Overloading hanging technique
Before I got into serious hanging, I put 1500 hours in extending (all of my extending was straight down). I averaged 10 hours a day for the first 1000 hours. There were countless times where my ligs were very sore from my aggressive approach to extending. I bring this up only because I have had a terrible time trying to reach fatigue while hanging, and I believe it was a combination of having well conditioned ligs from extending, and possibly even because my suspensory ligament has reached its full stretched potential. In any case, I wasn't able to reach fatigue while hanging and I was never sore the next day even using the maximum amount of weight I could use (until the attachment became too uncomfortable anyways). This technique has really helped me reach fatigue and I believe that its going to accelerate my gains from hanging.
After a lot of trial and error, I have found a technique that has helped me reach fatigue and even feel sore and fatigues the next day. I simply refer to it as "Overloading"- I will try to explain it here as best I can so that others can experiment with this technique, add to it and benefit from it as well. Admittedly, I haven't been overloading for too long – but from the first time I've tried it, I can tell that it is doing something different for me. I don't advertise this as being for everyone, nor do I claim that it is the best or only technique out there (Progressive hanging is a prime example of a great technique which many people use quite successfully). Everyone responds to things differently - I encourage everyone to experiment a little with various routines and techniques to find what works best for them.
The basic idea of overloading is to hang with a heavier weight than normal for a short duration, then back off to a lighter weight to ride the fatigue out. The first thing we need to do is establish a baseline weight- a weight heavy enough that you can barely get through a 20 minute session. Most experienced hangers should already know what this weight is for them. If you are new to hanging, you should give overloading a try in a couple months after getting a little more conditioned. Progressive hanging would be a great prelude to attempting to overload, as well as allowing you to establish what your baseline weight is.
Next, you have to devise a way to easily add and remove weights while you are hanging. Many people hang their weights in a manner which prevents them from changing weights without complete removal of all weights from the hanger (Like if the attachment strap went through the middle hole of a standard plate weight). This will not work for overloading! What has worked for me is to make a loop at the top of my weights using duct tape – the “S” hook on my hanger can then attach to the weights through these hoops. Even better would be to use para-chord to make a loop at the top of each weight plate (it would be much better looking than my duct tape method!). This will make it easy to add and remove weights as needed quickly and easily without having to completely disconnect from the hanger. Here is a picture of my weight set that I use for hanging - it consists of 2 10 lb plates, a 5 lb plate and a 2.5 lb. plate, for a total of 27.5 lbs. I can fit all plates on my hanger with no issues.
Here are the individual plates with the duct tape loops on them
Here I am overloading with 27.5 lbs. - I normally get about 5 minutes overloading at this weight, then back off to 20 lbs to ride out the fatigue.
Now that you have established a baseline hanging weight and came up with a way to change weights on-the-fly, it's time to give overloading a try! I always like to start with a few minutes of warming up by hanging half of my baseline weight and swinging it back and forth between my legs. After a little time warming up, start hanging your first set at your baseline weight. After about 5 minutes of letting your body adjust to the weigh, add some extra weight (start at an extra 2.5-5 lbs) with the goal of keeping this overloaded weight on for 2-5 minutes, then remove the overloaded weights so that you are back to your baseline weight. Give yourself a few minutes to recover, and then do one more overload during your set (so a typical 20-minute set would start out at your baseline weight for 5 minutes, overload for 5 minutes, go back to your baseline for 5 minutes, overload for 5 minutes again, then finish with 5 more minutes at your baseline). Being able to change weights on the fly means that if you overdid it a little, you have the option of dropping below your baseline weight if you need to, or even breaking up your overloading into multiple 1-minute occurances per set. If you successfully overloaded 2.5 lbs for a full 5 minutes, go ahead and try 5lbs, or even up to 7.5 lbs of overloaded weight. Personally, I like to raise my baseline weight by 2.5 lbs any time I can overload 7.5 lbs for 5 minutes. Don't worry if you can't overload for a full 5 minutes, I've found that even shorter 2 minute overloads were successful in helping me reach fatigue.
I believe that there are two reasons that overloading is working well for me.
1) Obviously the extra overload weight will get you to fatigue faster, after which you can ride out the fatigue at your baseline weight. This helps you constantly push and challenge your body.
2) I believe there is a mental aspect to overloading. It's always a relief when the overloaded weights are removed and all of the sudden the same baseline weight feels much lighter than it did just before the overload. This is kind of like walking around wearing ankle weights for a while, then taking them off.. Your feet and legs will magically feel lighter.
A word of warning!
It goes without saying that hanging, and PE in general comes with some risk. Aggressive routines and techniques, such as overloading, can definitely add to this risk. Please be smart and listen to your body. You want to push your limits, but not overdo it. Please don't push yourself into an injury!
I'd love to hear from anyone that has tried overloading or similar techniques. I'd highly recommend trying overloading if you are like me and have a very difficult time reaching fatigue.