Hey there folks, over on r/bodyweightfitness, there is an Active Hang Challenge that started 3 days ago and I wanted to share it here on my blog so that you could know about it as well!
I think it’s a healthy challenge because everybody could benefit from trying to maintain an active, dead-hang.
What’s an active dead-hang?
A dead hang in general is when you hang from a bar or a pair of rings with straight arms. But there is an active dead hang and a passive dead hang. An active dead hang is done with straight arms but the shoulders must be depressed down, away from the ears the entire time. This forces your shoulder muscles to actively be in use to keep the shoulders down, as opposed to a passive dead hang, where the arms are still straight but your shoulders are completely relaxed and ride up to cover the ears.
How do I participate?
Take a video of yourself holding an active hang. If you like, post it on the thread in r/bodyweightfitness. (Btw, if you’re on mobile/tablet, I can’t stand the mobile interface of reddit much. I much prefer the desktop view. I think this is why a lot of people don’t get reddit.)
What are the rules?
Redditor /u/tykato (the one who started the challenge) made a 1-minute long video explaining the following if you prefer video form.
- You have to film your attempt.
- Say or display your reddit username on the video.
- Film from the back. This is for easier form checking.
- Active Hanging only.
- Shirtless or sleeveless so that your shoulders are visible.
- Time is counted until your form breaks, you lose your grip, or your legs touch the floor.
- Straight legs preferred, if possible.
- A timer must be visible during the whole attempt.
- Hands have to be shoulder-width apart, ±5cm.
- Pronated grip. (Palms facing away from you)
- You can use rings if you don’t have a bar.
- Must hang with both hands during the whole attempt. No one-arm hanging allowed.
How do I win?
- You hang with good form for the longest time.
Here’s my first submission
Since it’s a boring thing to watch a static hold… I thought to make the video a little more interesting by doing it at Ol’ Muscle Beach with my buddy Steve flowing next to me on the bar and another treat is you could see my buddy Raf on the traveling rings in the background (from 0:30 to 1:00).
I didn’t have a timer in the video and I didn’t record from my back. Woops. I got 2 minutes and 16 seconds. But I’ll do better next time. Maybe I’ll wear an analog clock around my neck next time. Bling bling.
- In the video above, my thumb was over the bar like a “monkey grip.” I now realize that I could have held on longer if my thumb wrapped underneath the bar. Another trick is to cover the thumb with the index finger to lock it in, but there is a chance the thumb may go numb.
- Another trick is to put the pinky side of the palm over the bar more aggressively and that will almost automatically fire up the rotator cuff muscles and cause you to almost automatically be in an active hang already. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
So overall, I think this active-hang challenge is really great because it’s simple and it increases strength and endurance for everybody in areas of their body (shoulders and grip) that otherwise might have been neglected. Plus, it is the exact position your shoulder blades will need to be in before initiating a pull up, so it helps cultivate a stronger foundation for your pulling-work. (In the future, I will make video for scapular pulls, which is an exercise that requires you to go between a passive and active hang repeatedly to further refine your pulling mechanics.)