Jump to content
Thomas Humberg

German Hang - is protraction absolutely necessary?

Recommended Posts

Hi there! :)

I hope this is the right subforum, even if I have not recorded a video.

My question regarding the german hang:
Is Protraction absolutely necessary to safely apply force to my shoulders? In other words: Can I be confident about not harming myself in the long run when just letting the shoulder girdle relax and slide into retraction? 

Some more background info:
I am fairly strong and especially my shoulder girdle is quite tight and rigid. However I can get into the german hang even in a retracted state without any shoulder pain whatsoever and the stretch feels even more intense when I do not protract my shoulders. I assume since my shoulder blades can move freely and I do not feel any pain, it should be safe to go for the deeper stretch?

I watched quite a lot of videos on the subject in which people teach to always protract the shoulders "to control the position" without giving any further information on the subject.

Cheers,
Thomas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always wondered about this myself, whether or not to keep it as an active hang  to feel 'safe' in the position. But I have been playing with just fully relaxing in the end position, as I feel a way better stretch than trying to keep active. I think it is just up to whether you are able to feel good in the end position fully relaxed, as for some people that might be too intense therefore the advice to protract the shoulders.

In the end I would say to just follow the oldest trick in the book; listen to your body :P.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Thomas,

I am no expert, especially on the anatomy of the shoulder girdle, so take my comment with a grain of salt.

I view the German hang as a single piece of the skin the cat movement (or full dislocate/inlocate, ultimately). I believe the goal in these movements should be to move the shoulder girdle through its full range of motion, and will include protraction, retraction, depression, and elevation. My guess is that any recommendations about focusing on protraction in the German hang position have to do with protecting an unprepared shoulder girdle since the position is obviously weighted and can be quite intense.

That said, connective tissues are ridiculously strong. Unless you happen to have unstable shoulders or can relax enough to go to sleep in the position, I think as long as you feel safe in the position you are going to be fine. When you are pushing your limits, you will naturally/instinctively increase muscular tension around those joints and tissues, so as long as you feel safe, you probably are. If you don't feel safe, you're probably rushing and pushing too hard :lol:

Personally, I always aim to relax as much as possible in the position while maintaining a feeling of stability. I don't pay much attention to retraction or protraction, but I generally lean toward protraction. The reason for this is that it moves the stretch to the tissues that are tighter in my own case. Try the position while supporting yourself enough to feel comfortable moving from protraction to retraction, and pay attention to how the stretch changes. One may be better for your own body than the other!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to both of you. :)
The reason why I asked instead of just listening to my body:
In some occasions you do not feel immediately that you're hurting yourself. Bench pressing without keeping your shoulder blades retracted taken as an example. 
But of course when practicing the german hang my shoulder blades can move freely. So it may be an unfair comparison. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/14/2018 at 3:09 AM, Riccardo Barbieri said:

For maximise the stretch in the position, the shoulder have to stay depressed and retracted.

I disagree; while it took a long time for me to be able to do this, the best stretch comes when you can hang in the position and be relaxed: literally hanging. Many muscles will have to be loosened to do this—so actively controlling your descent is critical, to avoid injury. Your recommendation does increase the sensations, for sure, but once the long head of biceps and pec. minor can relax enough, then the shoulders will naturally elevate and there will be no need for active retraction. By then, of course, the "stretch" will be much less intense, which is the goal. You will be much stronger, too.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...