Flexed Arm Hang

The flexed arm hang is a pull-up progression exercise and a common military test of upper body strength.

Primary Muscle Biceps
Secondary Muscle(s) Forearms, Back
Difficulty Intermediate
Also known as Flexed Hang, Flex hang
Optional Rings, Pull-up Bar

How to do flex hangs

  1. Grip the bar or rings with hands shoulder width apart and get into the top most pull-up position, with chin above the bar (you may need to use a bench or partner for assistance to achieve this). 
  2. Without any support other than your hands, simply try to hold your chin above the bar for as long as possible. 
  3. Rest and Repeat.


  • You may find it easier to start with an underhand grip as a beginner. 
  • Engage all upper body muscles to build tension and support throughout the body.  
  • If the exercise is too difficult the use of resistance bands to reduce the body weight used during the exercise can be an effective method.

Flexed Arm Hangs Guide

The flexed arm is great demonstration of impressive strength to bodyweight ratio and is often used as a measure of upper body endurance. 

Any sports that require good grip strength and endurance will benefit from flexed arm hang training.

Flexed Arm Pull-up Progression

The flex hang is an excellent progression exercise to bodyweight pull-ups and should be introduced to training after mastering the dead hang.

As you practice the exercise you will increase your hold time. When you can hold the position for 10+ seconds you should move on to negative pull-ups to continue your path to full pull-ups.

Flexed Arm Hang Testing

The flexed arm hang is a popular military testing exercise. It's purpose is to measure upper body strength and endurance by timing how long someone can hang with their chin above a bar. 

Members of the Marine Corps are required to pass the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) twice a year.  One of the exercises used to gauge the upper body endurance for women is the flexed arm hang (instead of the pull-up test used for men). 

To pass the flexed hang test, marines must hang for at least 15 seconds. Maximum points (100) can be earned by hanging for at least 70 seconds. Partcipants are timed on the bar and the timer is stopped if the chin touches or falls below the bar. 


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.