A dead hang is a simple bodyweight exercise that targets muscles in your upper body. Practice dead hangs by gripping an overhead bar, monkey bars, or gymnastic rings. Lift your feet and hold yourself in a hanging position. Some of the benefits of the dead hang include increased grip strength and spinal decompression as you stretch your back. Once you’ve practiced this hanging exercise, consider some of the other dead hang variations like the single-arm dead hang or the neutral grip dead hang.\n\nFor dead hangs, begin by performing 2–4 sets of 10–60 seconds. Choose your sets and the duration of holds based on your ability to maintain good technique throughout each set.\n\n1. Grab a pull-up bar with a full overhand grip. Your grip should be shoulder-width or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. If you’re unable to grab the pull-up bar, stand on a plyometric box or a secure flat bench. \n2. Step off of the box and allow your legs to hang. Keep your arms and legs long and your elbows slightly bent. Your spine and pelvis should be in a neutral position. Slightly tuck your pelvis and bring your ribcage down.\n3. Squeeze your glutes and quads while engaging your core. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats. Your shoulder blades should be upwardly rotated away from your spine. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement, as if you were holding an egg under your chin. All repetitions should begin from this position.\n4. Maintain a strong grip and tension throughout your body to avoid swinging. Hold for the desired length of time.\nAlthough both exercises use your bodyweight to activate muscle groups throughout your upper body, the dead hang and the pull-up are different in a few important ways.\n\n- __Movement pattern__: The dead hang is a static isometric exercise that works your muscles as you remain in a passive hang. By contrast, pull-ups require your elbow joints and shoulder joints to hinge as you lift your body upward through a full range of motion. \n- __Muscles worked__: Dead hangs and pull-ups activate many of the same muscles, including the latissimus dorsi. However, the pull-up requires more activation from your back muscles, shoulder muscles, and arm muscles to lift your body. \n- __Difficulty level__: Pull-ups are generally more difficult than dead hangs. Consider practicing dead hangs as a warm-up and increasing your dead hang time until you feel comfortable enough to try a full pull-up.\nIf you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. Proper exercise technique is essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of an exercise program, but you may need to modify each exercise to attain optimal results based on your individual needs. Always select a weight that allows you to have full control of your body throughout the movement. When performing any exercise, pay close attention to your body, and stop immediately if you note pain or discomfort.\n\nIn order to see continual progress and build body strength, incorporate proper warm-ups, rest, and nutrition into your exercise program. Your results will ultimately be based on your ability to adequately recover from your workouts. Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.\nThrow on some athleisure, fire up a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com), and get ready to sweat it out with exclusive instructional videos from Nike Master Trainer and *GQ* fitness specialist Joe Holder. Want to improve your cardiovascular endurance? Give Joe’s HIIT workout a go. Trying to get a little swole? He’s got a strength training workout for that. From fitness tips to nutrition hacks, Joe will have you feeling healthier in no time.\nIf you’re looking for a beginner-level bodyweight exercise, include dead hangs in your strength-training program.