The hang challenge is a feat of strength that requires strong hands and forearms as well as mental toughness. It sounds easy to achieve but it is anything but. The standard version of the dead arm hang is one that I’ve used many times before in my programs and workouts. It requires that you simply hang from a pull-up bar with your arms straight for as long as possible.
No releasing of your hands is allowed at any point while on the bar.
The time that Jesse and I recorded in this type of challenge are 2 minutes 21 seconds and 2 minutes and 51 seconds respectively.
There is a catch however.
In the street version of the game, the bar that is used rotates. This makes a huge difference in your ability to win 100 dollars doing it. As you start to lose grip on the bar and the bar starts to spin, it is only going to accelerate the pace at which the bar slips out of your hand.
In order to simulate this, we took a standard Olympic barbell and suspended it on the top of a squat rack. We were careful to not rest it in such a way that would hinder or slow down the rotation of the bar on the portion that you will hold onto.
The key is to see if you can make 100 seconds or one minute and forty seconds. This is much harder than it seems. It is the reason that many people on the street wind up getting scammed since they think that they’ll be able to hang on much longer. Once they get up there and the burn in the forearms starts, their grip strength quickly fades and their hands become unable to hold up their body for even a second longer.
In the carnival version of the game they up the hold time to a full 2 minutes. This is obviously even harder, and gauging by my performance in this video, I wouldn’t have won the carnival prize as I drop at the one minute and 54 second mark – 6 seconds shy of the prize. Had I known that I was working towards that then maybe I could have gutted it out a few extra seconds but I’m not sure. The forearms and hands were certainly burning like crazy by that point.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the bar hang exercise in your programming. It has so many benefits and not many alternative ways to re-create it. Besides the obvious grip and forearm strength that it builds it also helps to develop that mental toughness and grit. Throw in the benefits towards increasing packed shoulder stability and you have a winner on many fronts.
Give this challenge a try and see how long you can hang from either the standard pull-up bar or from a spinning Olympic bar.
Tell me your times and more importantly, share this challenge with someone else you think would love to try it.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for workouts that build objective challenges into all of our programs so you can compare yourself not only against yourself but your peers doing the same workouts, be sure to head to athleanx.com and get the program that best matches your current goals using the program selector at the link below.
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