I received an email today from someone asking me to give him a personal recommendation on which suspension system to buy: TRX Suspension Trainer or War Machine/CrossCore180. The person sending me the email had read my blog post on the TRX Suspension Trainer vs. War Machine/CrossCore180, but gave me a bunch of info about his personal situation and wanted my recommendation on which suspension system to choose. Below is the response that I sent him.
Note that in the original email the person sent me, one of the things he wrote was “I hate the TRX brand with a passion, so if you can avoid recommending them to me, please do.” I figured I’d mention that here just to give context to why I wrote “Now for the recommendation you said you were hoping not to get” prior to recommending the TRX to him.
Yeah, I really don’t care for rotational suspension systems for all of the reasons mentioned in my TRX vs. CrossCore blog post. So for my own purposes, I feel that rotational suspension systems are pretty pointless, and I’d rather use a regular suspension system. If I want to train rotational movements (which I often do), I will use resistance bands, and sometimes bands plus dowel training (i.e. similar to TRX Rip Trainer).
With that being said, the main reason why I would still encourage you to pickup a CrossCore180 is if you think you will get the most enjoyment out of rotational suspended bodyweight training. I strongly believe that the best style of exercise for each individual is the type of exercise that they enjoy. So if you feel that you will enjoy the added instability of a rotational suspension system, and the added challenge of trying to balance on the pulley system, I would strongly encourage you to pickup a CrossCore180.
For me, I thought I would enjoy the added instability and challenge involved with the CrossCore180, but I found the pulley system to be awkward and frankly a pain in the ass. Performing exercises on it felt more like some kind of circus balancing act than an actual workout. The first few times I used the CrossCore180, I loved it. But I quickly got sick of it and went back to regular suspended bodyweight exercise, and I haven’t done any pulley training in well over a year, and probably won’t ever use those types of suspension systems again.
So enjoyment would be the the only potential reason I could think of for why you might choose to buy a CrossCore180 (i.e. if you believe that you will get the most enjoyment out of that type of suspension system, then go for it).
Now for the recommendation you said you were hoping not to get (i.e. a TRX recommendation). To answer your question about whether I’d still recommend a TRX over CrossCore180 to someone who already has a conventional dual-anchor suspension system, my answer is yes, definitely and wholeheartedly.
Since the TRX is a single-anchor design, with handles on both ends of the same strap, with that strap going through a single loop, the TRX forces you to engage your core more than dual-anchor systems do. The TRX will give you feedback if you’re cheating with your dominant side because although the TRX doesn’t allow full rotation, it does allow the straps to slide a few inches either way, so if you’re not keeping equal weight on both handles, the system will slide on you. In my opinion, it’s the perfect amount of strap movement to challenge you to engage your core while allowing you to push/pull with maximum force (something that’s lost on the rotational pulley systems).
So my ultimate recommendation to you will depend on what it is that you want. If you want the piece of equipment that you will enjoy the most, I say choose the CrossCore180 *IF* you believe that the CrossCore180 is the system that you will enjoy the most (I can’t answer that question for you).
If you want my recommendation for the best suspension system that will give you the most effective workouts and challenge you more than your dual-anchor suspension system, I recommend that you purchase a TRX.