The human flag is an advanced street workout move. Even for experienced athletes this is one of the more difficult exercises. The human flag requires a very strong core body. Not only does it grab plenty of attention, but it’s a great full body exercise that trains the side abs, lats, and shoulders. To achieve this gravity-defying exercise, it’s important to make sure you know how to perform the human flag correctly. This will help keep you from injuries and ensure you have the best chance to perform this maneuver.

Basics of the Human Flag

Human flag CalisthenicsTo perform the human flag, you first need to focus on proper form. The human flag involves placing both of your hands on a vertical pole. You then lift your body off the ground until your legs are sticking straight out until they’re parallel with the ground. Your legs must be closed, your arms must be straight out, and there must be nothing else supporting your body.

How To Perform The Human Flag

You may find your initial attempts to perform the human flag to be extremely difficult. However, it’s important to ensure you have the right technique from the beginning and then slowly train your body over time. Here is what you need to know.

Find the Right Pole

You may want to start with a square pole instead of a round one. A square pole will allow you to get a better grip. A good pole diameter is about 2 inches, but if you consistently fail to get a decent grip on the pole you’re trying, you may want to experiment with different pole lengths and diameters. You can also try to find a horizontal pole from a fence for instance. This may give you slightly more stability and prevent your body from moving sideways.

Positioning Your Hands

How you position your hands is very important. Your bottom hand should be in an underhand grip while your top hand should be about 6 inches above your head. Be sure to use a mixed grip, which means your palms should be in different directions. A mixed grip will keep you locked in place and keep you from slipping around the pole. In the human flag position on a vertical pole, both of your thumbs should be facing the ground.

Regardless of where you place your hands, your arms should form a 90-degree angle when you reach the final flag position. Different people put different amounts of space between their arms.

Getting Into Flag Position And Holding It

Human FlagActually getting into flag position can be difficult. You must swing your body into the proper position. First, grip the pole with your hands. Ensure your arms are completely straight and then lock your elbows in place. Start by swinging your back leg in to the air. Once you gain a bit of momentum, it’s time to swing your other leg up to reach the first leg. Once you have both legs in the air, try to lock them together once you reach the desired 90-degree position. It may take a number of tries before you have an idea of how much force you should put into this swinging motion. Try to perform the swing in a controlled manner as much as possible.

While you’re kicking up your legs, you must also twist your core so your whole body is in a straight line.  Once you’re in position, try to lock your body in place. It will take a lot of effort, but a spotter can help you the first few times and also give you an idea if your body is truly at a 90-degree position. You may not be able to hold it too long. Wang Zhonghua, who held the human flag position for 1 minute and 5 seconds, currently holds the world record.

Ultimately, the human flag usually takes a lot of practice to achieve, but those who master the calisthenics move gain some respect from their workout buddies!