dead hang workout

Dead Hang Challenge: How to Improve Your Grip Strength and Upper Body Endurance

Pull-ups, Man!

Dead hang challenge is either a complete exercise routine or a simple but challenging addition to your workout regime that involves hanging from a bar or any other overhead support with arms fully extended. It is a simple yet effective way to improve grip strength, increase forearm endurance, and develop upper body muscles. The exercise is suitable for people of all fitness levels and can be done anywhere with a pull-up bar or any other sturdy overhead support.

There are different variations of the dead hang challenge, including the timed dead hang, one-arm dead hang, and the dead hang pull-up. The timed dead hang involves hanging from a bar for as long as possible, while the one-arm dead hang involves hanging from a bar with one arm while keeping the other arm straight. The dead hang pull-up combines the dead hang with a pull-up, where the participant hangs from the bar before pulling themselves up.

Dead hang challenge is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on the joints, making it a great option for people recovering from injuries or those with joint problems. It is also a great exercise for rock climbers, gymnasts, and other athletes who require strong grip strength and upper body endurance. With proper form and technique, the dead hang challenge can help improve overall fitness and athletic performance.

What is the Hang2Win Challenge?

The Hang2Win Challenge is a timed challenge on a rotating pull-up bar. The challenge involves dead hanging from a freely spinning bar for a set period of time for money. Our H2W Challenge is 100 seconds for $100. Other customers of ours have bought our custom rotating pull-up bar rigs and altered the time required and the payout amounts.

Now the Dead Hang Challenge is a simple but effective exercise that can be done by anyone, regardless of fitness level. It is a great way to improve grip strength, which is important for a variety of activities, from rock climbing to weightlifting to everyday tasks like carrying groceries. It can also prep you for the Hang2Win Challenge, but as it’s been said before: there is no substitute for the rotation of the bar you are trying to hang onto. Like Mike Tyson said: “Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the mouth”. For the H2W Challenge that proverbial punch in the mouth comes at about the 30 to 45 second mark into a 100 second challenge.

rock climber winner of the $100 rotating pull-up bar hang challenge

Benefits of the Dead Hang Challenge

Improved Grip Strength

The Dead Hang Challenge is an effective way to improve grip strength. When hanging from a bar, the fingers, hands, and forearms are engaged, which helps to strengthen these muscles. The H2W Challenge is ALL about grip strength. The folks that win this challenge grab the bar and simply do not let go until the timer beeps.

Increased Shoulder Stability

The Dead Hang Challenge is also beneficial for increasing shoulder stability. Hanging from a bar engages the muscles in the shoulders and upper back, which helps to improve stability in these areas. This can be particularly helpful for people who suffer from shoulder pain or instability. After many years of bench pressing my shoulders were shot, hanging from our bar has eased that pain, increased my ROM, and strengthened the typically very unstable shoulder joint. Of course: YMMV.

Reduced Risk of Injury

The Dead Hang Challenge can also help to reduce the risk of injury. By engaging the muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and forearms, the exercise helps to improve posture and reduce the risk of injury in these areas. Additionally, exercise can help to improve mobility in the shoulders and upper back, which can also help to reduce the risk of injury.

How to Perform the Dead Hang Challenge

The dead hang challenge is a great way to improve grip strength and upper body endurance. It involves hanging from a bar for as long as possible without bending the arms. Here are the steps to perform the dead hang challenge:

Equipment Needed

To perform the dead hang challenge, you will need access to a sturdy overhead bar. It should be high enough so that your feet do not touch the ground when you hang from it. You may also need a step or bench to help you reach the bar.

Proper Form

To perform the dead hang challenge, follow these steps:

  1. Stand underneath the bar and reach up to grab it with both hands.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your feet off the ground.
  3. Keep your shoulders down and back, and engage your core muscles to maintain a straight body position.
  4. Hold the position for as long as possible without bending your arms or legs.
  5. When you can no longer hold the position, gently lower yourself down to the ground.

Variations for Hang2Win

There are several aspects of the dead hang challenge that directly transfer to the H2W Challenge:

  • The grip. We require double over-hand or double under-had grips. You can practice with a mixed grip if you like, but for direct carry-over use a straight grip.
  • You can use chalk or gloves when training, but we don’t allow the use of gloves when we host the challenge at events.
  • Weighted dead hang: Hold a weight between your feet or wear a weighted vest while performing the dead hang challenge. This will up the rate at which your “hang muscles” gain strength which will help you once the bar spins and money is on the line!

It is important to start with the basic dead hang challenge and gradually increase the difficulty as your strength improves. Always use proper form and listen to your body to avoid injury.

Tips for Success

Participating in the Hang2Win Challenge requires more than just dead hanging from a bar for as long as possible. Here are some tips for success:


Before attempting the Hang2Win Challenge, it is important to build up grip strength and endurance. Start with shorter hangs and gradually increase the time. Incorporating other exercises such as farmer’s walks, wrist curls, and pull-ups can also help improve grip strength.

Another way to progress is by increasing the difficulty of the hang. This can be done by using a thicker bar, hanging from rings, or adding weight to the hang.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are crucial for success in both the Hang2Win and the Dead Hang Challenge. Overtraining can lead to injury and decreased performance. It is important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed. We’ve had contestants get to 60 or 75 seconds and then fail. Then come back after having a funnel cake and lemonade and try it again. Big mistake. Your body just doesn’t recover that quickly. (they usually don’t get as far on the second hang…) Typically, we are at events for 2 to 3 days at a time. Come back the next day and try it again.

A Word of Caution (Hang at your own risk!)

While the dead hang challenge can provide numerous benefits, it is important to take certain precautions and be aware of any contraindications before attempting it. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Shoulder injuries: Individuals with shoulder injuries should avoid the dead hang challenge as it can exacerbate their condition. I find that hanging improves my shoulder condition, but everybody is different.
  • Elbow and wrist pain: Those with elbow pain should also avoid the challenge as it can put undue stress on the elbows. Listen to your body.


The dead hang challenge is a great way to prepare for the Hang2Win Challenge and improve grip strength, upper body endurance, and overall fitness. By simply hanging from a bar for a set amount of time each day, participants can see significant improvements in these areas over time.

While the challenge may seem simple, it can be quite difficult. That difficulty is magnified by the rotating bar. It is important to start with shorter hang times and gradually work up to longer periods as grip strength improves. Additionally, proper form is crucial to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise.

Overall, the Hang2Win Challenge is a fun challenge at events. If you are interested in hosting your own H2W Challenge at events near you, please get in touch below.

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