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Extended-Arm Hang Test

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.

Athlete performing the extended arm hang testextended arm hang test

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.

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