The Blast Straps are the newest way to
perform bodyweight exercises in a challenging way. These movements are
excellent as they allow athletes to move their bodies against external
resistance in a multi-dimensional environment. They also force athletes
to move their bodies against unstable forces. If you compare a barbell
bench press to a Blast Strap push up, you will notice that the athlete
can use the bench, the floor and the barbell to help stabilize the
weight. With the Blast Strap push up, the body is being moved instead of
a barbell and thus the body has to stabilize itself during the exercise.
This incorporates many more muscles because of the stabilization effect.
Suspended push-ups have been a part of many training programs but
setting them up has always been a pain.
Blast Straps are sold by Elite Fitness
Although the heavy duty nylon straps, clasps and handles are made very
well, I decided to make a cheap pair myself and save the $60 cost of the
originals. There is another version of these suspension straps out
now called the
TRX system that is being publicized
heavily... not bad if you don't mind paying $149!
As you can see from the
picture above, I used a small amount of rope, some PVC pipe, some strong
cargo tie down straps (mostly because they were adjustable) and some
heavy duty clips... all of which I picked up at home depot for about
$10-$15. Depending on what you want to put into them, you can
include actual cable handles (stirrup handles) instead of the rope and pipe method.
The below youtube video may provide a better visual:
So far they work really well
and I haven't had a face plant... yet. I don't perform all the
exercises advertised, but there is nothing like the suspended pushups
for a good stability (core) chest workout! Enjoy!
The only drawback that I have
with the blast straps, or any of the other adjustable
suspension straps, is the need to adjust them. This can
slow things down when working with multiple people and I have
actually made multiple sets of blast straps just because of
this. I first saw the USA on the
As you can see
from the picture, the USA has a series of rungs like a mini
ladder. This allows you to rapidly switch positions,
level, and resistance simply by grabbing a different rung of
the ladder. A very simple yet practical solution to my
The USA handles are designed to rotate freely which allows for
less friction on the skin, yet forcing fingers, wrists and
forearms to work harder than on a stabilized bar.
The unique design of the USA also allows for it to be used in
a non-suspended manner for both isometric and resisted
exercises as you fight your own body force.
certain advantages to the USA versus the competition:
The USA can be climbed!
Climbing this thing w/o using your feet (you can put your
feet behind you or in front of you while climbing) is a
really great exercise. Just start on your butt and
grab rung after rung.
When two USA apparatuses are attached to one another in
series you get a total length of about 16 feet and 24
steps. That's a lot of climbing fun!
No adjustments necessary.
Beginners can do exercises (ie. pushups) starting with
higher rungs on the ladder. As strength builds you can
start going to lower rungs to make the exercise harder.
All positions (Easy/Moderate/Hard) are readily available
w/o any need for adjustment. BIG plus.
With a novice client, most
are unable to do chinups or a pullups. The USA allows them
to utilize leg assistance while pulling up on the higher
rungs or a bar the USA is attached to. They can control
how much leg assistance they want.
Like rings, the USA is
portable and anything that can be done on rings can be
done using the USA.
You can do Isometric training with the USA.
recently received a response to my monthly newletter from a fellow
do-it-yourselfer, Ken Kenton, regarding his DIY version of the
USA. He used chain for his USA rather than straps or rope.
You can tell that this design is going to last for quite some time
compared to the original design!
I especially like the way that he
used the C couplings at each of the rung connections to join the 3
ends of the chain. Chain does require a bolt cutter or
similar tool to cut into pieces, but it is far superior in
durability to the rope and straps.
While very durable,
Ken estimated the construction costs of his chain USA at around
$100 for the pair, which really isn't too bad considering that my
pair of USA originals ran about $80 + shipping. Great job