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Bodyweight Hanging hands

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi all,

I bought a pull up tower back in July. I've been trying to work on my hangs as part of S&S. I'm still new to working out although my body is not that new (49). I've mostly been pushing keys on a keyboard for my life thus far.

So... hang wise, I was initially able to clock about 30s. I have since worked that up to 45s at a time. The most I have done in a day so far is 4 minutes split into sessions of 45s and 30s over the day. My fingers were too sore to hang the next day though. Simply trying to grip the bar felt like they were all bruised and sensitive. I'm doing passive hangs. I've watched a few videos on how to grip the bar which I've tried to do by using more of my fingers.

However, instead of getting calluses at the end of my fingers, I'm getting it on my fingers instead as the bar presses and I try to hold on. Immediately after a 45s hang tonight, they looked like this. I'm wondering if this is something everyone goes through or if its because I'm doing it wrong and if so, any pointers would be great. Mostly, I am letting go because of my fingers currently and not because my grip gives up. I could wear gloves but then it will never get better?

I'm currently hanging on a metal bar with no pads. I have a feeling that it is perhaps too small a diameter for my longish fingers and maybe that is the issue? I have no experience with a proper bar at a gym so not sure how thick or thin they are. Would thickening the bar somehow help? I could pad it somehow I guess which would make it thicker also.
IMG_9164.jpg
 

Kev

Level 6 Valued Member
My hands do that too. I wouldn’t worry about it. Buy some climbers tape and put a layer or 2 on your pull-up bar. My pull-up bar is a crappy telescopic one in a door frame and the difference since putting a layer of climbers tape on it has been night and day. Also surgical spirit applied to the hands will toughen the skin.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I wear gloves when I hang.

Also, make sure you're gripping with your palm and not just your fingers. This video explains it:


Also also, I would recommend you start with easier hangs (feet on floor) to make sure everything is working properly and then work up to full bodyweight hangs.
 

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
My hands do that too. I wouldn’t worry about it. Buy some climbers tape and put a layer or 2 on your pull-up bar. My pull-up bar is a crappy telescopic one in a door frame and the difference since putting a layer of climbers tape on it has been night and day. Also surgical spirit applied to the hands will toughen the skin.
Thanks. I was thinking of looking for some kind of pad solution. Tape sounds good to me also. I'm not sure what climbers tape looks like but I'll look it up.
 

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
I wear gloves when I hang.

Also, make sure you're gripping with your palm and not just your fingers. This video explains it:


Also also, I would recommend you start with easier hangs (feet on floor) to make sure everything is working properly and then work up to full bodyweight hangs.
Thanks for the video. It's not clear from the video if the palm advice helps with the bar (as well as the towel) but I'll check it out. Not sure what you mean by working properly? Maybe you are referring to my grip using palm etc. I'll try it out to see how it feels. Thanks for the reply.
 

tomstranger

Level 7 Valued Member
I have a doorway pull-up bar like what @Kev is describing. I wrap it with athletic tape. Works great for my needs. My hands look like yours after I hang. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about but I’m not smart like some people here, so if you get a different opinion ignore mine.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks for the video. It's not clear from the video if the palm advice helps with the bar (as well as the towel) but I'll check it out. Not sure what you mean by working properly? Maybe you are referring to my grip using palm etc. I'll try it out to see how it feels. Thanks for the reply.

I posted the video because the picture of your fingers looks (to me) like you're hanging from your fingers instead of squeezing the bar where your fingers meet your palm, which means your fingers are doing all the work and your palm is doing none.

By working properly, I mean starting with lighter hangs will ensure that all your muscles are doing what they should and if there are any muscles that are shirking the workload, they'll have an opportunity to join the party. Jumping right to heavy hangs just means that your stronger muscles will carry the workload and it's harder to get the weaker ones on board.
 

wexford

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks @3letterslong . That makes sense regarding getting other muscles aboard. Yesterday before reading this, I reduced my hang times to 30s, through a towel over the bar to soften the grip surface and also played around with engaging more muscles rather than just dead hanging. It was much harder and less hard on my fingers. I'll continue to play with the grip and try what you said regarding lighter hangs also to see what I can feel.
 

JR47

Level 5 Valued Member
I worked as a climbing instructor for a number of years.

Main thing in the hang is: finger tendons (pulleys, etc) take a LOT longer than muscles to grow, so the best thing you can do is go slowly and be consistent.

Don't try to max out up front . If it's too hard do hangs with your feet on the floor, or your toes on a block. Mitigate the load so you can easily do sets of 30 secs then listen to a podcast and do as many easy sets as possible. Pay attention to skin care.

Use the Strongfirst training principles (consistency, waviness, etc) and put your mindset in for the long haul.

Oh, and I think Bill Maeda had an Instagram video about how to grip the bar so it was easier on your hands. You might want to check that out.

Hope all that helps
 

Benjamin Renaud

Level 7 Valued Member
I have big hands (long fingers at least) and definitely like using thicker bars than thinner ones. I have wooden ones and metal ones but both are 1¼ inch thick and more.

When you do hangs, go for multiple shorter holds rather than a few max holds. In climbing you see a lot of programs based on repeaters, short 7sec on and 3 sec off holds, for sets of 1 min. I've seen a few SF instructors suggest multiple 15sec hangs with rest in between instead of longer ones.

I like active hangs (hollow) better than passive hangs but both have their use.

Your hands will definitely get used to longer holds with time though. Take your time and listen to your body.
 
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