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.


Extending a Rope

It sometimes happens that a 30’ rope isn’t long enough for building a body harness. In that case, the easiest solution is often to extend the rope by adding a new rope to the end.

Note that this is just a specialized application of the square knot, and recall our warning about the dangers of using the square knot inappropriately.

Use this knot for:

Extending the length of a rope in a body harness or similar application.

Do not use this knot for:

  • Critical applications or dynamic loads.
  • This knot should not be used to extend vertical lines. Not only is it insecure in that application, but its bulk will jam the line.

Extending a rope


We’re going to extend the red rope by adding the blue rope to it.

Begin by forming a lark’s head in the new rope. You can use the fast variant. With practice you can do this one-handed, leaving your other hand to hold the red rope in place.


Pass the old rope through the lark’s head and bend it back in the direction it came from.


Flip the loop of the lark’s head over so that it goes around the standing end and the working end of the old rope.


Snug the knot into place.

With practice, it’s possible to use this technique to extend rope with almost no pause in the tying process. There will be a small knot where the two ropes are joined—make sure this doesn’t land anywhere uncomfortable like the armpit.