Home Strength Training Hang On! The Forgotten Anti-Gravity Exercise Everyone Should Start Doing

Hang On! The Forgotten Anti-Gravity Exercise Everyone Should Start Doing

22 min read

What if I instructed you about a particularly
underutilized motion that might enhance your total mobility, strength, and posture?
One factor that, as soon as added to your training routine (or life typically), might
treatment aches and pains, speed up your restoration, regain misplaced straight-arm
vary and strength, and supply a strong full-body antidote to gravity.
Curious but?

It’s additionally a minimalist transfer that you are able to do
nearly anyplace and anytime with minimal gear, that advantages your again,
grip, elbows, shoulders, and midsection. Something so deceptively easy it
will get neglected or dismissed by the plenty.

That transfer can be hanging.

I guess that almost all bear in mind hours of childhood monkey bar enjoyable (or fence and tree department enjoyable), hanging from our arms, heads-or-bottoms-up, swinging from arm to arm (brachiating), flipping, leg-raising, and no matter else we might provide you with to impress our pals. Hanging was simply energetic enjoyable—untainted by the notion of organized exercise—that simply so occurred to ship advantages that we by no means thought to care about.

German Hang at StrongFirst RESILIENT workshop

The Benefits of Hanging Exercises

Doing full justice to all the advantages of
hanging exercises in a single article is troublesome. But, for the sake of simplicity,
contemplate that they:

  • decompress the backbone
  • stretch the lats
  • open the shoulders
  • strengthen scapular stabilizers, rotator cuff and shoulder muscle mass
  • enhance and strengthen straight-arm and overhead positions
  • develop grip and forearm strength and endurance
  • fortify your midsection

Hanging is without doubt one of the keys to healthy shoulders. Dr. John M. Kirsch writes in his guide Shoulder Pain? The Solution and Prevention (2014):

“If you want to be able to use your arm for overhead activity, you must use the arm for overhead activity! You must use the shoulder for what it was designed to do: brachiate! Or at least simulate brachiating, by hanging from a bar and doing light weight lifting.”

The research carried out by the Kirsch Institute, introduced in 2012, included 92 topics, the vast majority of them:

“…had been suffering with shoulder pain for many years and had tried other methods of treatment at great expense with no relief. Most of these subjects were scheduled for or advised to have shoulder surgery… Of these 92 subjects, 90 were returned to comfortable DL (activities of daily living).”

Dr. Kirsch’s message is straightforward: “hanging
from a bar and lightweight weightlifting relieves most shoulder issues.”

The advantages are so quite a few it makes you marvel why—exterior of calisthenic specialists—hanging obtained misplaced within the cracks of mainstream exercise applications. But not in StrongFirst RESILIENT, the place our Hanging Series builds on the assist many old-timers and trendy specialists have for hanging.

Inverted pike hang from a bar

Pavel has emphasised the significance of
spinal decompression (see Relax Into Stretch and Super Joints)
and why it was a well-liked drill in strength tradition each within the East and
West, and needs to be once more as we speak.

Listen to Bob Hoffman of York Barbell:

“For many years the champion lifters of the York team have performed certain movements to keep their backs in good condition. Hanging is one of these, for hanging has a tendency to stop congestion by freeing the parts of the body from pressure of any sorts. Age manifests itself when the body settles upon itself, so the longer you can prevent this condition by standing and sitting erect, by exercising, thus keeping the muscles alive, elastic, and by the practice of at least a moderate amount of hanging the longer you will feel, act and look young.”

—Bob Hoffman, The Lower Back, Part II, in Strength and Health, November 1957

Hanging Out: An Introduction

Active and Passive Hang

Start with a shoulder-width pull-up grip (palms away), along with your thumbs wrapped across the bar.

Relax the entire body—let the elbows
straighten, shoulders shrug, loosen up the ribcage and backbone, let your legs cling
free. Release all pressure, let gravity do its job.

Repeat utilizing a chin-up grip (palms in direction of you). And lastly, if in case you have the gear (particular pull-up bar or gymnastic rings), repeat utilizing a impartial grip (palms going through one another).

Note: If you’ve a weak grip or a earlier shoulder/elbow harm or are chubby, start with an assisted cling along with your toes on a field, chair, bench, and many others. In this case, it’s also advisable to start with an energetic cling. As a basic rule:

“If shoulder not stable—use active hangs. If stable—passive.”

Ido Portal

Heel Reach Spinal Decompression

Decompress the backbone much more:

“While hanging, try to stretch down with your heels. Note that this has a completely different effect than pointing your toes down. The heels down is the proper way of getting a good stretch in your spine.”

Tommy Kono

“…decompressing the spine by hanging from a pull-up bar…. will allow the disks to absorb more moisture. It will not only help you reclaim your youthful height but will do a lot for your spinal health and mobility.”

Relax into Stretch

Add Contrast Breathing

“Inhale maximally and tighten up your entire body… hold your breath—and tension—for a second or so, then suddenly let it all out with a sigh of relief… During the inhalation, make sure not to pull yourself up—which will reduce the amount of stretch.”

Relax into Stretch

Add Leg and Torso Movements

Increasing the ROM by prying—add leg and torso motion: facet to facet, left and proper, forwards and backwards (chest out, chest in). Keep the elbows straight. Don’t go quick.

“In a free hang, Tartakovsky advises various leg and torso movements to amplify the effect: moving the legs back and forth and side to side, together and separate; non-ballistic turns of the torso with the feet held together.”

Super Joints

Get Down Safely

Any time you do any sort of relaxed hanging, brace your abs first and maintain it for few seconds earlier than you soar off the bar. Or even higher, hearken to Kono:

“In releasing yourself from the chinning bar, avoid jumping down. Instead, have a chair or something to step on to get down. The act of jumping down would be a compressive movement, so avoid it if possible. A ‘gentle’ release from the hanging position is best.”


Listen to Ido Portal, one in all as we speak’s important proponents of hanging and brachiation drills, whose “Hanging Month” has featured many helpful tips and methods:

“Rings are more accommodating for alignment but are less stable. They are a better fit for a strong and inflexible pair of shoulders. They are also a better fit for anyone with wrist/elbow issues. The bar is less accommodating but sturdier—it is a better fit for mobile but weaker shoulders. If you have both optimal range of motion and strength—vary the types of anchors you use as much as possible—bar, parallel bars, slanted bars, rings, ropes, towel, top of a wall, climbing grips, etc.”

Hanging Program

Roger Nelsen summaries crucial
factors on Dave Draper’s discussion board:

  • Do one thing involving hanging from a bar each session
  • Perform all pulls from a lifeless cling place
  • Switch up your pulling exercises always, however deal with development in every
  • Don’t restrict your self to bent-arm pulling work, additionally work on straight-arm pulls (like levers, cross pulls, toes-to-bar, ‘skin the cat’, and many others.)
Inverted pikes hanging from a bar

“All in all, most people just don’t spend enough time hanging from their hands, and they’d be a lot healthier and stronger if they did.”

Roger Nelsen

And from our perspective:

  • Aim for ‘sets’ of 30 seconds plus
  • Spread the hanging all through the entire day. Grease the groove (GTG) works finest—set up a pull-up bar or gymnastic rings in your workplace or house
  • Get resilient—StrongFirst RESILIENT!

“Make sure to hang out after lifting weights. A set of hangs after every set of deadlifts makes a healthy addition to the ‘Power to the People!’ strength program.”

Super Joints

StrongFirst RESILIENT Hanging Series

The above was only some of the best intro drills. The full StrongFirst RESILIENT Hanging Series—a straight-arm hanging counterpart to our supportive straight-arm Get-up Series—focusses on varied varieties of hangs with step-by-step progressions: passive, energetic and dynamic; two-arm and single-arm; shoulder flexion and extension.

  • Passive Hang
  • Contrast Breathing
  • Leg and Torso Movement
  • Active Hang
  • (Partial) Hollow Active Hang
  • Arching Active Hang
  • Side to Side Swing with (partial) Hand Release
  • Back and Forth Swing
  • One Arm Passive and Active Hang
  • Inverted Tuck
  • German Hang
  • ‘Skin the Cat’
Three hanging moves from the bar

How to Progress your Hanging?

Once you’ve the cling of hanging (pun meant), you’ll be able to set your sights in direction of numerous progressions: pull-ups, chin-ups, hanging leg raises, entrance levers (lined in nice element within the StrongFirst SFB Bodyweight program), again levers, brachiation (“move by using the arms to swing from branch to branch”), muscle-ups, mountaineering, and tree climbing.

Gray Cook within the Essentials of Coaching and Training Functional Continuums DVD:

“You have been on the monkey bar for months earlier than you ever considered pulling your self above it. Why don’t we do this? If the carries make sense, why don’t hangs make sense? Why doesn’t the brachiation make sense? It ought to.

Maybe the limiting think about your pull-ups isn’t your lats, however your skill simply to deal with that cling. I’m not saying your grip is weak. I’m saying you’ll be able to’t deal with hanging there, says Cook, and recommends to “triple your cling time flexed and triple your time prolonged” to enhance your pull-ups.”

Forget the “exercise” for a second and let
your internal baby play, realizing you’ve obtained the resilience to get pleasure from it.

Having fun inverted from the bar

Let’s depart the final phrase to the International Weightlifting Federation’s ‘Lifter of the Century’—the good Tommy Kono:

“…’hanging’ is completely the opposite of what you are about to do when you start lifting weights overhead, compressing and taxing these various ‘joints’… The few minutes spent on doing these exercises will more than pay off in recuperative value and the feeling of well-being afterwards.”

Tommy Kono, Weightlifting, Olympic Style, Honolulu 2009.

StrongFirst RESILIENT Events

The StrongFirst RESILIENT seminar distills Pavel Tsatsouline’s bevy of modern drills right into a complete system that may develop your ‘in between’ strength.

Practising movements at StrongFirst RESILIENT

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Images: Justyna Okay. Macková, StrongFirst Certified Team Leader, StrongFirst Elite; DLAB Photography and Visual Arts

Pavel Macek

Master StrongFirst Instructor, StrongFirst Elite

Pavel Macek, Master StrongFirst Instructor, founder and chief teacher KB5 Gym, is a pioneer of kettlebells in Czechia, Central Europe. He started training Chinese combatives within the Hung Kyun fashion in 1991, learning within the USA, Hong Kong, and China. He is president and chief teacher of the Practical Hung Kyun International Association.

Pavel was the primary StrongFirst Certified Instructor in Czechia. He can be an FMS/CK-FMS specialist. In 2008, he opened the primary kettlebell health club within the Czech Republic, KB5 Gym Prague. He at the moment teaches Chinese combatives and MMA (Practical Hung Kyun), strength training (KB5 Gym Prague), and tactical self-defense for varied personal and authorities businesses, in addition to Prague’s Charles University.

Please take a look at his English weblog SIMPLEXSTRONG, his Repeat Until Strong training go surfing the StrongFirst discussion board, and his StrongFirst articles.

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