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Ido Portal’s 30 Day Hang Challenge?


It’s been far too long since I’ve ran an experiment in which I can document my ongoing results with you guys. It’s actually one of my favourite ways to use this website.

I’m not really a fan of the generic 30 day challenge idea mostly because they promise what can’t be delivered. Take the 30 day splits challenge; can we really guarantee everyone who tries this challenge will have full front splits by day 30? No. Absolutely not. What will happen is some people may get the full splits, others will see marked improvements in their mobility and some will see almost no gains. This is the variability in response to exercise, folks!

Nevertheless, some people have had great success with different 30 day protocols for all kinds of things. Almost a year ago now, at Emmet Louis’ Modern Methods Of Mobility Seminar, I met a guy called Ollie who told me about Ido Portal’s 30 day challenges; there’s a squat mobility one and a hanging one (there may be more?), how we got on to this topic was simply due to me complimenting him on his amazing deep squat mobility and his equally awesome single arm, active hangs.

He told me he’d ran these challenges a couple of times and each time he’d reaped major benefits. This was a whole year ago now. I vowed then to try them and still hadn’t until very recently.

Hanging for 7 minutes (accumulated) every day for 30 days – why?

There are 3 reasons I am now 7 days into the hang challenge:

  1. My hang strength compared to my pull strength is poor, I struggle to hang for much more than 2 minutes!
  2. My shoulder mobility is also poor. Tight lats, tight thoracic spine and just no freedom overhead.
  3. I’ve been reading about the powers of hanging with regards to healing chronic shoulder pain. As someone with shoulder issues, I want to give this cheap and simple remedy a shot.

You’re instructed to use a combination of active and passive hanging – active being shoulders pulled down and back (engaged scapula) and passive being shoulders shrugged up and a relaxed scapula. I am mostly using the relaxed variation simply for the mobility aspect of it, because that’s my deficit.

Findings so far – 

At only day 7 my shoulder pain has improved. As mentioned above, there is a book by John M Kirsch which endorses hanging being an almost foolproof way of healing chronic shoulder issues. The book is going on my ‘to read’ list as I’d love to learn the science behind it!


My hands are heavily callused though and this is something that anyone inexperienced with hanging or grip dependant exercise may struggle with. One thing I’ve done is started using my plastic gymnastic rings and taping them, this helps massively with rough skin. Another amazing healing method is warm epsom salt water soaks.

(Related Reading: Handling Calluses & Torn Skin When Training)

The last thing you want is tearing as you won’t be able to hang at all if this happens. It’s important for this reason that you don’t hang until failure; the 7 minutes needn’t be in as few sets as possible. It doesn’t work like that. I also like mixing the grips up between overhand, underhand and neutral.

I have seen a visible improvement in my overhead mobility – both passively and actively. Holding things like handstands feel easier and I do feel like I’m standing taller. Just think: what will it be like after another 3 weeks?!

I will keep you updated between now and day 30. By which time I’ll write an extensive ‘report’ on my findings. Do you have any 30 day challenge experiences to share? I’d love to hear them. Drop me a comment below!


JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

2 thoughts on “Ido Portal’s 30 Day Hang Challenge? Leave a comment

  1. I find difficult to hang grip is poor but am determined to
    get the hold by hanging for the short time James it has
    helped my shoulder injury have seen your torn hands
    but definitely the empsom salts have helped the healing.

    • Yes I’m finding hanging to really help my shoulder issue too. I really think there’s something in that book and its philosophies! The skin adapts eventually, it’s just ‘manning up’ and enduring it for a little while.

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