Dead Hang Benefits, Muscles Worked, How to and Alternatives

The dead hang benefits to the life of an athlete are so many.  However, it is often overlooked. As a child, you probably hung from objects such as trees as a form of play. As an adult, you probably do not engage in such activities. Nevertheless, you can still experience both the childhood thrill and fitness benefits by performing the dead hang.

How to do dead hang:

  • Start by selecting a strong and stable overhead bar. Weak ones can cause injuries.
  • Use a bench or step to reach the bar and grasp it using an overhead grip. Ensure your arms are shoulder- width apart. Avoid jumping into the bar directly since it can cause injuries.
  • Remove your feet from the bench so that you can hang on the bar. Keep your entire body straight and relaxed.
  • Hang on the bar for 10 seconds or more depending on your endurance level. However, do not over do. Do not go beyond one minute if you are a beginner.
  • Step back on the bench and release your arms.
  • Rest and repeat to your desired number of times.

It is important to note that not all individuals can perform the dead hang. Avoid performing the technique if you have a shoulder or back injury. It is wise to consult your physiotherapist first.



The dead hang benefits, works, and tones your upper back. The action of hanging on the bar and the force of gravity that lowers your body significantly work your back. This plays a significant role in strengthening your back and improving your posture.


The dead hang stretches your shoulder joint. This promotes mobility and stability of your shoulder joints. Therefore, your shoulder health improves.


The workout builds and strengthens your forearms, hand, and wrist flexors. The technique actively engages these muscles since they hold on to the bar as your body hangs. As a result, your grip strength improves.


The dead hang engages the core, which helps in holding the entire body together. The technique squeezes your quads and rib cage, hence strengthening your core muscles.


These are only some of the many dead hand benefits:


The dead hang plays a vital role in improving your grip strength. This is because the entire exercise uses your hands to support and hang the rest of your body. You might experience challenges gripping the bar at the beginning.

However, your hand and wrist flexors grow and strengthen as you perform the technique consistently. Grip strength is important in performing other exercises, such as deadlifts, pull ups, and rows.

Additionally, grip strength enables you to easily perform daily activities, such as opening jars and carrying objects. This exercise will also enhance your performance while doing adventurous activities such as mountain climbing and rock climbing.


Another one of the many dead hang benefits is that it stretches and loosen up your body. This is important especially if you have been leading a sedentary or partially active lifestyle. The technique stretches your hands, back, and shoulders.

As you hang from the bar, the force of gravity naturally pulls your body downwards, hence stretching your upper body muscles. You are able to experience relaxation and relief after performing the exercise.


Modern society has greatly accelerated the sedentary lifestyles of individuals in urban areas.

With the busy work schedule, numerous individuals lack time for engaging in physical activities and spend numerous hours sitting at offices. As a result, your spine becomes decompressed and rigid.

Performing the dead hang at least thrice a week helps to decompress and lengthen your spine. As you hang, the spaces between your vertebrae become larger and releases pressure.


Hanging from a bar improves your posture. This is because your body is in an extended position, hence stretching your muscles.  


If you still want to reap the dead hang befits without necessarily doing it, here is an alternative


The pull up is a great exercise to strengthen your back muscles and improve your grip power. The exercise also improves your posture and core stability. Just like the dead hang, you will require an overhead bar to perform it.

How to do pull up:

  • Start by using a bench or step to reach the overhead bar. Avoid jumping to it directly to prevent injuries.
  • Grasp the bar using an overhand grip. The distance between your hands should be shoulder- width.
  • Take your feet off from the bench. Keep your chest out, curve your back, and stretch your arms. This marks your starting position.
  • While exhaling, pull your body upwards until your chest reaches the bar. You can do this while crossing your legs or keeping them straight.
  • While inhaling, lower your body to the starting position. The movement should be slow and controlled.
  • Perform 10 reps for 3 sets.



Bending your elbows causes more strain while performing the exercises. Moreover, you are not able to work the targeted muscles. Ensure that your arms are straight throughout the exercise.


Too much of something is poisonous. Avoid overdoing the exercise since it will strain your muscles instead of giving you the expected gains. You can perform three sets of this technique twice or three times a week.

Try not to go past one minute per set. Hanging for too long can cause painful blisters on your palms.


In as much as it is called the dead hang, does not mean that you stop breathing. Perform controlled breaths during the exercise to promote blood flow, which will cause relaxation to your body as it hangs.


Avoid swinging around while performing the technique. Swinging or fidgeting alters with the effectiveness of the exercise. Stay still throughout the routine.


Effective workouts are not limited to the ones that involve motion. Performing a dead hang has numerous benefits to your body. While performing the exercise, ensure that the overhead bar is smooth.

Using a cracked or bumpy bar can cause injuries to your hands. Always consult your fitness trainer if you experience challenges.


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