It may be true that you can’t walk on water or turn water into wine. But you can make your body better by using new health and fitness techniques. Hanging is actually a very old practice, but because so many have no knowledge of it, it can appear to be new.
It’s one of those game-changing things that you should start doing immediately due to its rich benefits. Learn what these are below and also learn how to do it properly. If you pay attention, you’re going to open up a whole new world that you didn’t know existed!
The how before the why
Probably the best place for you to start is by learning how hanging is done. Simply put, any time you grab a hold of a stationary object above your head and your body is suspended off the ground, you’re hanging. That’s pretty self-explanatory, right?
If you want to get technical, this is often referred to as brachiation. But true brachiation means moving your body through space while hanging from various pieces of apparatus. Using monkey bars where you swing from one rung to another is a good example of this.
But hanging is done in one place on a stationary object. Here’s where it gets interesting. It doesn’t matter if you’re rightside up or upside down. If you’re fixed to an object and off the ground, you’re hanging. This means that wearing inversion boots and hanging upside down on a pull-up is considered hanging. This practice is better known as inversion.
That just opened the floodgates for the benefits to appear. But before we look at these, just be aware that any form of exercise while gripping or being held upside down on a bar or apparatus is hanging.
1. Increased upper body strength
Pull-ups are commonly done on pull-up bars and other similar pieces of apparatus. When you do a pull-up, you’re hanging, but you’re also pulling against gravity. This causes you to work really hard and it fires up a ton of muscle fibers in your upper body.
The end result is that you get stronger, you get more defined, and you also burn a decent amount of calories. Your lats, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest all work at the same time. By wearing a dipping belt with added resistance, you can increase the workload and get even more benefit.
2. Stronger abs
The “abs” are just one section of the core of your body. Simply hanging from a bar causes you to tighten your abs. But when you do exercises like pull-ups, pikes, wipers, skin-the-cats and corkscrews, you fire up a ton of abdominal muscle.
This will make your abs stronger and more defined. As an added benefit, it will also give your confidence a big boost.
3. Improved grip strength
When you hang from a bar, your grip gets challenged. The longer you hold, the more intense it is. This automatically improves your grip strength and makes it easier to do tasks where grip is important.
4. Improved posture
If you sit for long periods of time during the day, you run the risk of getting bad posture. The reason is that your shoulders are rounded, which causes tight pecs and weak rhomboids − the muscles between the shoulder blades.
By simply reaching up and hanging from a bar for 30-plus seconds, you stretch all the tight muscles in your upper body that cause bad posture. Doing this regularly will stretch you out and make you sit and stand up straighter.
5. Better range of motion and flexibility
I put these two benefits together because they go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. When you progress from just hanging to doing other exercises like pull-ups and pikes, you start to improve the range of motion in your joints.
A better range of motion will translate to improved flexibility. With both of these parameters improved, you’ll be better able to perform activities outside the gym, like playing sports, swimming, and riding a bike.
6. Better circulation
When you invert, your blood rushes in the opposite direction. This gives your veins and arteries a well-deserved rest, which makes them work more efficiently when you come back to an upright position again. The end result is better circulation.
7. Organ function
Once you go into inversion, the connective tissue holding your organs in place doesn’t have to do as much labor. In fact, it doesn’t have to work at all. This allows your organs to work more easily and not be as taxed as usual. The end result is that they will work more effectively and they’ll be stronger as you age.
8. Boosted immunity
Your lymph system carries impurities out of your bloodstream. When you hang upside down, the lymph system goes into overdrive, which helps cleanse your blood faster and gives your immunity a boost.
9. Better brain function
The brain relies on oxygenated blood to function properly. When you go into inversion, you get a massive rush of oxygenated blood. When you come back to an upright position, you immediately feel more mental clarity and are better able to concentrate and think. Your memory also gets boosted.
10. Back pain relief
A lot of people resort to inversion to relieve their back pain, and here’s why. When you go upside down, space is created between the joints in your body, especially your spinal column. Back pain is often caused by jammed joints, which causes neighboring muscles to tighten up as a protective mechanism.
The space that’s created allows nutrient-rich blood to flow to affected areas. This eases pain, relaxes muscles, and expedites the healing process.
11. Skin health
The skin is the largest organ in the body. When you go into inversion, your skin benefits as a side effect of the lymph drainage. When toxins are flushed out of the system, your skin receives more nourishment. This, in turn, makes it healthier and less prone to wrinkles.
If you haven’t been sold on hanging before, hopefully you are now. As you can see, there are many benefits to this practice in both an upright and an inverted position. As with anything else, ease your way in and don’t do too much too soon.
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