Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And when it comes to our fitness, sometimes it’s the simple things that can have the most benefit. So, when I ask Zap PT Peter Vayne about the benefits of ‘simply’ hanging…he knows just what I’m talking about.
Remember the good ol’ days when you could effortlessly swing on the monkey bars as a kid? Just hanging on without a care in the world. Simple? Yes! Fun? For sure! Something you can’t imagine doing now? Sadly true. So, Peter is here today to remind us of all the awesome benefits we can access just by simply hanging around.
Peter, who is based at Zap Fitness in Kidman Park, South Australia, is certainly no stranger when it comes to understanding how our bodies move. As a celebrated contemporary dancer and circus arts aerialist, Peter takes human movement pretty seriously.
According to Peter, “The very first thing I notice with my new clients is that often their grip strength is weak. If I can improve their grip strength, I know it will show a notable improvement in their strength endurance and their overall ability to lift. Hanging from a bar for timed intervals is the perfect way to improve grip strength.”
“Generally, I will have my clients hang for between 10 -30 seconds, depending on the person, with the goal of building up to a one-minute hold.” He adds.
Improved grip strength is not the only benefit to hanging. As Peter explains, “A dead hang on the bars is fantastic for shoulder mobility and range of motion. You can depress and retract your shoulder blades while you hang as well as activate your scapula by basically shrugging your shoulders up and down.”
Hanging is also great for spinal decompression. If you’re a desk all day or perhaps you lay on your back when you sleep, chances are you may a compressed spine aka a tight spine. Peter agrees saying that, “I will often have clients try a relaxed hang. It gives their upper body the chance to stretch and decompress without spending a cent.”
As far as coaching cues go, Peter recommends the following for nailing your dead hang…
1. Begin with a pull-up bar
2. Grasp the bar with a shoulder width (or slightly wider) grip with your palms facing away from your body (overhand grip)
3. Wrap your thumb around the bar
4. Ensure your arms are at a dead hang (straight, no bend in the elbow) you should not feel any muscle engagement from your lats.
5. Relax your body while you hang for the desired amount of time – no swinging, no fidgeting. Just Focus.
For more insights from Peter, why not drop into Zap Fitness Kidman Park or check out Peter’s Facebook page @PVFitnessAdelaide.
– By Prue Houston