Elite trainer BJ Gaddour wants you to just hang around at the gym.
Hanging from a chin-up bar offers a long list of benefits, he says. For one, it decompresses your spine which decreases your risk of back injury and helps correct your posture.
“That makes them great to do in-between or after compressive exercises like sitting, running, squatting, or deadlifting,” he explains.
Hangs also improve overhead exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups and presses.
“Your lat muscles get very tight as you sit and work with our arms at your sides all day,” says Gaddour. This restricts your shoulder and upper-back mobility whenever your arms go above your head, sabotaging your strength and putting your back in a dangerous position.
If you add hangs to your daily routine, you’ll also see an increase in your grip strength and core stability.
“Those are two fitness qualities that tend to make you better at everything else you do,” he says. That means you’ll see gains in all other exercises you perform at the gym.
Gaddour recommends three types of hangs, which can be performed as a progression.
1. A passive hang where your elbows and shoulders are at full extension. Keep your legs straight and your feet together.
2. The flexed arm hang with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Again, keep your legs straight and your feet together – this position should hit your core hard.
3. The fully flexed hang, with your chin above the bar. To bring your biceps into play, perform this hang with an underhand grip (palms facing in).
While the passive hang will work your grip strength, the flexed-arm hangs will build you back and biceps, increase your chin-up and pull-up totals, and seriously challenge your core.
Perform these at the end of a set of chin-ups or pull-ups, or at the end of your workout. Hold the hang for 15-30 seconds or for as long as you can.
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