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Get Stronger This Week!

Updated: May 24, 2023

Today’s article explains a technique that will radically change your strength on the rings, on the pull-up bar and using free weights.

We’re talking about hanging from a bar or your rings.

One of the simplest and most accessible of all exercises is often one of the most under utilized in people’s day to day training. It’s something children do any chance they get, and something you should do too.

This “skill” is one of the primary biological functions our bodies are designed to perform.

Our genetic legacy comes from apes 🦍which are nature’s hanging, swinging, kings of the canopy. Although your iPhone makes you think you’re some how far removed from your hairy ancestors... you’re body doesn’t know that to be the case. Your shoulders are rare in the animal 🦒kingdom and they need to be treated with the respect they deserve; and they deserve a constant diet of hanging and swinging.

Spending a dedicated amount of time each day, or several times a week hanging from a bar or rings will help strengthen your hands, shoulders, decompress your spine and hips as well as build a powerful neural connection which will help to improve any exercise involving your grip.

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Gymnasts and climbers know and understand the importance of racking up TUT (time under tension) through hanging. Their sports depend on them being able to suspend their body weight during extended periods of time.

However, the day to day fitness enthusiast, beginner or even long term veteran with a desire to break that training barrier will massively increase their performance by filtering in more hanging.

Whether strength is your goal or just overall well-being, plan to put a few days a week of dedicated work into this skill.

There are numerous ways to hang...

...And some depending on what style or strength adaptation is desired can change depending on the complexity of the hang that fits your needs.

  • A very useful beginner protocol is to start by trying to accumulate 3 minutes of time hanging from a bar or rings. Grab the bar, squeeze your hand tightly and have stopwatch or clock nearby to be conscious of how long you hang for each time.

  • It’s preferable to be completely suspended and hanging in a straight line, but if you need to bend your knees, don’t worry, you can still benefit tremendously.

  • For truly rank beginners hanging with the feet touching the ground to help displace body weight is a great option to get going. With this method even the extremely elderly or weak con begin to improve their upper body strength and health. As strength progresses, more challenging variations can be performed.

  • Hanging with knees raised, or legs extended in L-sit are very challenging next steps.

  • Hanging and switching from one hand to another further pushes the grip envelope.

  • Later, one arm hangs and one arm L-sits can be performed as our strength to weight ratio gets higher and higher.

  • Even bent arm hangs can be used to advance our skills and strength.

When looking at health and well-being, passive hangs to decompress the spine and hips make a big difference in the mobility and quality of our shoulders, vertebral discs and pelvis.

Another great variation is the inverted hang which tractions our shoulder and cervicales spine by turning the body upside down.

Whatever level of strength or desire to improve you find yourself at, working in a schedule to hang with regularity will be one of the best choices you ever make. Start today and in one week you’ll begin to notice a difference in your hand and body strength.

Check out these other great articles to learn more.

Robert Gannon is a Crossfit and Special Strength Coach with Crossfit Gala, Barcelona and Westside Barbell. He is also one of the founding partners of Happy Fat Rings, makers of the world’s only 36mm premium thick grip gymnastic rings. He has more that 20 years teaching experience and strives to help people from around the world get better.

Get your pair of the world's only FAT GRIP gymnastic rings today: CLICK HERE!

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