Suspension is a dangerous activity and your first year or two of tying or being tied are the time when you’re most likely to make mistakes. Here’s some of my suggested risk mitigations
- Only suspend with people you know (or experienced bottoms)
You may ask why, there’s the thing, when you first start suspending you’re not ready to give bondage rides, you ideally want to tie long term partners or experienced bottoms – because they can give you feedback, someone you’ve never tied with before or who is new to suspension can’t give you good feedback or good warnings if you make a mistake. You’re also less attuned to someone you don’t know and are more likely to have issues communicating.
- Don’t do inversions (or only do inversions with padding)
One of the few reasons people end up in the hospital for suspension is from dropping people on their head on concrete. A very simple way to avoid this worst case scenario is don’t do inversions over cement, high off the ground, or at all.
- Only do suspensions with a spotter or DM present
By having another person around you’re going to be able to get help if something goes wrong. Additionally a experienced rigger friend is a great way to get good feedback on your tie and how to improve.
- Don’t tie TKs, Strappados, Tengus or other harnesses where the arms are load bearing.
The most common rope injury we hear about consistently is nerve and shoulder issues from box ties. You need to spend a lot of time labbing out these kind of ties to get them right and ensure you’re not impinging any nerves, they can be great ties but we strongly recommend you don’t start your suspension journey with these unless you’ve already been tying them on the ground for over a year.
- Use synthetic uplines.
Remember how we said one of the few ways people end up in the hospital is for bonking their head? well one of the reasons people fall is related to using up-lines which are not rated or intended for handle that much weight or all the swinging and monkeying around that’s being done. Go full over kill, get something like POSH or hempX and never worry about your rope being the reason something goes wrong.
- Tie below your level
What do we mean by that? don’t get fancy, do ties you feel comfortable with in suspension until it feels natural, you already have to manage the new skill of up lines and lifting, don’t make it harder on yourself than it needs to be.
- Don’t do single point suspensions
with the exception of a hip harness all single point suspensions are very challenging on the bottom and require the top to know how to get them in and out of the suspension (which usually involves a transition or dead-lifting…both challenging options).
- Don’t do neck rope
Neck rope can be super hot, we totally get it, if you’re into that kind of play don’t mix it with suspension until you’ve dialed it in….like way in…you don’t want to attach someones neck to something load bearing or that will compress. We recommend you only do one deadly thing at a time!