Suspension Bondage Is Dangerous

We love suspension bondage and we’re excited to share it with you. We want to be very clear, however, about the risks involved.

1. Suspension bondage involves unavoidable risk. Like rock climbing, suspension is a risky activity. Good preparation and training can reduce your risk, but even if you do everything right there is still a chance that you may be injured or killed, or that you may injure or kill another person.

2. We don’t have all the answers. Unlike rock climbing, suspension bondage has no professional standards bodies and no expert consensus about best practices. This book is based on years of study, practice, and consultation with outside experts. Nonetheless, you should be aware that suspension is still a developing field, and our understanding of the best way to do things is still evolving.

3. You can’t learn suspension from a book. The only safe way to learn suspension is to work with a qualified instructor or mentor. This book is a valuable adjunct to expert instruction, but not a substitute for it. Without a skilled teacher to guide and evaluate you, you cannot learn suspension without placing your partner in tremendous danger.

4. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Suspension is fun and exciting, and you will likely be tempted to rush ahead and try activities that you aren’t yet ready for. We can’t stress enough the importance of proceeding slowly and methodically, and always working within your skill level.

5. Always use good judgment. Your best defense against mishap is your own common sense and good judgment. Always be mindful of what you’re doing, and err on the side of caution.

Your partner is placing tremendous faith in your competence and judgment. If you are careless or overly ambitious, they are likely to pay a heavy price for your foolishness. Make sure that you are worthy of their trust.

Suspended Animation accepts no responsibility for any injury or death which may occur as a result of the activities described in this book. By reading this book, you agree to take full responsibility for your actions and their consequences.


Adjustable Hitch

ABOK 1800

The adjustable hitch is one of the coolest knots we use regularly, and also one of the most temperamental. It’s a useful tool, but it is unforgiving of bad technique or poor judgment about when to use it.

Use this knot for:

  • Quickly securing non-critical vertical lines.
  • Tying off lines during floor bondage.

Do not use this knot for:

Critical lines, slippery rope, or highly dynamic loads.

Using the adjustable hitch

The adjustable hitch is an alternate tie off for non-critical vertical lines. It has the great advantage that it can be tied at any point along the vertical line. It’s possible to slide the adjustable hitch up or down the line while it’s under load, although we find that it’s usually easier to just untie it, adjust it, and retie it.

As well as vertical lines, you can use the adjustable hitch for floor bondage. It’s great for tying limbs to a bedpost.

This knot relies on friction to stay secure. Consequently, it can be unstable when tied in synthetic line or when subjected to intermittent or shock loading. It is also vulnerable to being destabilized by being mishandled, and is probably not a good choice for use with bottoms who like to climb the ropes.

The adjustable hitch is sometimes referred to as a tautline hitch, and is closely related to the Magnus hitch (ABOK 1736), the midshipman’s hitch (ABOK 1799), and the rolling hitch (ABOK 1734 and 1735).

Tying the adjustable hitch


You can tie the adjustable hitch anywhere on the vertical line. Here the working end (blue) is traveling down.

Begin by wrapping the working end once around the vertical line (red) and under the standing end.


Repeat the process, passing the working end around the vertical line and under the standing end a second time.


Wrap the working end around the vertical line a third time, this time going over the standing end. Finish the knot by passing the working end under the last wrap itself. The working end should exit the hitch in its original direction of travel (in this example, the working end is pointed down).


Snug the knot into position. Take your time and make sure that it’s well dressed and snug throughout. Far more than with most knots, correct dressing is critical to the security of this knot.

It’s possible to slide the adjustable hitch up and down the vertical line while it’s under load. This takes practice, especially when the vertical line has multiple passes.