The dead hang is a simple classic — literally just hold onto a pullup bar and hang.
You don’t need to be a proficient callisthenics bro to do a dead hang. Heck, if you can’t even do a pullup, get some straps and hang!
The dead hang is a nice, simple, easy addition to your pre-workout routine or as you warm up.
1. Dead Hangs Stretch Out Your Upper Body
We know that stretching can be very tedious to do. Exerting your energy on a lengthy stretching routine before training is fairly boring, but dead hangs can stretch most of your upper body.
If you don’t stretch — which you should — you should at least attempt a minute of dead hangs, spread out over as many sets as necessary, before starting your workout.
With the exception of your triceps and anterior deltoids, hanging on a bar can loosen you up before taking on an epic workout.
2. Dead Hangs Loosen Up/StrengthenYour Shoulders
A shoulder niggle can kill your progress in the gym. Your rotator cuff is fairly delicate and often necessitates strengthening if you subject it to heavy loads and/or strenuous dynamic movements such as punching or throwing.
(Face Pulls and Band Pull-Aparts are also wonderful additions to make).
If you’re not religiously bulletproofing your shoulders through a targeted workout regimen, adding dead hangs can help you avoid injuries.
Athletes who throw — like baseball pitchers, quarterbacks, and cricket bowlers — or strike — such as boxers and martial artists — should consider dead hangs before dynamic activity in addition to their pre-existing warm-up routine.
Not only will it help protect the joint from injury, but also enable you to throw or strike with more venom.
3. Dead Hangs “Turn on” Your Central Nervous System
We recommend throwing in a few sets of dead hangs before heavy squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, or deadlifts as they “turn on” your Central Nervous System (CNS).
Pulling a large weight off the ground or pushing tin overhead becomes slightly easier after CNS activation that comes from this simple isometric movement.
Before attempting a PR, try one set of a 20-second hang to carryover onto demoliting your PR.
4. Dead Hangs Decompress Your Spine
At Herculean Strength we believe in training for longevity.
Years of heavy squats and deadlifts can take their toll on your spine. Degenerative Disc Disease and Stenosis can make your later years unpleasant if you throw caution to the wind.
However, dead hangs can take some of the pressure your spine after heavy, repeated loading.
For more information on spinal decompression, check out our article on the topic.
5. Dead Hangs can Improve Your Grip Strength
As somebody who has never been a fan of forearm isolation movements, another added benefit of this isometric hold is that it can significantly strengthen your grip.
Many novices struggle with their grip strength and resort to the tedium of wrist curl style exercises after cranking out a few dozen sets of bicep curls.
By throwing in some dead hangs before each session, they can bring up their lagging grip strength pretty quickly.
Although challenging, dead hangs are an exercise that can be worked up to being done before every session.
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