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How Long Can You Deadhang For?

Categories: Exercise

How Long Can You Hold A Dead Hang?

A dead hang is a straightforward exercise that simply involves hanging from an overhead bar for as long as possible. It’s a great way to develop grip strength and can help you master pull ups.

How long should you be able to dead hang for?

As a guide, we suggest aiming for the following times:

  • Beginner: 10 seconds
  • Intermediate: 20 to 30 seconds
  • Advanced: 45 seconds +

How to do a dead hang

To start your dead hang you need to grab the bar using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), making sure your hands are more than shoulder-width apart and your arms are straight. You then want to engage your shoulders (squeeze your shoulder blades together) and hold on to the bar for as long as possible. Once you’re in this hanging position you can engage your lats as this will help to take some of the pressure off your shoulders and reduce the risk of injury.

Before doing any dead hangs, it's important to warm your shoulders up by doing some mobility work that mimics the movements you're about to perform. This is key as your shoulder is made up of the complex rotator cuff muscle group, and if these are injured they can take a long time to heal.

How do I increase my dead hang time?

One way to increase the amount of time you can hold a dead hang for is to develop your grip strength. If you have a weak grip your fingers will start to slip off the bar, meaning that your dead hang will end before it otherwise would. You can do strength training exercises for your fingers and forearms to help with this and you can also use chalk if you slip off the bar due to having sweaty palms.

Another way to increase your dead hang time is simply to dead hang more often and hold the hang for as long as possible each time. Doing this will strengthen your back, shoulders and arms and will enable you to hold the hang for longer.

Do dead hangs help with pull ups?

Yes, they do. This is because as the length of time you can hold a dead hang increases and your grip improves, your upper body becomes stronger. This then makes it easier to do pull ups.

Once you feel confident about your ability to dead hang, you can introduce other exercises that will also help you to master pull ups. These can include chin ups or negative pull ups. A chin up is similar to a pull up but you use an underhand grip and use your biceps to raise your chin above the bar. Negative pull ups involve jumping up to the bar and then lowering yourself back down as slowly as possible.

For more training ideas and advice on pull ups, monkey bars and other obstacle techniques you can buy a copy of the OCR Training and Skills Guide for £5. Which is packed full of step by step videos and exercises to enhance your training programme. 

For some extra tips on how to progress from dead hangs to pull ups, watch this short video: