What’s up with Hanging Down?

deadhang-300x240Writing about hating exercise the other day, I mentioned how I hang from the pull-up bar in my office a couple of times a day. Usually this hanging is in between trips in and out of the office and lasts a few seconds before I move on to wherever I was heading.

In the course of writing blog posts I usually surf the web looking for information or images and tend to stumble on many interesting things, most often to distract me, but sometimes to inspire.

Ido Portale is someone I appreciate and have written about before; his improper alignment video is a favorite of mine. He has a great approach to movement.

I found my way to a post of his on hanging from one arm. The post clearly states that you should be able to hang from both arms for two minutes before hanging from one arm for a minute.

As someone who has long been tormented by the inability to do a pullup I figured this might be a good place to start. I broke out the timer and began to hang. I stopped at forty-five seconds because my hands hurt too much. Since that first attempt I have been doing a series of 30 second hangs which my hands mind much less.

And my email now informs me that the weightlifting gloves I ordered have shipped and I believe that one minute hangs are coming soon.

Known as a dead hang, which often precedes a flexed hang, it works the hands, forearms and wrist flexors, as well as the trapezius if you spend some of the hanging time with flexed shoulders.

In classes that I teach I often talk about the journey the shoulder has taken from compression to suspension to freedom. A great deal of yoga is about compression: planks, handstnad, etc. And we could all probably do with a little suspension.

The night of the first day that I performed the series of thirty second hangs, my right side—my trouble side—ached every time I sat down or got up from a chair or couch. It was pretty alarming but I know that my muscles adapt fairly well and I felt great the following morning.

It has been about a week of this type of hanging and I am really into it. I have written about a neck issue that I have been dealing with since last winter and after that opening on my right side, my neck has felt spacious in a way that it hasn’t for quite some time.


Sunday Morning Music: Serge Gainsbourg
I Hate Exercise