Lab Rats Needed to Test Progressions for Max Effort Dead Hangs and Front Bridge/Planks

Sorry – We’ve received all the lab rats we need for this study.

By Rob Shaul

MTI is calling for remote lab rats for an upcoming, narrow and focused, 3.5 weeks, 3-day/week Mini-Study comparing the effectiveness of two progression methodologies to max effort dead hang and front bridge/plank for time.

This will be a focused study, just on these two events, and can be completed simultaneously with your current training.

Specifically, we’re interested to see if we can identify which progression works best to improve max-effort time-based events like these.

This mini-study will begin Monday, February 1. The deadline to apply is 1700 Mountain Time, Friday, January 29, 2021.



Lab Rats will be broken into 2 groups: Group A, and Group B. Both groups will complete a max effort dead hang from a pull up bar and front bridge effort. Each group will complete different progressions.  Hand Release Push Up and Max Rep Pull Up efforts, then each will complete a different progression.

Group A will complete a modified “Density” progression for bodyweight exercises, 3 days/week.

Group B will complete MTI’s new “Sinister” progression of 5 max time efforts with a short break between, 3 days/week.

Each group will perform its individual progression for 3 weeks, then on the Monday of week 4, each will re-assess max effort dead hang and front bridge for time and we’ll compare the results.

Lab Rats will be able to complete these progressions on top or in addition to their regular current training, we just ask that for the duration of the study, you not complete any additional front bridging or dead hangs. Each days’ effort will take 15-30 minutes depending on your incoming fitness (it will take longer for more fit athletes)


What We Hope To Learn

Hopefully, the results will identify which progression works best for improving time-based max-effort events. Recently the US Marine Corps made a max-effort front plank for time an option on the USMC PFT instead of the crunches.

In our MTI’s own programming, we’ve used max effort dead hangs to train ice and rock climber grip strength.

But, until now, we’ve never tested different progressions against each other.


Required Equipment

  • Pull Up Bar
  • Countdown repeating timer and stopwatch (smartphone will work).


Cycle Duration and Schedule

This MTI Mini-Study will take 3.5 weeks. It will begin Monday, February 1, 2021, with the initial assessments and progressions. On the Monday of Week 4, February 22, 2021, lab rats will reassess and results between the two progressions will be compared. You’ll train Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


To Participate

  • You’ll need to commit to training Pull Up Bar Dead Hang and Front Bridge Intervals, 3 days/week for 3.5 weeks, and follow the program as prescribed
  • You’ll need to commit to only do this training for dead hangs and front bridges. No other dead hang or front bridge-specific training is allowed during the study period as it will skew the results.
  • You’ll need the required equipment (see above)
  • You’ll need to be an experienced, fit athlete.

This is a focused mini-study which only involves dead hangs and front bridges. You’ll be able to do other training as well, just no additional dead hanging or front bridging.


Want to be an MTI Lab Rat?

Please email, and put “Dead Hang/Front Bridge Lab Rat” in the subject line.

Please include:

  • your age
  • your bodyweight
  • Finally, please verify you can commit to the 3.5 weeks, 3 day/week training cycle.

You’ll be assigned to a Group, and provided with further instructions. Training will start on February 1, 2021.

We’re hoping to get 25-30 lab rats for this study.



Subscribe to MTI's Newsletter - BETA