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Playing on the Jungle Gym XT

JungleGymXTSuspension training is one of my favorite ways to build rockin’ muscles. Not only do you get a killer strength workout (sometimes cardio, too, if you do enough squats and lunges!), you also feel like a total athletic bad ass, as the moves are fluid, functional and more natural feeling than curling dumbbells in a gym. While the TRX has long been our go-to suspension training tool, there’s a new piece of equipment in town and we just had to try it. (Sorry beloved TRX, FBG duty calls!)

Made by LifelineUSA, the Jungle Gym XT, captured our attention by calling itself the next generation of suspension trainer. I tried it out for a few workouts, and it lived up to the hype. With a split design that allows you to better change the width of your arms and do one-handed exercises, and more durable and comfortable foot cradles (I was surprised to find this simple change totally awesome), it really is an improvement on your basic suspension training system. Kinda like driving a Cadillac after you’ve been rollin’ in an Escort. Not to say that the Escort is bad…but you know what I mean. It’s the Grey Poupon of suspension training.

The Jungle Gym XT comes with a 55-minute instructional DVD broken into three segments that show a variety of pulling, pushing and floor exercises, as well as progression techniques. It also comes with a wall poster featuring full-body workouts for beginner, intermediate and advanced users, as well as basic technique and tips. It’s truly a get-you-started and kick-your-ass guide. ‘Cause seriously, some of the intermediate and advanced exercises are tough to just watch someone else do, let alone do yourself. From planks to flies to gymnastic-like core moves (think Olympic rings!) to inverted pikes (um, upside down ish!) to explosive plyometrics to everything in between, there are exercises to challenge any level of exerciser. And at about $100, it’s like getting a health club in your house for a one-time lifetime price. Can’t beat that.

So who wins the suspension-training battle? The TRX or the Jungle Gym XT? While I can’t deny that the Jungle Gym XT has the upper-hand on awesome upgrades and features, there’s something about that first love that I just can’t shake. (Maybe it’s the black and gold colors that match my alma matter?) So I’m calling it a draw. Yellow mustard or Grey Poupon? You decide. —Jenn

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