- By allenfalkner
This list of suspensions is ever growing. If you would like to add to this page or have a photo of one of the positions below you would like included please send it to us via the contact page.
The first five suspensions listed below are often considered to be the basic positions from which most others are derived.
Horizontal Face Up (“Coma”)
This suspension takes place hooked from the front of the body and hung horizontally. Some people refer to this as a “coma” suspension after the movie “Coma”. Mentally this can be difficult for less experienced people due to the fact that the individual can easily see the hooks and the skin stretching upward. However, once the person is relaxed, and with the use of a head support, many can hang for long periods of time.
It has been suggested by many that this suspension should be renamed the “Rolf” because he has performed this suspension hundreds of times.
Vertical Chest suspension (“O-Kee-Pa”)
This suspension takes place hooked from the front of the body and hung vertically. Many people refer (quite possibly offensively) to this as an “O-Kee-Pa” suspension because it looks similar to a Native American rite of the same name. The vertical chest suspension is considered to be one of the more painful suspensions. Problems reported include difficulty breathing coupled with intense pain in the sternum and armpit areas.
It should be noted that many people strongly object to the use of the term “O-Kee-Pa” to refer to a vertical chest suspension, as “O-Kee-Pa” in actuality refers to a complex and deeply meaningful cultural ritual that very few modern people understand. A two point vertical chest suspension is no more an “O-Kee-Pa” than drinking a glass of wine at dinner is taking communion.
Vertical Back suspension (“Suicide”)
This suspension takes place hooked from the back of the body and hung vertically. Most people refer to this as a “suicide” suspension because the body appears to be hanging by a noose. This is one of the easier, less confining suspensions and one that many people choose to start with — vertical back suspensions generally allow greater freedom of movement while suspended (the arms and legs not usually being pierced and thus free to move). This can be a pro or a con depending on the person.
Suicide suspension is definitely the favorite style to date, although, this suspension was originally thought to be difficult for first time suspendees because there is more weight per hook than with horizontal suspensions, making the initial lift more painful. However, it has now become one of the most common suspensions for first timers. The discomfort from this position is often minimal, with the most common complaint being lower back pain.
Horizontal Face Down (“Superman”)
This suspension takes place hooked from the back of the body and hung horizontally. Many people refer to this as a “superman” suspension since the position resembles Superman flying. Due to the fact that the hooks can be distributed to a larger area of the body, this style is considered to be the easiest of the suspensions. Some novices find this to be a good first suspension. It seems the biggest complaint about this suspension is that back of the legs can be a very sensitive and piercing them is a somewhat upsetting thought to many.
As with the “coma” once a person is up they can often hang for long periods of time.
This suspension takes place hooked from the knees and hung vertically with the head closest to the ground and the knees at the top. Many people refer to this as a “Falkner” suspension since Allen Falkner is the first known person to ever attempt this particular configuration. It is not considered to be an extremely painful suspension, but the drawbacks include lower back pain and ripping of skin in the areas around the knees. Another factor of this suspension is the increased blood pressure to the brain due to the inverted position, which can lead to disorientation and cause headaches.
The knee was most likely the first of the inverted positions and has spawned several different configurations including thigh, calf, and single knee suspensions.
Similar to the rotisserie, see below, the 360 is a suspension that flips end over end, upright to invert and back to upright. Hooks are generally placed in the chest, back, and knees, with other support hooks sometimes placed in the legs and sides.
Suspension rigged to imitate Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam fresco painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
This style is a variation on the suicide – instead of hooks placed horizontally along the back, 4-8 hooks are placed vertically, 2-4 on either side of the spine. once rigged, the rope gives the appearance of angel wings.
A combination of the ‘falling angel’ and the ‘angel’ suspensions, with hooks down the sides of the chest/stomach and sides of the back, with rigline running to make a winged shape from hooks to rigplate.
A suspension in which the suspendee hangs from hooks placed in the buttcheeks, with hooks ranging from one to several hooks, but most commonly two or four.
A vertical suspension in which the arms are arched overhead and one or both legs are bent to resemble a ballerina dancing. Hook placement has many options, but has included the back, arms, stomach, and legs.
A type of body suspension where hooks are placed through the skin of the calves and you hang upside down.
A suspension where hooks are placed in the upper back and sides of the knees, so the suspendee is curled up with the knees up to the chest so that it resembles a person jumping into a pool cannonball style. The arms can be wrapped around the the legs or under the legs.
A vertical suspension with hooks placed in a straight line down the center of the chest/stomach as well as down the center of the back along the spine. The rigline is typically run in an outward direction to pull it away from the body.
The chair is a modified version of the seated position with the arms held in place.
Crucifix of Scarecrow
This suspension takes place hooked from the upper back and hung vertically. It is a vertical back suspension with hooks also placed in the arms to force them to be held horizontally.
A two person suspension in which both suspendees are vertical. One suspendee is in a standard crucifix position, while the other is in a variation of the same pose, except with the arms angled upward and the legs held further open with additional hooks supporting them. From a straight on view the arms and legs of the person behind them can be seen, giving a look similar to da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man image.
A suspension from hooks placed around the elbow. Usually three hooks per elbow are used, though hanging the entire body weight on such thin skin often leads to ripping, so sometimes this is combated by using multiple hooks in each arm.
Hanging from hooks in the face is very dangerous and should not be attempted. Even seasoned professionals agree that the pressure on the neck could cause permanent damage.
An angel suspension done from the front.
This suspension has hooks placed in the legs and back, with the knees tucked up to the chest.
This suspension is two hooks, one placed on each inner thigh with the suspendee inverted. The name comes from the similar look of how a deer is hung to be being field dressed.
A vertical suspension with hooks placed down the forearms. As with elbows, tearing seems to be more common in this area than with many other suspensions.
Similar to a fetus, but with more movement and spread legs to resemble a frog.
Hooks in the knees and upper back. The body is positioned in a laying position so that the person appears to be laying in a hammock.
A position in which hooks are placed in the forearms and in the calves. The body is positioned lying on the back with the arms and legs in the air, bent 90 degrees at the knees and elbows.
As the name implies, it is an attempt to suspend the body in a cross legged lotus position, see below, with the body inverted. Hooks are placed in a variety of places, including the lower back, thighs, butt, and calves. More often than not, the position is not a true inverted lotus, as the legs unfold with the weight of the body hanging from them.
First attempted by Stelarc, this suspension features the person hanging in a lotus sitting position. Hooks are often placed in the upper back, chest, thighs and calves, but other variation are common such as hooks placed in the knees and sometimes none in the chest. In some cases the lower leg hangs free and this sometimes called a seated suspension.
A mobile is a type of kinetic sculpture constructed to take advantage of the principle of equilibrium. It consists of a number of beams, from which suspended people hang in such a way as to counterbalance one another. Although not truly a position this suspension was fundamental in the creation of the spinning beam.
An Angel variant (4 hooks per side from outer-high scapula to mid-lumbar) with the body inclined, head up, at around 30°.
A simple seated suspension with one leg crossed over the other, with hooks often in the back and knees/thighs.
A suspension in which the suspendee is face down in a ‘fetal’ position with the legs tucked up to the chest, hanging from hooks placed in the mid to lower back.
A variant of the side suspension where the suspendee is in a classic recovery position, laterally, one leg stretched out, the other bent, one arm under the head. Free respiratory function, no choking hazard.
This suspension first done by Life Suspended is a suspension in which the person is held up by hooks, usually in two rows on the abdomen. The name comes from the visual impression that person is rising from dead. Generally this suspension is seen using 6 hooks. However, variations from 8 to 2 points can be done.
A variation of a superman suspension, with rigging set up to arch the body into a back bend, which gives the appearance of a rocking horse.
This suspension consists a of person suspended horizontally with hooks placed all over the body. What makes the suspension different is that the person is spun along their vertical axis in the same way as a rotisserie works.
A play on a classic sailor pinup image, with the legs crossed and the arm supported by hooks in a saluting position. This position led to a variation in which the arm is not a part of the suspension, often simply called a ‘pinup’.
Modeled after the scorpion pose in yoga, it is most closely achieved through a knee suspension in which additional hooks are placed in the back of the calves and upper back, and then connected to hold a fairly severe bend in the back, pulling the head toward the feet. Back flexibility is a must, and serious back injury is possible if the knees tear, even with a safety harness in place.
A seated suspension with hooks in the knees and back. Sometimes hooks are found in the chest as well.
A horizontal suspension in which hooks are placed down the side of the individual’s body.
Skydive or Swan Dive
Sometimes referred to as a scorpion pose, it is a horizontal suspension in which the suspendee is face down with hooks in the knees or calves and the upper back, pulling the head and legs toward each other to bend the back. The end result is a pose which looks like diver performing a swan dive or a skydiver’s body position in freefall.
Although not truly a style per say, this type of suspension refers to two people connected to a beam that rotates on a center point. More information including the origin of this device can be found here.
A suspension with several variations in hook placement and body positions, but with the common factor of having the legs held in a ‘split’ position while suspended. Obviously, flexibility is a must with this position.
Tandem suspension is hanging one person from hooks in another person that is already suspended. Sometimes this is referred to as a stacked suspension.
Teardrop – Deep Pike
A suspension with hooks in the calves and upper back in which the body is pulled together in a “V” shape with the legs straight upward in the air. It requires the suspendee to have quite a bit of flexibility to comfortably perform this suspension.
A suspension rigged to imitate Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. (Le Penseur in French)
A Superman variant with body inclined so the head is at a very steep angle compared to the feet.
Two point suicide two point asstronaut.
A zip-line consists of one or two ropes, mounted on a decline. It is designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to travel from the top to the bottom while supported by hooks. Although this is not truly a position it is still noteworthy.