Daily Hanging – For Pain Relief, For Better Performance, For a Body that Moves Better
We know it can be kind of tedious to keep adding new things into your daily routine. But this one is a little different, and a little more playful, but with a whole world of good attached. We are talking about DAILY HANGING! Unleashing your inner monkey (or your inner sloth – depends how much energy you have that day) – and just letting your body hang to extend each and every day.
Hanging is now considered by many physical therapy specialists to have become THE single-most beneficial upper body stretch: reaching through every muscle and joint above your hips. From your fingertips and wrists, down through your shoulders, and reaching the span of all your back muscles right down to your lower back, simply hanging and letting the power of gravity stretch your body right out can have many more benefits than you may believe.
Decompression of the Spine & Joints
- Gravity decompresses your spine AND your joints
- Back Health, Spine Health, Movement of your back, disk health.
- Stretching your muscles that are too tight from your regular activities: driving, hunched over a desk (the shoulders forward and up hunched position)
Correction + Re-alignment of your Posture
- Fix, correct and align your posture. As your too-tight muscles are streched out, your body becomes more open and free to find your efficient and effective positioning: and maintain a healthy posture instead during daily activities.
Nourishment of Joints & Muscles Through Increased Blood Flow + Oxygen
- Increase blood flow + oxygen to the joints and muscles: which is their nutrients! This means the health of the these muscle groups and joints that we rely on so much both inside AND outside of the studio are healthier and happier. More healing, less pain. Better recovery, better movement.
Restored Overhead Range of Motion (Which over time, will be PAIN-FREE!)
- Restore overhead range of motion: which can prevent injuries in future, and open your capabilities with your movement.
Shoulder Pain: it’s the most common cause is impingement. This impingement is the pain that we feel when we try to lift our shoulder: and you’re likely to feel this within a huge number of poses, of upper body strength movements, or your handstands, and even throughout your general life: reaching for things! With consistent hanging, quite effectively, this pain and dooming concern of impingement pain are relieved. We spend more time in a safe and supported overhead position – and our body becomes a lot more comfortable with handling load and movement in this range.
And further, on an anatomical level – we have a few muscular changes that actually happen to facilitate that greater range of motion that could have potentially been impossible. Our Shoulder Blade (Scapula) is jointed to our arm and shoulder – and requires simultaneous MOVEMENT to allow your arm to reach full motion – all the way up and all the way down without compensations or pain. Anchoring your shoulder blade to your body is a number of muscles (we call this your rotator cuff, plus there’s a few other muscles on the inside edge too!). These muscles, if short and tight, limit the movement of your shoulder. That’s where hanging comes in! Let’s stretchhhh everything out!
Now: A Guide on How To Hang!
Hanging can be as simple as that – just hang. We like to incorporate this into the majority of our classes as a warmup to practises. However, we do encourage hanging to be a daily practise – so find a space at home that you can hang from as well! Pull Up Bars are the most obvious mechanism (and you can even get ones that simply attach to a door frame – so screws needed!). However, if you have access to rings, a tree branch, some monkey bars at a local playground – varying it up is only even more beneficial.
There are two different styles of hanging: Active and Passive. In active hanging, you are actively engaging your muscles, and pulling or pushing your body into a specific intended alignment whilst you hang. In passive hanging – you simply just hang, and let gravity do the magic for you!
Active Hanging 1 – Scapula Retraction:
Begin in a passive hanging position: hanging with both palms facing forwards, and complete looseness in your body. Allow your shoulders to shrug upwards, achieving a full stretch down your lats, and allow your arms to hug the sides of your ears. Then, focus on actively pulling your shoulders BACK + DOWN: retracting and compressing your scapula (your shoulder blades). You should see your chest start to tilt slightly towards the ceiling in doing so.
This movement effectively allows you to open up the shoulder joint, and activate a lot of the essential stability muscles of the shoulder. This is a perfect practise for engaging all the smaller and very critical stability muscles of the shoulder prior to commencing yoga, strength or movement poses.
Active Hanging 2 – Anterior Pelvic Tilt:
Start this hang in a similar position to Active Hanging 1: in a passive hanging position. This time, instead of activating any muscle and movement at the shoulder, focus on trying to find you “hollow position” through your core. Tuck your pelvic forward, extending through your lower back and allow your legs to rock slightly forward. Hold this position for a short while, then relax back to a passive hang. Engage your anterior pelvic tilt for a few repetitions.
Passive hanging – Just hang! 🐵
Relax, draw big and full breaths into your lungs, and relax further into the stretch. You should feel all joints and muscles of your body relax and elongate as you achieve more and more axial extension of your spine. Then, as you start to get adventurous with your hangs – let your body natural flow into whatever movement feels free and right to you. Swing a little, hang from one arm, switch arms, turn around the bar.
Working into a Hang: For those with Shoulder Pain:
If a full hang is too painful or challenging to start with: start with a partial hang, where your feet are still connected to the ground and taking some (but not all) of your body weight. Over time, gradually try and decrease your reliance on your feet as support, and allow your body to sink further into your hang – stretching your muscles and joints into a greater range of motion. Restoring movement through these joints will be a gradual process, however, we find that you will be surprised just how much daily hanging practise helps!
Come Hang – With Us!
Within our studio, the doors to our classroom are always open early – for you to jump in and monkey around on the bars and rings alike and join your daily hanging. You’ll also have a ball in any of our movement classes – where we focus on many of the same principles: Building strength of the minor and supporting muscles, gaining mobility and range of motion back into your body, and relieving pain and limitations whilst improving your capability and functional movement.
Elements Studio Movement Classes
Our signature Movement classes are aimed at developing greater body awareness and coordination in order to progress your strength, mobility and agility. This class employs training techniques and drills used by gymnasts and acrobats, primal movement and functional movement coaches. Build movement patterns such as pulling, pushing, jumping, hanging, crawling etc to improve a more balanced and capable body.
Class Times: Monday 4:30pm, Tuesday 9:00am & Thursday 4:30pm
Movement & Locomotion
This is our Primal Movement inspired training. Learn movement patterns that will bulletproof your joints, stabilise & mobilise the spine, the hips, and the shoulders. Locomotion is a unique creation, a fluid, challenging, beautiful and rewarding movement system which relies on the use of the low gate, squatting, inverting, crawling, bridging, quadrupling and other patterns, integrated to a sophisticated multi-layered flow.
Class Times: Tuesday 6:15pm