Suspension Training is the next best option to Body Weight Training. Suspension straps allow you to use leverage to lessen the amount of body weight resisting gravity. This is especially helpful during pregnancy when the body has extra weight on it. The strap assists with squatting and get the arms involved in the movement.

Muscle Emphasis

Legs: gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, hamstrings, gastroc nemius.
Arms: latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, deltoids, biceps.

Starting Position

Attach the strap securely to a door or tree. Give it a tug to be sure. Grip the handles on the strap firmly. Walk the body into a position where elbows are at your sides and shoulder blades retracted (pulled together). Place your feet hip width apart and align the body from head to toe as if leaning against a stiff board.

*Walk the feet further forward to increase difficulty.

Movement Down

Slowly sit back into a squat position. Allow the arms to extend. Keep the legs active and glutes engaged as you lower your hips towards the floor. Move slowly, one inch at a time. If you feel comfortable, lower all the way to the floor. Keep the shoulder blades anchored down as if they are tied to your hips.

Movement Up

Engage the upper back muscles (lats, rhomboids) and glutes to initiate your return. Press all the way down through your feet as you bring your body back up to a standing position. Move slowly, one inch at a time so that a maximum number of muscles get recruited. Add a row at the top to work the arms and upper back further.

*Move the legs wider than hip width to change the leg muscles being recruited.

Tips for Proper Form

  • Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement, keeping the head aligned over the body.
  • Focus your eyes on the top of the door, near where the wall meets the ceiling to keep your neck aligned.
  • Engage the abdominal and core muscles to support the spine.
  • Use your muscles to control movement and minimize reliance on the strap to hold your weight.


Common Mistakes

  • Shrugging shoulders to ears.
  • Rounding back to far forward or back. 
  • Knocking knees together.


Closing Comments

This exercise allows a pregnant woman to work on deep squatting, which strengthens the body for labor and stretches the hips. Because there is consistent weight gain during pregnancy, the strap helps counterbalance the weight as muscles are built to support the changes. 

Are you pregnant or training someone who is? What exercises ave you found most helpful? Join the conversation on our Facebook page to comment on this article or ask questions.

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Image Credit: Beverly Hosford – 9 months pregnant
SBT Suspension Strap provided by SBT Extreme

Beverly Hosford

Beverly Hosford, MA teaches anatomy and body awareness using a skeleton named Andy, balloons, play-doh, ribbons, guided visualizations, and corrective exercises. She is an instructor, author, and a business coach for fitness professionals. Learn how to help your clients sleep better with in Bev’s NFPT Sleep Coach Program and dive deeper into anatomy in her NFPT Fundamentals of Anatomy Course.