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Hanging Exercises to Improve Shoulder and Spinal Mobility

Hanging from an object overhead is one of the most effective ways of maintaining and improving shoulder and spinal mobility.

Be sure that you are warmed up before engaging in hanging exercises - ideally, you want to take your shoulders and spine through a solid warm-up and even work up a bit of perspiration to ensure that your tissues are well perfused with blood to prevent injury.

If you aren't able to hang with your full body weight, you can keep one or both feet on the round to absorb some of your weight.

I like to begin hanging with two hands and hang for 5 to 30 seconds at a time.

If you feel comfortable hanging for 30 seconds with both hands, to further improve shoulder and spinal mobility, try hanging from one arm at a time. If you have an object nearby that you can hold on to with your non-hanging arm, you can use this object to give yourself some support and momentum to rotate your body to the right and left to whatever degree is comfortable for your hanging shoulder; rotating your shoulder while it is in long axis traction is an excellent way of improving its functional range.

As with all exercises, it's best to err on the side of being ultra conservative with what you try, aim for gradual improvement over a long period of time, and ensure steady breathing throughout.

For an overview of exercise progressions that you can work at to improve your mobility and balance in a systematic way, please feel free to visit our Mobility Exercise Progressions page here:

Mobility Exercise Progressions

For some suggestions on how to set up a simple workout area at home, please feel free to view:

Suggested Resources for a Home Gym


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