Hanging from a bar… how hard could that be?
The Canadian band Walk Off The Earth found out. The five-some, best known for folksy pop covers of hit songs (including a redux of Gotye’s haunting “Somebody I Used to Know,” which has a whopping 170 million YouTube views), released the music video for “Hold On” yesterday. In it, the five band members participate in the 1st annual “Hold-On-A-Thon,” a challenge in which they compete to see who can hold on to a high bar the longest.
Although it might seem easy, gravity starts to take its toll pretty quickly. “This is 100 percent forearm and hand strength,” explains Steve Edwards, Beachbody’s Vice President of Fitness and Nutrition. It’s a very specific strength and is not really an indicator of total-body fitness. It’s functional strength, which impacts the relationship between your nervous and muscular systems. You see this kind of move in our functional programs, like the P90X series and INSANITY: THE ASYLUM,” says Edwards. Rock climbers and gymnasts make their livings off forearm endurance, as do school kids making their way across the monkey bars.
While you might not be scaling mountains on a regular basis, forearm strength is an important part of many exercises, such as pull-ups. “If you are failing at pull-ups due to lack of hand strength, I’d say it’s time to add some forearm training into your routine because that is muscular imbalance on a dangerous level,” says Edwards.
If you want to host your own Hold-On-A-Thon or just get better at pull-ups, there are a few ways you can build up your strength. Tony Horton incorporates moves to work your forearms and hand muscles into many of his programs and this video focuses on grip and forearm strength entirely. Another option is doing the rice bucket challenge. “This is an easy way to ensure your forearms are strong enough so that you don’t cause tendon injuries,” says Edwards.
Check out the music video below, and see if you can hold on until the end.