Skin the cat exercise: What is it?

This exercise is designed to make the shoulders flexible, and capable of making your shoulders free from injuries. You can progress from the beginner stage to that of the advanced stage.

Skin the cat is an exercise aimed at building the shoulder girdles, as well as the abdominal muscles, and giving them high strength. If you continue with them, you will see changes in pulling exercises like front lever work, chin up and so on.

You can do the skin the cat exercise, even if you are a novice.

What is the skin the cat exercise?

This exercise starts with a hanging position before it moves past the shoulder. It is usually a rotational 360 pull. The exercise will work on the abdominal muscles, triceps, as well as lats.

The Skin the cat exercise is used by those who want strength training, especially gymnasts. It has a lot of benefits to even those not in the gymnastics world. It has a lot of benefits, yet very easy to do.

Flexible and stronger shoulders are great for anyone, and getting them can be deemed very easy with Skin the cat exert. It benefits every athlete, lifter or anyone involved in sports.

The German hang is usually the skin the cat’s bottom position. It is at this position that your shoulders get stretched.

Different Ways of skinning the cat

Grip Position

You can hang on a bar using the following ways like overhand- pronated grip and underhand- supinated grip.

Overhand grip or the pronated grip is this variation of the grip that is easier to do. As a beginner, you can start with it. The lats muscles usually are emphasized by the pronated grip.

Underhand grip or the supinated grip adds a lot of emphasis on the triceps’ long head. This kind of hold also works on the shoulder stretch, as it is known to become different because of its different shoulder rotation and angle. The underhand grip will lead to a stretching of the forearms and wrists.

Gymnastic and Bar Rings

You can do skin the cat with any of the listed above, but the gymnastic rings offer the user a little more freedom in rotating the wrists. If you want to work on your wrists, use the gymnastic rings. Because they can rotate, you could say it is wrist friendly.

The gymnastic rings give its users a lot of space at the top. Thud allows you to easily get your legs above your shoulders, especially if you are not flexible. You can use the gymnastic rings both at home and at the gym.

Skin the Cat: Its progressions from beginner to advanced


It is unwise to try doing the German hang, as well as the full skin the cat if you don’t have flexible shoulders to keep the positions for a while. As a novice or beginner, it is crucial that you begin by trying to stretch out your shoulders. You can try out from the most comfortable stretch you are comfortable with before working your way up. It is possible for you to stretch against a table, sofa or even a bench.

You can try the German hang, but not the full position. This means that your shoulders should not be allowed to hold your whole bodyweight, especially since your shoulders are not flexible. You can use it as a way to test the flexibility level of your shoulders.

When you start feeling comfortable with the positions, you can decide to work your way up in the skin the cat progressions. The next one is the intermediate progression.


This includes the bent arms and the bent knee. As you start this exercise, you may have lacked both the strength and flexibility to easily do exercises with straight legs and straight arms, which is the position and goal of skin the cat exercise. You can do the exercise with bent arms, as well as tucked legs at the beginning, but you can graduate to straight legs and arms later. In that stance, it will be straightforward to rotate the upper body.


This stage involves both straight arms and straight legs. At first, you started with little or no strength and flexibility, then you graduated to tucked legs and bent arms. Now, you are at the advanced progression of the exercise. For the advanced form of this exercise, you should have hamstrings’ flexibility, as well as strength. To ensure you can keep the L-sit stance, you have to work very hard, especially on your abdominal muscles. You will also need on the muscles.

When to do skin the cat?

The skin the cat exercise is one exercise that you can start your workout with, or you can use it to finish the routine. The skin the cat helps to warm your whole body up.

When starting, you can start with one to three reps. Then work your way up. As a beginner, you should do your stretches for about ten to sixty seconds for every set.

You can do the German hang for thirty seconds, as a way to work on the flexibility of your shoulders.

How to do the skin the cat?

You start by gripping the gym rings, and being in the dead hang positions while having your hands turned out.

While doing this, ensure to keep both your legs and arms straight. Raise up your legs, while pointing your toes. Keep the movement going until your feet are capable of passing up via your arms, as well overhead to form the pike inverted hang position.

You should then continue passing the feet down and round close to the ground, but don’t touch the ground, until you get to the extended ‘skin the cat’ stance. While doing this, ensure that you extend your arms.

You should then lift your hips before raising your legs over and back to their starting hang stance.

Get started!

There you have it, everything you need to get started with shoulder flexibility and the first step to your full back lever. Skin the cat is an excellent exercise for beginners to increase your strength and shoulder flexibility. For other skin the cat is an excellent warm-up exercise and a great way to improve your flexibility.

Tell us if you are doing the exercise already and how it helps you get to your goals.






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