There’s a very cool (and very recommended) progression in Convict Conditioning Vol 2 all about hanging from one or two arms (along with towel hangs which are amazingly challenging) to develop grip strength, and I’ve been doing bar hangs at home about every other day usually for a minute or more. Current PR is 1 minute 30 seconds, and while I could have gone a little longer, I had a lot of typing to do that day and didn’t want to risk it. As it was, my fingers were still a little numb after that session. A really fun way to get more time on the bar than you may thing is possible is to challenge a training partner (who is fairly well-matched in ability) to a hang contest. Sometimes a few of us will see who can stay in crow longest, etc. too, and with enough rest and finger stretching you could even have both of these “grudge matches” in the same session. Definitely make sure your wrists and fingers are warmed up for both the hangs and the crows though, and it’s also a great idea to repeat gentle wrist and finger mobility and stretching throughout a session like that!
The video above was also partially inspired by the launch of the new 1-day SCC (Strength Calisthenics Certification) workshop from Dragon Door. I explain a little about it in the video, and will be talking more about this workshop format in future posts. But, bar hangs had come to the forefront of my attention because the women’s test includes a 30 second bar hang. While this amount of time is well within the achievable range of the ladies which seem to be attracted to the SCC and PCC, I am hoping that its inclusion draws attention to it for others. You’ll notice in the video below that I also play with engaging my shoulders but also just plain old hanging on (some days I find that this decompression is really necessary and that I feel “taller” afterwards). If you haven’t tried bar hangs for time yet, please give it a go! Even if you’re starting simply by hanging on and counting to 5-10 at first that can feel like an eternity! It doesn’t matter where you start, only that you DO start.
Soon enough, you’ll be hanging on that bar for so long that like me in the video below, you’ll get bored and talk about a bunch of stuff, and maybe throw in a couple of random pull ups too. It’s really interesting doing a pull up in the middle of a long timed hang, or after a full minute, in some ways it almost feels like a break!