The Low Hanging Fruit of Healthier Shoulders
The critical component of your shoulder health and mobility was most likely left – ages ago – on the elementary school playground. Hanging, swinging, and climbing are not things most adults are used to doing nowadays and it’s not faring well for our daily overhead shoulder mobility.
We’ll show you how to safely reintroduce your body to hanging and get you on the path to reviving your shoulder health and mobility. If it’s been a while, we know it can feel daunting to hang on to the weight of your entire body. Baby steps, consistency, and patience are the key to improving mobility, so stick with it and we can guarantee your shoulders will love you for it in the end.
Hanging is an amazing tool for getting your shoulders moving properly again. It’s easily scalable since you can start by hanging with your feet on the ground, allowing your shoulders to gradually get used to supporting more weight. During this process, your shoulders will loosen up, your grip strength will improve, and you may even notice a positive change in the way your back feels since hanging benefits also include the decompression of the spine.
Aside from improving joint mobility and health, hanging is also the gateway to hundreds of essential Gymnastic Strength TrainingTM progressions. Without the ability to comfortably support your weight overhead, there would be no hanging leg lifts, pull-ups, handstands, muscle-ups, and so on. Hang-training will prepare your body for daily comfort and add a foundational base to do so much more in your fitness ventures.
Using these GSTTM hanging progressions, your overhead shoulder mobility, body control, and confidence are all about to get a serious boost! Keep going with the GymnasticBodies Courses!
How to Begin
Step one of rebuilding your hang is simple: find a spot where you can hold onto a bar or solid object overhead and still keep your feet on the ground. The idea here is to be sensitive to your body and only remove as much weight from your feet as you can comfortably handle.
Key Point: During all of the hanging exercises mentioned in this blog, be sure to hang as low as possible, lengthening through your side body, shoulders, and arms as much as you can. Ideally, your shoulders will be shrugged so high that they are resting next to your ears for the entire duration of the hangs. Essentially, hang as low and relaxed as you can.
If you’re brand new to hanging, childhood being the exception, then be conservative and start by hanging for as little as 10 seconds 1-3 times per day. As you progress or if you are already more confident and comfortable hanging, shoot for 30 seconds and beyond. Take your time and remember that there is not a set amount of time that it should take to build up to a full bodyweight hang without your feet supporting you. Listen to your body: you should always feel completely in control and never uncomfortable while hanging. Over time, you’ll find you naturally put more and more weight on your arms and shoulders.
Beyond the Standard Hang
Once you have developed the ability to hang from your arms without supporting any weight with your legs, it’s time to repeat the process using one arm. Head back to supporting your weight with your feet as needed and enjoy the new challenge of hanging off of a single arm.
Hanging for 10 seconds per arm is a great goal to begin working toward here. For those of you who are a bit more confident in your hang, give 30 seconds per arm a try. You might be surprised by how much more difficult single arm hangs can be!
Another great drill for hanging mobility is single arm rotations. These are definitely capable of producing a very deep stretch so be exceptionally cautious when beginning these. The goal is to, as always, hang low, foot supported, and rotate your body around in as complete a circle as your body comfortably allows. Enjoy the stretch at your end range for a moment, rotate back to the starting point, and then do the same in the opposite direction. Begin with 3 rotations per arm and gradually build to performing these without the lower body assist.
If you’re already a strong, healthy hanger, then try including all 3 of these drills into your next upper body warmup and let us know how it makes your shoulders feel! For more shoulder mobility and joint prehab programming, be sure to take a look at the GymnasticBodies Online Courses.