The Extended-Arm Hang Test (or straight arm-hang, dead hang) measures upper body strength and endurance, particularly the grip strength. In this test the participants hang from an overhead bar with the arms straightened for as long as possible (for up to 40 seconds in the Brockport fitness testing battery). It is more common to perform a flexed-arm hang test, a similar test in which the arms are flexed (bent), though by flexing at the elbows there is more stress on the arm muscles to hold the position. To assess maximum grip strength (rather than grip strength endurance as in this test) you can perform a hand-grip strength test.
purpose: to measure hand, arm, and shoulder strength and endurance by timing how long they can hang with straight arms from a bar.
equipment required: stopwatch, a horizontal overhead bar at an adequate height, stool or step.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions. Record the height of the overhead bar. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: Grasp the overhead bar using an overhand (pronated) grip - meaning the palms are facing away from body, with the thumbs wrapped around the bar. The subject may jump up to grab the bar, use a step or be lifted into this position. Elbows and knees must not be bent. You may want to initially steady the subject so they do not sway. The subject holds this fully extended position for as long as possible with the feet clear of the floor throughout the test. Only one trial is required.
scoring: The total time the subject remains hanging from the bar in seconds is recorded. The Brockport protocol limits the maximum time as 40 seconds. On YouTube, Tazio Il Biondo can be seen holding a "dead hang" position for 19 minutes 33 seconds, possibly a world record.
advantages: the equipment is readily available, and the test is easy and quick to perform.
disadvantages: The body weight of the subject has a great effect on the results of this test. A better test of upper body strength endurance in which body weight is not as important is the push-up test.
other comments: When repeating the test, ensure that the same grip technique is used each time.
reference: Winnick, J. P. & Short, F.X. (2014). The Brockport Physical Fitness Test Manual. 2nd Ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
The Test in Action
- This test is part of the Brockport fitness testing battery
- Flexed Arm Hang as used for the President's Challenge Fitness Awards and FitnessGram
- Flexed Arm Hang test used for the Marine PFT
- The Flexed Arm Hang used for the IPFT
- Bent-Arm Hang from the Eurofit tests.
- The similar pull-up and push-up upper body strength test
- Grip Strength Test
- Other strength endurance tests
- Overhand or underhand - a description of each of the grip types
- About the Brockport test battery
- Good day, i am a wrestling coach from South Africa. I really like the dead hang test preseason as to determine upper body strength of the athletes. However after a extensive search i am unable to find a suitable scale indicating the performance of the athlete. What i usually do is multiply the time the athlete hangs with the weight of the athlete, which in my mind neutralizes the weight factor. For example, athlete 1 weighs 150kg and holds 10 second, resulting in a Kg.s score of 1500. An second athlete weighs 100kg and also holds on for 10 seconds resulting in a score of 1000. the fist athletes out performs the second one when compared to each other. But is there not a scale available which indicates that the first athlete for example needs to hang 20seconds @150kg to be good/Average/poor (Johnny, January 2021)
- the protocol here uses only hang time as the test score, which is fine when comparing an individual's score over time, but as you said it would be nice to get a rating score for each performance, which will be complicated by the differing body weights of the athletes. Unfortunately I do not know of any norm tables for this test. (Rob, admin)