso movements.
- Well-made – manufactured in the US from military-grade webbing.
- Controlled intensity – the angles are just right to get the most out of an iso workout.
- Easier on the joints – less movement puts less stress on the joints than full-range suspension movement or weight lighting.
- Limited intensity – you won’t build muscle with an ISO trainer. That’s not because you can’t work out all major muscle groups but because you can’t safely push your intensity limits.
- Could use longer training straps – if you’re over 6 ft. high, you probably won’t be able to do a press at full extension.
- Not using your bodyweight – this is an obvious one; you’ll need something else for body-weight resistance exercises like dips and pul-ups.
The recoil system is what sets this kit apart. It significantly cuts the time between exercises and eliminates the most tedious (read: boring) part of suspension training – the strap adjustments.
For most people, this will be a huge plus.
The smart design makes it more travel-friendly since the door anchor is usually the bulkiest piece.
The packing pouch is also a door stopper. On top of that, you can add a counterweight (like a water bottle) into the pouch when you mount it to a door. This makes it more secure.
Bottom line – there are many awesome details to praise about the Recoil S2 Pro, but what makes the most difference is the strap length control of the recoil unit.
If money is no object, this eye candy will be a game-changer.
|Recoil S2 Pro|
|Adjustable foot straps||No|
|Max user weight||330 lbs|
- High-end product – the finish and attention to detail are second to none – from the packaging to the instructions.
- Recoiling straps – you adjust the straps by pushing a button on the recoil unit and then locking it at a chosen length. It’s easy, fast, and eliminates any fuss over getting the length even.
- Rubber wall mount – the backside of the recoil unit is made of rubber so that it doesn’t scratch the wall when mounted. Again, attention to detail is impressive.
- Smart design – the whole thing packs into a compact carrying bag that also doubles as a door anchor.
- Expensive – costs more than any kit on the list.
- Not the strongest – max user weight is relatively low, so bear that in mind if you’re a big guy
Suspension trainer buying guide
(what to look for & what to avoid)
A suspension training kit is a deceptively simple piece of gear.
You might be thinking, “It’s just a couple of straps with handles and a locking loop; how different could they be?”
This is the answer – enough to be the difference between falling in love with suspension training and giving up on the first day.
Below are my top 4 make-or-break quality aspects.
1. Adjustability of a suspension trainer – not what you think it is
In my experience, adjustability goes beyond the quality of the cam buckles and the equalizer (locking) loop – it’s also about the craftsmanship and sturdiness of the straps.
When new, the buckles of a well-made knockoff will adjust just as easily as a TRX. It’s only after a few months that you’ll start noticing the difference.
The markings take the guesswork out of the length adjustment. This can shave off a nice chunk of the workout time by eliminating the eyeballing and re-adjustments. Trust me, I started buying suspension trainers in 2008 when the TRX was relatively new. It didn’t have strap markers on and I would spend a lot of time making minute adjustments to get the straps balanced!
This is one of the best features of the TRX PRO4.
It’s about fraying and grip for suspension trainers
In my experience, adjustability is not about the locking loop but the fraying of the straps. As soon as the straps stop being mint, the extra friction messes with the movement and the grip of the cam buckles.
As a result, you don’t get that smooth adjustment anymore.
Note: You can also mess with the friction and cause fraying by not adjusting the straps properly. Below is an excellent video on how to adjust a suspension kit for minimal wear and tear.
Adjustable foot straps on suspension trainers are a massive plus
Foot straps that allow you to choose how snugly they “hug” your feet are a no-brainer. It’s odd because I didn’t think of this as a problem until a ‘solution’ was introduced – now I think it’s a great move and a really practical introduction!
This is a game-changer for three groups of people:
- Those who felt unsafe when their feet are suspended (in exercises like pikes, planks, and oblique crunches)
- People with small feet – you’d be surprised by how many times I’ve heard this as a reason (read: excuse) to stay away from suspension training (I’m looking at you, Sharon)
- People who love to work out barefoot – it’s now a matter of time before TRX yoga becomes a thing and give aerial yoga studios a run for their money.
Some people want to use a suspension trainer in a room in the house such as the living room or kitchen.
If that’s the case you want to suspension trainer to look good when not in use.
Most suspension trainers need to be dangled down from something and are a big eye sore. However, the Recoil S2 Pro coils up into a shell to make it look like part of the furniture.
2. Durability of a suspension trainer
Durability is a pretty straightforward quality aspect. In our ratings, it carried points in two separate categories:
- Quality/thickness of the material, stitching, handles and anchors
- Max user weight
None of our top picks lost a single point in the two categories – a perfect 28 out of 28.
It’s a big reason the LifeLine Jungle gets our top pick for beginners. They are affordable but the quality of the straps are great.
What it’s really about
It comes to the ruggedness of the straps, the quality of the stitching, and above all, the anchor points. If the anchor points fail you could find yourself on the back end of a nasty fall, so they need to be good.
Let me be clear here – there’s a lot of vague lingo in the descriptions of the products. If you took everyone’s claims at face value, each kit is “extremely durable.”
The reality is that the critical spots are the mounting points, and (less often) the handles and connectors.
Here’s a dirty little secret – durability is not about tears
Even the inferior suspension kits will still be made from flat nylon webbing, which is tough as nails (the tubular version of the same material is used for climbing gear).
Let’s look at the durability numbers of nylon webbing:
- Tensile strength of 7000 to 9800 lbs per one inch of width
- It can naturally stretch 5-7% at capacity
- It can stretch over 30% before breaking
My point about straps durability
None of these suspension trainers are going to tear. The stitching might come loose with the lower quality ones, but the nylon wouldn’t tear even if you exceeded the weight limit.
Durability in the strictest sense of the word makes limited sense when we’re talking about the straps. It’s more about resistance to wear and fraying.
Because worn-out straps are worthless at best and dangerous at worst. They interfere with the workout angles and the grip of the buckles.
3. Size of a suspension trainer
Size is reflected in two of our 14 quality categories.
We judged the kits on the following:
- Whether the design was compact and portable
- Whether they weigh under 3 lbs
Personally, I prefer the adjustable designs over the sets that come with dozens of pieces.
Apart from being less bulky, they’re easier on the eye and allow you to maintain a workout rhythm once you get “in the zone.”
I prefer them for the same reasons I prefer nuts clamps over nuts on a barbell.
The TRX Tactical Gym is by far the best lightweight option for travel weighing only 1.2lbs.
4. Suspension trainer price
Suspension trainers cost anywhere from 30 to 300 bucks.
I’d stay away from the cheap stuff, especially if you’re just beginning. The best suspension trainers do cost a pretty penny, but they’re worth it.
Cheap kits are a no-no for beginners for two reasons:
- I’ve seen people give up for reasons specific to the poorly made product – not the suspension training system
- Most of the best suspension trainers that cost more offer refunds if you don’t like the product (30 days for TRX)
My point about price
Getting a cheap suspension training kit increases the chances of giving up for all the wrong reasons. I see it all the time.
It’s OK to say that it’s not for you, but make sure you gave it a serious go.
A suspension trainer is a legitimate training tool that offers you versatility, portability, and work-out solutions that other items just can’t get near. It’s worth investing in a good quality one.
Saying that- I know some people have a budget constraint. The FitIndex is for people that want a cheaper alternative scoring 11 out of 15 and better than other low-priced options.
If you want a super cheap option then check out the WorldFit ISO trainer.
How we choose the best trainers
At Strong Home Gym, we’re all about standing out in the crowded space of gear reviews. We make sure of it by taking an experience and data-driven (rather than opinion-based) approach.
Here’s what I did for this guide:
- I compiled a list of 50 suspension trainers to research
- I defined the rating criteria (listed below) by consulting our in-house team of personal trainers and gear experts
- I tested some of the kit myself and watched hours of video tests
- I went through thousands of user reviews and opinions gathered the raw data into a massive database
- I statistically analyzed the database to pick the winners
The criteria I used to rate the suspension trainers:
- Easy to adjust
- Individual straps (are the straps connected together or not)
- Measurement markings (marks on straps to help adjust to specific ft or in)
- Removable foot straps
- Adjustable foot straps
- Thick/quality material/stitching
- Max user weight: over 300 lbs
- Handle material (use rubber over foam)
- Good for pull-ups/dips (rings like Rogue’s are a better option than most suspension trainers if you want to focus on dips or pull ups)
- Compact and portable design
- Weight under 3lbs
- Wall mount included and/or option
- Workouts (Guide) included
- Consumer opinion
We keep our picks fresh
We regularly update the database and the guide to keep the picks relevant at all times. This means that even if you don’t decide on a trainer today, it’s wise to bookmark this page and come back when you’re ready.
FAQs about suspension trainers
Are suspension trainers good?
Suspension trainers such as the TRX are good. Not only are they convenient, but they increase muscle activation, joint, and core stability compared to performing the same exercise on a stable surface.
There’s no lack of cross-sectional studies (like this one) that proved time and again that controlled instability recruits more muscle.
They’re an exercise solution for your travels – throw one in your rucksack and you’ve got a gym wherever you go. Whether that’s a hotel room, a forest, a park or a soccer pitch. You can’t say the same about a treadmill or a barbell!
Are TRX bands worth the money?
TRX bands like these are worth the money. Apart from making financial sense, they are also worth it from an effort-vs-gain perspective.
My experience is that choosing a good product makes or breaks people’s experiences with suspension trainers. They also boast a build quality that you just can’t ignore.
I’ve heard plenty of people complain about the price… but I’ve never heard anyone complain about the quality. Draw your own conclusions.
This is what I’ve often seen over the years – people walk through the door of my gym, cringe at the mention of suspension training because “they have one at home and it doesn’t work,” and become believers within one hour.
Which suspension trainer is best?
TRX PRO4 is the best suspension trainer on the market today. The craftsmanship is as good as we’ve come to expect from the TRX PRO series, while the handles and the foot straps are better.
TRX advertises it as their “most advanced and versatile ever.” Based on the stats and what I’ve seen in practice, they have earned the right to do so.
It’s THE ONLY set on the list that scored a perfect 14 against our set of quality criteria, and it’s not even the most expensive in the top 9.
Is suspension training better than weights?
Yes, suspension training is better than weights if you want to challenge your core in new ways. Especially if your goal is to provide stabilizing muscles with new challenges, rehab weak points, provide an element of instability to your training, and even take the ability to train on the road with you.
However, if you want to build maximum muscle and strength, the no a suspension trainer is not better than weights. There are better options than suspension trainers – barbells and dumbbells being the case in point.
There’s a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine that compared the results of weight and similar TRX exercises and found “no significant differences” between the two (you can see it here).
I always quote it when I mention suspension training and get an eye roll from a client.
The portability of the suspension trainer over other kit doesn’t need any explanation.
The reality is suspension trainers are a tool. Just like a kettlebell is a tool. A barbell is a tool. A dumbbell is a tool. The benefit is in how you use it.
I personally love suspension training and use my suspension trainers on a weekly basis. They provide workout variety and challenges that are hard to replicate in other ways, therefore justifying their existence in my (and eventually your) gym.
One caveat of suspension training
I’d like to digress for a second here because I was taken aback by the lack of concise information on one key aspect of suspension training.
There is one group of people for whom suspension training can’t replace weights. It’s advanced gym-goers looking to pack on extra muscle.
The reason is simple – you can’t safely mimic that kind of intensity. In these cases, suspension training can supplement a workout plan but not replace weights.
There’s no study I can quote to back up my opinion on this because none were ever done. However, you find the exact equipment we recommend you start with to build your home gym here.
The bottom line for suspension trainers
After 30+ hours of scrutiny, we now have clear takeaways and can confidently recommend a few winners that are worth your buck.
Overall, the TRX PRO4 tops the list of best suspension trainers.
I can’t even say the race was close with a straight face.
PRO4 is either the clear winner or shares the top spot in all the key aspects – grip, comfort, safety, durability, and ease of use. The improvements to the handles and the foot straps proved too much for the competition.
In the budget category, our winner is the FitIndex resistance training kit. It’s built like a tank and costs as much as a decent lunch.
You can skip back up to the table of nine winners by clicking this link.
Or you can find some ideas on how to use suspension trainers in our guides such as our t bar row alternatives guide.