Dead hang – benefits and recommendations

Spine and back muscles are designed to reduce pain, improve your flexibility, and counteract the damaging effects of a sedentary lifestyle and intensive strength training. A regular hanging on the bar helps in this task. You will only need to buy simple equipment for home, or, more simply, go to the nearest gym or outdoor playground. From this article, you will learn about the benefits of the ‘dead hang’ and get recommendations for its implementation.

Which Muscles Does Hanging on a Bar Strengthen?

If you follow the correct technique of the exercise “dead hang on the bar”, the following muscle groups will work: Forearms and secondary muscles – Shoulders, biceps, Widest back muscles.

Advantages for your back

Our spine is under constant pressure. Whenever we are in an upright position, regardless of whether we are standing or sitting, the force of gravity affects the back. The spine has 26 vertebrae between which there are soft discs that act as shock absorbers. Over time, the force of gravity pulls the vertebrae down causing the intervertebral discs to clench.

It is difficult to overestimate the usefulness of hanging from a bar. Exercising on the bar makes it possible to stretch your spine and reduces excessive pressure. Also in its system of treatment of the spine, this exercise is used by outstanding specialists of adaptive physical culture.

The Benefits of The Dead Hang for the shoulders

Hanging on the bar allows numerous shoulder muscles to be well stretched, which increases their flexibility, improves joint movement, decreases muscle tension, and reduces shoulder pain. While doing push-ups or pull-ups, good mobility in the shoulder joints allows you to do an exercise with a wide range of movement, which leads to a better workout of the upper body muscles.

In this way, increasing the amplitude of movement reduces the risk of injury. Beautiful and healthy shoulders are important not only for guys but also for girls, so hanging on the bar will benefit absolutely everyone.

Minimizing the harm from strength

Despite the fact that strength training with heavy weights is effective for creating large embossed muscles and developing strength in general, it also affects our spine. Exercises such as squats pulls or presses can compress intervertebral discs. Depending on where compression occurs, the disc may protrude from one side or the other causing nerve pinching. This leads to excruciating pain and weakness in the lumbar region. If the discs continue to shrink and the pressure is not released. Then a hernia occurs in which the internal contents of the disc breaks and begins to press on the spinal cord. With the help of resting, stretching, and medication, it is possible to solve this problem and the pain will soon recede, but in some cases, the disease will go into a chronic stage and require surgery.

What is the benefit of hanging on the bar if you are a bodybuilder? If you regularly practice this exercise on the bar at the end of squats and tractions (or any other exercise with heavyweights that will compress the spine), over time it will help to reduce the impact on the intervertebral discs and reduce the risk of a hernia. You will also stretch your upper body muscles well, particularly your wide back muscles.

Increasing your height

As a result of the force of attraction, our growth actually decreases with age. Proponents of exercises on the bar argue that the dead hang helps to break the effects of gravity and stretches the spine in the opposite direction. In some cases, the dead hang on the bar can help the spine stretch upside down enough to increase your growth in the short term. However, experts have different opinions about whether the exercises on the bar are useful and there is no definitive proof that the change in growth will remain forever.

Hanging exercise for abs

The bar is very versatile equipment, which can be used not only for pulling up or stretching the spine. But also for training abdominal muscles. The usual curls and bars are undoubtedly very effective exercises for the abs. But leg lifts on the bar will also help you achieve the cherished six-pack.

To do this exercise, grab the hanging bar with your hand and put your legs together. Then lift your legs straight up to the angle of 90 degrees.

Do not let your knees bend when you lift your legs. If you cannot lift your legs up to a parallel position with the floor, lift them to a height that is comfortable for you.

Move slowly so that you do not use impulse power or swing. Swinging will not allow you to fully feel the work of abdominal muscles, and the exercise will be useless and even dangerous.

There are many variations of performing this exercise: with bent knees, each leg alternately. Or you can lift your legs up to the crossbar itself. Depending on your level of fitness, choose an option that is suitable for you. The benefits of raising your legs on the bar are really great. Make sure to try this exercise on your next training session.


This is an excellent and very effective exercise for developing forearm and hand muscle strength. Hanging workout makes a significant contribution to the development of grip strength! In addition to training the muscles of the forearm, training of the dead hang on the bar is useful for the spine. This exercise relieves tension from the back. Hanging exercise on both hands is very useful for those who have a slouch or scoliosis. The dead hang can help us drastically improve our posture. Attention – if there are problems with the spine, it is necessary not to jump off the bar. But to get down on the stand in the case you cannot reach the ground with your feet.

Types of sports in which hanging exercises are often used

As an exercise, the hanging bar is rarely used in the fitness area, but it is actively used in gymnastics, climbing, parkour, and other sports. And if you look closely, it can be noted that it is where the most capable athletes meet in training, where dead hang is using properly. This is no coincidence because dead hangs (and it’s all sorts of variations) are the most important building base for optimal work of the upper body as a whole. Therefore, it is important for any type of sport.

Using the term “dead hang”, we mean first of all hanging straight on the bar without bent arms. But there are other options for performing this exercise.

Variants of the dead hangs

The Passive Hang

Maximum relaxation, back muscles are inactive. The easiest option for beginners. (If there are no problems with the health and integrity of the shoulder joints and spine, you can try starting with active hanging).

passive dead hang

Active Hang

Selective inclusion of back muscles, arms remain straight, movements are made by scapular pull-ups (so-called “scapular pull-ups”).

Dynamic Hanging

A combination of passive and active hanging to create an impulse to perform dynamic actions such as rocking.

These types of hanging should not only be seen as a progression. But should also be trained individually to achieve the required level of preparedness.

Advantages of the hanging exercise

Shoulders, elbows, and wrists restore the lost ability to move freely and painlessly. Hanging on the bar allows you to use the top of the body as naturally as possible. We either simply withstand the weight of the body on the hands in the passive version. Or move our own natural weight in active work. Which gives a very intense boost to the adaptive response of the body. Supposing that, from childhood to deep old age, we could exercise hanging, then our shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers. And not to mention our back, in general, would not have any difficulties with healthy functioning during life.

The base for pulling your body up. This is especially important for various types of pulling and climbing. Dead hang is the basis for a semblance of how standing allows you to learn to walk. A deficit of hanging will become apparent at some stage of training if it has been ignored as the basis for training. Some simply get stuck at some level of training and can’t find the reason for their failures. For example, this applies to a common problem in women – the difficulty of pulling up to the chin.

Active dead hang is a particularly important tool for more advanced stages of training. For example, for pull-ups on one hand.

Strength and endurance of the grip. If you do not have a developed grip, you just cannot call yourself effective in working with your own weight. 

The basis for complex combinations of movements used in gymnastics. Also, parkour and other areas require improvisation and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.

The technique of hanging on the bar

Now, having considered the main advantages of classes at the bar, it is necessary to move on to the practical part. How to properly perform the hips on your hands?

To perform the exercise, grab the bar, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. And allowing the body to hang naturally, with your legs straightened or slightly bent in the knees. Try to relax your breath – slowly inhale and exhale, focusing on relaxing your body. All back muscles are relaxed, and excessive pressure is relieved.

Keep stretching as long as you can. But try to do the exercise for a total of 30 minutes per week.

Try to bring your hanging to 1-minute.

Use sports powder “gym chalk” so that the grip is strong and the hands do not slide.

Common mistakes

There are two main mistakes that people make while hanging on the bar:

Bending of hands in elbows. Your hands need to be fully straightened to get the maximum extension of the spine.

Include the widest muscles in the back. You can automatically try to engage the back muscles as if you were about to perform a tightening. However, when performing a hang, you should focus on the complete relaxation of the upper body. And not include muscle groups.

Training of the dead hang and progression?

Dead hang on one arm

For a single-handed hang, which is also proven by the experiences of many athletes. You need to grab the bar with your right hand and place your left hand on the belt. After 20-30 seconds, change your hand. Performing the exercise unilaterally is very useful to eliminate the imbalance in back muscle development and curvature of the spine. Therefore, the benefit of hanging on one hand on the bar is really there. Also, that can improve your one arm pull up.

one arm hanging

Progression with weights

To develop forearm strength and grip strength, you need to hang for 1 minute in one approach. Gradually develop your abilities and increase the hanging time. When you can confidently hang for 60 seconds on both hands, start increasing the load, and complicate the exercise. The first option is to hang an additional weight on the belt (as well as with weight-lifting). First add 5 kg, then 10, 15, 20, and so on… With each new weight, try to bring the hanging time up to 60 seconds, then increase the weight again. The second option is to hang on one hand (double the load). First, hang on the weaker hand, then immediately on the stronger hand – this is one approach. Also, try to reach 60 seconds of hanging on each hand. If you have a very strong grip, you can hang on one arm with an additional load.

So, now it is a good time to include the dead hang exercise into your daily life. How do you do it in the most natural way?

The first option, this exercise can be done at one approach at the end of each training session. Or several approaches for 1-2 times a week. Keep in mind that forearm muscles, as well as other muscles, must have time to recover, in addition, they are loaded in other exercises (pulling, pulling), so do not overdo it.

Dead hanging on the bar as a way of life

The second option is more radical – instead of “practicing” the dead hangs or include it in your daily training, we recommend a practice of hips comparable to the daily process of body movement. It should be at every opportunity and often. There is no need to wait for training. If you approach it with this philosophy, the effect will be more powerful. It is necessary to realize that you are not practicing the dead hang on the bar, but simply performing natural actions.

In order to do it effectively, we recommend you to set up reference points, which will be easily accessible to you in your environment. You can install a wall-mounted horizontal bar at home or attach gymnastic rings to the ceiling or even make such a reference point at work. You have all the options for this.

Basic logic: If you have anchor points, you can always hang on them. If not – of course, you have left yourself no other choices. People who have set up anchor points and made them available to themselves, their children, relatives, or office colleagues at work tend to hang much more than those who need to “go to the gym” to do so. So, the first step is to set up reference points. Do not put it off and do it as soon as possible.

Last word

So, now you’ve learned whether it’s useful to hang on a bar for the spine and the body as a whole. If you do the exercise correctly, it will be extremely beneficial to your body. This simple procedure, which can be done at any time of the day, helps to build a healthier spine. The most effective time to hang on the bar is during the hiccup phase of your workout. This is going to relieve tension and stretch the spine well. You can also pump up your abs by lifting your legs in the hanging position.

This makes the bar a very versatile piece of equipment that, when used correctly, can only benefit your body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *