ALIGN Shoulder Mobility | Hanging Protocol

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Shoulder impingement is far too common in our modern cell phone grasping, screen fixated society. The shoulders begin rolling forward and pull the head and spine along with it.



Did you know you can actually reshape the structure of your shoulder girdle by hanging on a regular basis?

In 2012 a study of 92 subjects at the Kirsch Institute resulted in 90 of the participants able to return to comfortable living after dealing with chronic shoulder pain after implementing a simple hanging protocol. Many of these participants avoided surgeries and the likelihood of long term pain.


Anatomical Bit

Hanging creates space within the CA arch (Coracoacromial arch); a curved structure in the shoulder that overlies the rotator cuff tendons, and includes the coracoacromial ligament. Hanging stretches the CA arch expanding the subacromial space, resulting in decompression of these tissues.

What does that mean?

Our shoulders get stiff and stuck in forward flexion. In time, these patterns become engrained and hanging can not only relieve pain but literally reshape our postural patterns.

What You’ll Need…

  • Pull-up Bar
  • Resistance Band


Part I: ALIGN Shoulder Mobility | Hanging Protocol

Hang a total of 2 minutes per day for 10 days (This amount of time feels attainable to most people. Feel free to find your own unicorn number that fits your will and goals; it’s very unlikely that you will hang too much in a day. If you do, your body will tell you know and you can course correct as feels fit)

 This can be easily broken up into parts.
For example 30 seconds 4x per day or 60 seconds twice daily. Choose your own adventure!


Let’s Get Started!

Some Specific Reminders:

  • Interchange between an overhand and underhand grip to explore a full range of motion of the shoulder joint and connective tissue around the forearms.
  • Get a rock solid grip: A strong grip translates to a strong shoulder girdle (not to mention studies correlate a strong grip reduced risk in heart disease, no big deal) Wrap your fingers as far around the bar as possible and create a strong lock with your thumbs wrapping your index and ring finger. Pretend you are squeezing the pulp out of the bar
  • Break the Bar: In the overhand grip position, attempt to literally break the bar, rotating your thumbs behind you. This activates the posterior muscles of the shoulder girdle that need to strengthen in order to reverse the forward rolled shoulder pattern.
  • Squeeze Your Pink Fingers Tight (Explore emphasis of pressure on each individual finger as well): the pinky synergistically activates the posterior chain of your arm and back, once again, engaging the muscles that are traditionally inhibited in the rolled forward shoulder position.
  • Engage the Belly (Hollow Position): The tendency for many people is to allow the abdomen to sway forward, borrowing motion from the lower back that you couldn’t find in the shoulders. Avoid this by pointing the toes, slightly raising your feet in front of you and tilting the pelvis posteriorly. Imagine your pelvis is a wine class and you don’t wont to spill out the front.

That’s it, no big deal. For the next 10 days, hang for a total of 2 minutes per day in whatever variety of these techniques you prefer and watch the impressive new shoulder range of motion you will uncover. The important thing is that you are spending time brachiating (hanging) each day.

Use the Resistance Band for shoulder mobility before and after hanging at least once per day. I recommend leaving it hanging from a door you walk past regularly and whenever you feel called, do a little mobilization.

Learn More

  • Check out the podcast with Dr. Stuart McGill, Jason Khalipa, Jerzy Gregorek or several others to learn more insights into mobility from world renowned experts.
  • Subscribe to the ALIGN youtube page for FREE self-care tutorials
  • Follow along on Instagram @alignpodcast for daily insights on how to ALIGN your Mind, Body and Movement

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