Do you envy people with big well-developed biceps? The truth is they don’t just happen; most engage in flexed arm hang workouts for days on end to reach to such a level. But I don’t mean to say that all sportsmen with well-built biceps do engage in flexed arm hang exercise. Some people are genetically advantaged in that they easily develop big and strong biceps after a simple workout. However, others have to work extremely hard for every additional inch in their bicep. I don’t know which category you belong but whichever the case, what matters most is the result. Moreover, even if your biceps develop fast, strengthening them has no shortcut; you have to engage in workouts that target and strengthen your upper body such as flexed arm hang.

Probably you’re wondering: What is a flexed arm hang exercise? There’s no course to worry! In this article, we have discussed the steps required to execute a flexed arm hang workout. Besides, you will learn about the muscles targeted as well as alternative exercises that can bring you the same result.

How to Execute the Flexed Arm Hang Exercise:

  1. Woman Working Out Flexed Arm HangHold the bar with an underhand grip. Put your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your body to the top position. Your chin should be above the bar. (you may need a friend or a stool to help you get to this position). You can jump or pull yourself up to this position if you don’t have a seat and there’s no one around.
  3. With only support from your hands, let your chin remain above the bar. The back should be straight, and eyes fixed ahead. Remain in this position until you’re completely exhausted.
  4. Pull yourself down in a controlled manner until you get to the floor
  5. Rest for a short while then repeat the exercise. You can do several reps before calling it a day,

Note: As a beginner or a person without much experience, an underhand grip will work well for you. Also, to build tension, ensure that you involve your upper body muscles throughout the exercise. In addition, let your biceps contract hard when your chin is above the bar and as your hands support your weight.

If you find the workout hard for you, you can use resistance bands to try and reduce your body weight.

What are the Benefits of Flexed arms Hang Exercise?

Man and Woman Showing Fit ArmsIt’s natural to want to know the value for your hard work. Below are some of the benefits you’ll get after dedication your time and energy to this workout.

Strengthens Wrist and Hands muscles

As you hang with your hand grip holding the bar, your wrist and hand muscles are engaged and worked on. They include the flexors, deltoid and the brachioradialis. In fact, flexed arm hang exercise targets those muscles that boost your grip. With a firm grip, you can hang on the bar for a long time. In addition, strong arms help in the execution of many other exercises.

Strengthening Your Biceps

Flexed arm hang workout increases the strength of your biceps. Moreover, it stabilizes your back muscles and strengthens them.

Building up Trapezius Muscles

This exercise helps in developing strong trapezius muscles especially if you raise your shoulders as you target them during the workout.

Builds-up the Abdominal Muscles

As you hang with your knees straight, then your abdominal muscles and your hip flexors are targeted, worked on and strengthened.

Increasing Your Height

During the flexed arm hang exercise, your body becomes greatly stressed because of the downward pull of the gravity as you resist and pull it upwards.  As a result, your entire body stretches, and your spine extends. In most cases, the height increases by some inches.

Alternatives to Flexed Arm Hang

What happens when flexed arm hang becomes a hard exercise for you? Do you just give up, and throw the towel? No!

It takes more than a bench and assistance from a colleague to successfully execute this exercise. So if you have tried following the laid down techniques from your instructor and still can’t seem to achieve it – you’re not alone!

And its time you embarked on alternative workouts that bring same results. So which are the alternative exercises? Your question is well taken care of in our below discussed workouts.

But keep in mind: Regardless of your fitness status, you will always find an excellent workout in the following alternatives

Dumbbell Holds

Man Working Out Dumbbell Holds Alternative Flexed Arm HangStand up straight with your legs shoulder width away from each other and your arms hanging at your sides. Let each hand grabs a weighty dumbbell. Keep an ideal posture as you involve your biceps muscles for about 25 seconds. If the weight is too heavy to hold for over 20 seconds, then put it down and take a lighter load. Rest for about a minute before repeating the exercise.

You can also hold the dumbbells’ head with each hand for about 30 seconds to strengthen your grip.

Timed Hangs

Using an underhand grip, grasp a pull-up bar, as you keep your abs tight. Hang on the bar with your hands in a straight position and with your feet off the ground for about 15 seconds. Rotate your shoulder internally then press them down to involve your shoulder blades (Scapula). Use your back muscles to keep your shoulder blades in a perfect posture.


Man Working Out Scap Pull UpsWith an underhand grip, choose a pull-up bar and hang from it. Your legs should be off the ground. Press your shoulders down as you squeeze their blades.

Tips: Before moving to the bar, practice it by imagining that a friend has placed his finger in your spine and between your two blades. Use your shoulder blades to squeeze the finger as you push your shoulders back slightly. Target your back muscles as you execute this practice.

Prone Bat Wings

On each of your hands, hold a dumbbell as you lie on a bench with your head drooping over the edge. Each of your legs should be on either side of the bench with knees bent in a relaxed manner. Put your elbows close to your body as you pull up the dumbbells by pushing your shoulder blades together.  Your ribcage or waist should be parallel to the dumbbells. Hold them for about 15 seconds then lower down in a controlled manner. Repeat the exercise 5 times before resting.


Woman Working Out Plank Alternative Flexed Arm HangPut your hands on the ground and directly under your shoulders. The legs should be straight behind with your feet shoulder-width apart. So now, in a push-up position, keep your whole body straight without hiking your hips. hold in that position for 60 seconds. Then release and immediately go back to that position. Repeat 5 times before resting.

Supine Cable Pull-Down

Lie flat on a sloppy bench as you face up. Your legs should be away from the cable machine, with feet resting in the ground and knees relaxed. Hold the cable overhead. Squeeze the shoulder blades as you pull the cable to the chest. Then gradually in a controlled way return the cable to its initial position. Repeat for about 20 times.

Plate Pinch

Heap more than two small weight plates together. The smooth side should face up. Let your arms relax on your sides as you stand up. Squeeze these plates together in your fingers and thumbs for 25 seconds. Then rest for 50 seconds and repeat it. If you can’t squeeze them for 25 seconds then maybe you can try lighter weights.

Kettlebell Bottom-Up Press

Grasp the handle of the kettlebell in one of your hands. The elbow should be to the chest level. Press the kettlebell above gradually as you balance the bell towards the ceiling. Repeat this workout for about 15 times before switching hands.

Inverted Rows

Man Working Out Inverted RowStand up straight and face an empty barbell placed about a chest height above.  With hands facing you, hold the bar.  Let your elbows bend and hands be shoulder-width apart. Straighten your legs and the elbows to your body on the sides. Stretch your arms and squeeze your shoulder blades as you move your trunk to the bar.

Empty bar 100’s

With an underhand grip, grasp an empty barbell. Keep your elbows next to your body on each side. Wrap the bar as fast as you possibly can for about 100 times as you maintain a good form. Roll it back and repeat the workout for about 3 times before resting.

Flexed Arm Hang Test

Are you wondering if you have enough upper body endurance and strength to carry out more severe workouts?  Then the flexed arm hang test will solve your worries. It measures the strength and endurance of your upper body.

However, different groups apply different procedures. For example, the process of testing used by the President’s Challenge fitness may vary from those used by marines and those for international Physical Fitness. We are going to look into the flexed-arm hang test utilized in President’s Challenge Fitness.

What is the purpose of this test?

The reason for this test is to measure your upper body endurance and strength by timing the duration of time you can hang while your chin remains above the bar.

What are the Equipment Needed?

The equipment required to execute this exercise are, an overhead bar put in a horizontal position and at a considerable height.  You also need a stool or a bench though optional. A stopwatch is most necessary

What is pre-test preparation?

The first step is to ascertain that you are in good health by undergoing some medical screening. Your instructor will record some information such as your age, weight, height and the outcome of the medical checkup.

The Procedure

Grab the overhead bar provided.  The President’s Challenge bar enables you to use either an overhand or an underhand grip. For FitnessGram group only the overhand grip is needed.  Position your body such that your arms are flexed while your chin is above the bar. Your legs should be hanging straight and off the floor. Hold your chest close to the bar. Stay in this position for until your arms can’t support your weight due to exhaustion.

How to Calculate the Scores

Once your chin touches the bar or goes below it, the instructor stops the timing. The total time you were able to endure in the top position is recorded in seconds.

The Advantage of the Test

The test is easy to perform, and the equipment is available. The flexed arm hang analysis can be done quickly because one trial is enough to come up with adequate results.

The Disadvantages of the Test

Your body weight can significantly affect the result. Moreover, the weight can vary depending on factors such as whether you’ve just taken a heavy meal or the kind of dressing you are in. Also, your weight can increase overnight and alter the result.

Take Away

Flexed arm hang is a great exercise that increases your endurance and strengthens your upper body and grips. Most of the workouts require you to endure and to have a strong upper body. But again, you don’t have to sink into depression because of your inability to perform the flexed arm hang work out! Dig through the many alternatives and come up with the one you’re more comfortable doing. However, after working your muscles and developing the biceps ensure that you make use of flexed arm hang test to measure the strength and endurance of your upper body. You are not limited to President’s Challenge fitness test; there’re many more test to choose from. Ensure that you select the most suitable.