Hanging Around and Getting Stronger
This month’s theme is to hang around — or rather to hang on trees, bars, ropes, rings and whatever else you can find or dream up. Grip strength, arm and upper back strength … yes, there are certainly physical goals here. But, there’s valuable mental training available in hanging as well. Use the time to strengthen your willpower and train your mind control. I’ve offered variations for different levels and equipment, so please read on and join us in September!
Here’s how the challenge works
Hang from something by one or two arms for at least 10 days of the month. Each hanging session should be as long as you can hang for 2 separate hanging attempts. I suggest you record your total duration of the 2 hangs on day 1 and compare to day 10.
If you’re not up for hanging, or don’t have the right setup to hang from, a suitable substitute is to use a TRX, holding yourself at the extended arm position of a row. Lower your position (closer lying on the floor) to make this more challenging. Make yourself more vertical to make it easier. With this option, complete 10-15 rowing reps, then do a max duration hang. Complete 2-3 times.
If you want to make it more challenging, add max dead hang pull-ups before each hang. That’s the option I’m doing, as I haven’t focused on pull-ups in a long time! In addition, you could also hang while bent at the waist in an L position, with knees bent or with the legs extended fully. Other options include exploring active vs. passive hangs. If you really want to up the challenge this month, then after you finish the 10-day straight-arm challenge, complete 10 days of bent-arm hangs!
Check these insightful articles for more detailed guidance on hang options and progressions and then select a variation and progression that is the best fit for you for this month: T-Nation, Livestrong, and SEALGrinderPT.
How to Join
Just ask to join this closed Facebook Group — for support and accountability. The support group on Facebook brings friendly and supportive people together from around the world. Photos and videos of interesting hanging workouts are encouraged!
Once you’re in, feel free to add any friends who want to join.
It’s not required that you post on the group, or even join it in the first place. It’s more fun and motivational in a community though!
By the way, this whole thing is FREE — just good people coming together to support each other.
Secondary Challenges are not required, but highly recommended. Here’s how the September Secondary Challenge works:
Complete at least one pure ADVENTURE this month. What’s a pure adventure? It must have any of these ingredients:
- new and interesting route for an existing sport you do with a minimum duration of 2 hours
- new sport or combination of activities (e.g. combine swimming, running and backpacking … that’s what my adventure will be, this could also be your first time rock-climbing, first time on a glacier, first open water swim, etc.)
- unusual adventure time of day for you (e.g. a hike that starts at 3AM, a moonlight paddle, a long bike ride during a work break)
- any activity that crosses a national border, or if you’re in a big country without national borders nearby (US, Australia, Canada), then a state or province border.
- any activity where you sleep outside overnight in a tent or bivvy sack
May I hang from a tree branch? Yes, just pick a strong one!
May I hang from a child’s play set? Yes, just pick a fun one and go down a slide at the end of your session.
What if I don’t have anything to hang from? Get outside and look! Visit a park or playground — there are often lots of options. Or pick-up some gear for home. There are pull-up bars and climber’s training boards that work over doors. TRXs and similar suspension trainers go just about anywhere. CrossFit and functional training gyms will definitely have options, but even globo gyms and some hotel gyms have a pull-up bar.
May I hang upside down? Sure, Batman. Go for it.
May I do bent-arm hangs? Yes
How do I avoid hurting myself? Avoid getting injured when you release the bar by making sure your landing zone is uncluttered, open and safe. Don’t turn an ankle falling on a stool or bench you used to get on the bar! Also, start with a low duration (less than your max potential) and work up, e.g. 10 seconds at a time. Don’t overdo it, especially on the first few days.
May I join late? What is the deadline? Last day to join is September 15th. It’s way more fun to start at the beginning of the month though!
How do I join if I’m not on Facebook? Just say I’m in out loud 3 times, and you’ll be in! If you want to connect the dots and receive a virtual high-five, feel free to also drop me a note at [email protected] or say hi on other social media channels (links in footer).
I hope you join us!
— Coach Jeff
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.