The Akron Legal News

Login | June 12, 2024

Bar hanging for health

Pete’s World

Published: May 22, 2023

For the past several months I’ve been performing a pretty simple “exercise,” sometimes a couple times a day.
That’s because it’s gradually helped to reduce my years-long back troubles…in addition to loosening up my stubbornly tight shoulder musculature.
And the crazy thing is that I’ve been dancing around this activity for the past 20 years.
The exercise I’m talking about is the horizontal bar hang.
Now as I said, I’ve been dancing around bar hanging for years what with my consistent execution of pull-ups, and the funny thing is that my back and shoulders always seemed to feel a tad better after completing a pull-up workout.
As it turns out those fleeting hang intervals between each pull-up collectively helped to produce just enough spinal decompression as well as shoulder loosening for me to notice.
Well, I ended up exploring that observation further through a plethora of Youtube videos, almost every one of which extols the virtues of bar hanging.
It was then that I decided to give this activity a warm-up position in my daily workout routine.
So let me share with you what I’ve come to understand about this simple procedure.
First of all, to really garner the back/shoulder benefits that I’ve gotten, it’s important that you’re able hang regularly, like every day if at all possible.
But before you run out and begin hanging from that oak tree branch in your back yard, let me caution you by saying that if you’ve any orthopedic issues, be it shoulder, back and/or arms, please run this by your physician first.
Make sure hanging won’t aggravate any current medical/orthopedic ailments.
Okay, so for those of you who have never/rarely hung from a bar, you’ll likely be pretty disappointed with your first several efforts.
That’s because most people aren’t able to hang freely for more than a few seconds at a time.
If you cannot free hang, then I’d recommend hanging with your feet touching the floor for 10 - 15 seconds per set.
If you can hang freely, then ditto, begin with those same short 10 - 15 second sets.
Either way, by doing these short hang intervals every day you’ll soon start noticing improvement and that’s when you can progress to free hanging and subsequent free hanging sets for up to one, two, even three-plus minutes at a crack.
Now with respect to the benefits, well, it’s more than just the spinal decompression and improved shoulder flexibility that initially grabbed my attention.
Turns out that dead hangs also stretch out the big back muscles (lats), the rear delts and a host of lesser back muscles.
What’s more you can thicken and strengthen the fascia tissue surrounding the muscles which are being stretched.
But it doesn’t stop there, studies have revealed that dead hanging can create more space for the rotator cuff tendons, which can help to reduce stress on the rotator cuff as it goes through its many movement patterns during everyday life activities.
Dead hangs are also purported to alleviate shoulder impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis and a host other shoulder related maladies.
There’s also circulatory related benefits, because more blood is sent to the muscles being stretched while hanging.
You’ll also garner improvements in grip strength by working the fingers and forearms during the hanging process.
But there’s more.
Just “hanging out” on a daily basis can improve posture.
Yup, just that little bit of spinal decompression and improved shoulder flexibility can contribute to postural benefits, most notably a taller postural position––chest forward and shoulders protracted backwards.
Now once you get in the swing of regular hanging, there’s some subtleties you may want to incorporate into your hang routine.
These subtleties––small changes with respect to the position of feet, knees, pelvis and head––enable you to better target where and how you feel the hang.
For instance, draw the knees upwards into a tuck position and you flex the spine.
Conversely push the legs backwards with the heels up near the buttocks and you subsequently extend the spine.
You can also move the feet and knees to the left and right, thereby producing lateral flexion of the spine.
Yes, bar hanging has become my new best friend.
And who knows…hanging regularly just might befriend you to.