A “Salute” To The Ultimate Bodyweight Exercise – “Performing The Human Flag” by Tim Bell


Progressing Towards The Human Flag
Guest Post by:  Timothy Bell PTS

The human flag, it’s easily one of the most impressive feats of strength, core stability, tension, and total body control ever created. The human flag involves holding onto a vertical pole and supporting your body weight completely horizontal with only your hands touching the pole. Its a technique that many dream of one day performing, yet few know how to actually train to progress towards performing the human flag. As with every physical feat of strength there is a path of progressions that will help you one day achieve the human flag!

First things first, you’ll need to be very comfortable holding abdominal and core stability exercises for long periods of time. I would suggest starting with basic front planks, side planks, and super man holds. Once you’re holding all of these for longer than a minute each, it’s time to move onto some advanced planks. Advanced planks involve removing one or more limbs, for example performing a front plank with one foot off the ground.

Next, you’ll want to build your upper body strength in both pushing and pulling, this is because the human flag actually involves both pushing and pulling techniques. For this reason I would highly suggest becoming proficient in push ups and pull ups including the multiple variations shown in the “Body Weight Solution” ebook. Another great technique to aid in you in your path towards performing the flag is simply holding a hand stand. The hand stand hold can be done with your feet resting on a wall, or with no support what so ever. This will help build your shoulder stability, sense of balance and total body tension.

You’ll also want to include some techniques that put a tremendous amount of pressure and tension on your abs during movement. Some that I would suggest would be hollow rocks, fronts levers, hand walk outs, or even ab wheel roll outs. The first function of your abs is to prevent your body from breaking in half or spinning all the way around, so improving this function is imperative to making the human flag a reality.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to discuss actually practicing the human flag. First things first, when it comes to hand placement be sure to have the top hand facing away from your body with the thumb facing towards the sky. The bottom hand will need to be rotated clock wise and the palm facing away from you with the thumb towards the ground. Next make sure your gripping really wide on the pole, one of the biggest mistakes people make is having their hands too close together. When you hop up into the flag hold, remember to push really hard into the poll with your bottom hand and pull very hard with the top hand. If you’re not able to hold yourself up with your legs straight, then there’s a few options to help you out. You could try a straddle flag, all that means is spreading your legs as wide as you can during the flag to bring the weight your holding closer to your upper body. If that’s still too hard then try it with bent knees.

Once you’re holding the straddle flag for a few seconds you’ll be ready to try the full straight leg flag. Be sure to flex and tense your abs, legs, butt, very hard at the same time as pointing your toes and pulling/pushing very hard into the poll. Don’t be disappointed if you’re only holding the flag for a few seconds, over time and with practice it will get better!

So there you have it, the steps you’ll need to follow in order to achieve the human flag. They’re the same steps I followed and have taught many others so that they may successfully achieve the human flag. So get to practicing and listen to your body, rest when you need to and take is slowly at first. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll send me a video of your first human flag!! For more details and to see the techniques I’ve described, check out the video, below.

What bodyweight progressions, do you want the coaches of the New Warrior Nation to cover, in future blog posts? Post your suggestions in the comments section below, and we”ll get to work on it!

Timothy Bell is a heath/fitness educator, founder of Jungle Fit – Personal Training, and author of the “Jungle Fit Body Weight Solution.”
For more  information on Jungle Fit as well as Timothy Bell visit www.Jungle-Fit.com

  • Khensu

    You are cool.