German Hang

German Hang – UPDATED 2022 – Benefits, Muscles Worked & More!

People do crazy things in the pursuit of personal fitness. If someone from 20 years ago saw you doing a regular WOD, they’d probably faint on the spot.

But this is 2022 and as the definition of an ‘intense workout’ keeps getting updated, fitness fans are doing new and exciting exercises with uncommon equipment. One of the most interesting stretches this year is the German hang.

This is a stretch using gymnastic rings that could be mistaken for a cruel and unusual torture method – in fact, the benefits and the fun factor of it mean it’s the exact opposite of anything unpleasant.

If you have a pair of gym rings and want to give the German hang a try, here’s an updated and complete guide about everything you need to know for this unique workout.


German Hang – A Complete Guide

The German hang is an exercise that has you hanging from gym rings with your arms backward. Yes, you read that right. For the German hang, your arms will be grabbing onto the rings while extended backward, with the rest of your body hanging down towards the floor.

If you think that sounds like torture…that’s because it kind of is. The German hang gets its name and its method from the Strappado, a method of execution in ancient times that’s last recorded use was in Germany in the 1930s.

Ok, so a former torture method probably isn’t the most appealing workout. But people eat poisonous fish for fun, so this can’t be much worse …and thankfully, the German hang is 100% safe when performed sensibly and correctly.

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While it’s not a WOD on its own, the German hang is an ultimate form of the stretch. You can use it to limber up your whole body, to get your blood pumping, or as a warm-up for an even more difficult gym ring exercise.

The German hang is an advanced gym ring stretch, that should only be done when you know fully the limits of your own body, and when you’ve had enough practice with gym rings that you’re comfortable with almost any exercise on them.

The full guide to how to do the German hang can be found here:

1. Set your gymnastic rings to be roughly in line with your standing shoulder height.
2. Grab onto the rings, and flip your whole body over except your arms.
3. Slowly lower your feet down to the floor. Your arms should now be behind the rest of your body, still grabbed onto the rings.
4. Hold for a few seconds, and then take a few small steps forward to realign yourself.
5. Let go of the rings, and repeat.

German Hang Benefits

German Hang Benefits & Muscles Worked

The German hang is as much a test of endurance as it is an exercise. Both of those factors make it a great way to push your body to the limits and increase the number of muscles worked.

The German hang is a stretch that’s designed to ‘activate’ other muscles in your body, specifically those in your arms such as the biceps. Many people have reported using the German hang to correct shoulder muscles that are recovering from minor injury slowly, or just don’t feel right.

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Specifically, the German hang also has great benefits for your shoulder and trapezius muscles. By holding the stretch for just a few seconds at a time, it can condition your shoulders by forcing them to support your weight.

Skin The Cat Vs German Hang – What You Should Know?

A common comparison to the German hang is the skin the cat stretch. Just like the German hang, this requires your arms to be in opposition to the rest of your body, and for them to support you as you suspend yourself for a couple of seconds.

If you’ve seen both stretches in action, some of the differences are plain to see. First of all, the skin the cat is done using a stationary bar.

At a glance it may seem like this is the easier stretch, but you have to remember that you have no support for your lower body in this stretch. This means that the only thing supporting you during the skin the cat is your grip strength.

On the other hand, something that makes the skin the cat easier is that the equipment used is stationary. When doing the German hang, because gym rings are flexible and move around, you might find that one of the biggest challenges is getting them in the right position to safely do a German hang.


Common German Hang Prerequisites

So by now, you can probably see how the German hang is an intimidating stretch and requires preparation. There are a couple of moves that are considered prerequisites to the German stretch, to help people prepare.

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One of these is the inverted hang. Rather than being a stretch that taxes your muscles to the limit, the inverted hang is more about preparing you for the feeling of being inverted that the German hang will give you.

It’s recommended to get comfortable with the inverted hang before you try a German stretch, as there’s less risk of serious injury involved with the former if you panic or do something wrong.

Surprisingly for some people, the German hang is only one of the prerequisites to even more difficult stretches, such as the back lever. This is the final piece of the gym rings stretch puzzle, as it’s like a suspended German hang.

For this stretch, you’re fully above the floor as you flip yourself over, and it’s much harder to back out once you’ve committed. You need to be calm, and you need strong shoulder muscles and strong grip strength to support yourself.

German Hang – Closing Thoughts

In summary, the German hang is one of the most advanced gym ring exercises you can do, but it’s still the first step to a whole other level of insane stretches.

We hope this guide has inspired you to set a goal for the German stretch, and if you’re interested in how to prepare yourself for it stay tuned for more updated guides, exercises, and tips in 2022.

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