Pure calisthenics. The human flag, or flag, is one of the most popular skills and, although not "extreme", it always gives a lot of satisfaction. Getting to perform it, however, is not so obvious.
What is the human flag
Is an showstopper. You are walking down the street, you see a lamppost, and so: without warning you grab it, throw your legs upwards, and you become a human flag.
The huma flag is a mixed exercise, as the upper arm is pulling, while the lower arm is pushing. Core and legs are contracted to keep the body horizontal.
The position of the hands? Responds to ambivalence: the upper hand grabs the bar or support, the lower one pushes it away.
As with all calisthenics skills, the starting point is the prerequisites. And the prerequisites are these:
- isometric side plank, up to 3 series of 60 ″
- scapular pull with asymmetrical handle - 12/15 rep
- one-arm hang, 30 ″
- 4 sets of 10 traditional pull ups (no kipping!)
At this point, you can work on the progression.
WARNING: the human flag is fully part of the calisthenics. Preparatory exercises, complementary exercises, terminology: it is another world, difficult to compress into a short article. I recommend that you google any "extravagant" term you will read from here on, and study the progression carefully to avoid 1, the frustration of not making it, and 2, the risk of back injuries (not all that unknown in the practice of huma flag). As always, PATIENCE IS EVERYTHING.
The progression towards the human flag
1 - Work on strength
The useful exercises at this stage are:
- Side plank with distance: the supporting arm must be held in axis with the shoulders (the supporting hand will be beyond the perpendicular of the head). Aim for 5 × 45 ″.
- One-arm hip hiker. Hang from the pull up bar with one arm and engage your lower back to "push" your legs from side to side, beyond the vertical of the body. Aim for 5 × 15 per side.
- Pike shoulder push up, 15/20 rep. (These push ups are performed with the feet on a bench, and the trunk perfectly vertical to the ground).
Once you manage to meet these requirements, you can proceed.
2 - Hanging side pull
Similar to the hip hiker, simulates the position of the human flag, but vertically. In short: perform a dead hang, lower and retract the shoulder blades. At this point, the movement: lower only one shoulder blade and shift the weight of the lower body to that side. Repeat on the other side.
3 - Hold at 45 degrees
This exercise teaches your body like pushing and pulling at the same time. It is performed in a rack equipped with a pull up bar: the hands are already positioned as for the human flag. The goal is to stay in a contracted position.
4 - Flag plank
Like a side plank, but with the upper arm still on a back bar. It serves to build the necessary strength in the shoulders, lats and core.
5 - Straddle flag lower downs
The position of the arms is that of the human flag. You "throw" your legs in straddle (i.e. broaden), core contracted, and slowly lower yourself to the ground.
6 - Double leg drops
Like the previous exercise, only the legs remain together.
7 - Human flag
At this point, it's time to try your first human flag!
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