Human flag tutorial
The human flag requires a bulletproof core before you even start training for it. For beginners it is recommended to train a strong dragon flag first – it will save you tears and keeps you injury-free. Getting your foundation built first makes the difference between average results and exceptional results.
The human flag is an interesting move, since it is simultaneously a pulling and a pushing movement. Contrary to the popular belief, the primary muscles used in human flag aren’t in your core – the limiting factor with the flag is your upper body strength. The upper hand acts as the pulling apparatus to help provide the support against which you can lift your body up to a horizontal level. Train your pulling strength to a level where you can do at least eight wide grip pull ups.
The single most important factor of the puzzle is your ability press with the lower arm. However, bench pressing double your body weight has little carry over to the scapular control required to apply the press correctly to achieve the human flag. In the very beginning all strength is naturally welcome, but to really stay injury free and to get great results you need to train some strength in the planche lean and frog stand exercises. So consider adding these moves to your workout routine, if you haven’t already done that.
Preparing the shoulders - The vertical flag
3 x 10 second hold – both sides
The bottom shoulder is the most vulnerable asset when training for the human flag. The hardest work is done here – The first steps can not be skipped if you wish to avoid injury.
Gradually build the strength and flexibility to be able to carry your body weight while fully extending the shoulder.
Preparing the shoulders 2 - The twisted vertical flag
5 x 8 seconds – both sides
Here we are adding the active range of motion for the shoulder joint. When performing full flags, you will encounter orientations where the weak links in your bottom shoulder will show up. Here we introduce a more extreme range of motion in a controlled manner.
Gradually start rotating your body so that your back faces the ground. Only start with slight rotation to avoid excess strain on the bottom shoulder.
5 x 6 lifts – both sides
Now the pressure on the bottom shoulder increases as we start lifting our body and legs up the ground. Check out the Next Level App for full illustrations!
Start from a strong vertical flag. Start lifting your legs up wide apart (to increase leverage). Your bottom shoulder should stay extended during the body lifting. If you can’t hold the shoulder extended, go back to training the vertical flag.