Hi everyone, welcome to this new article! 😄
After writing an article on: how to get your Front Lever? We are going to talk about another emblematic figure of the Street Workout: The Flag
The Human Flag is a symbolic figure of the street workout and of the control of one's own body in space, it made us all dream one day. Even if this position seems to defy gravity like no other, it is probably the most impressive in relation to its difficulty.
So, if it still makes you dream today, good news, it is accessible to any man, regardless of his size and weight, as well as to the vast majority of women, provided they put in the necessary work.
Having a dream or a goal is great, but in this article I would like to offer you something better, a complete and applicable system to turn it into reality. The purpose of this guide is to give you all the weapons you may need to soon raise your own colors to the wind and we start without further ado with the prerequisites.
PRE-REQUISITES AND FLAG
The flag is a figure that requires you to push and pull at the same time while keeping a solid body sheathing, which includes the lateral chain that we are less used to engage in normal times. It is thus a complete exercise which requires mainly good bases of muscular reinforcement and thus before starting it, I will advise you first to reach a dozen pull-ups and dips, as well as to be familiar with the leg raises. You also need a strong grip, so don't hesitate to train one-armed hangs, although a little liquid chalk will do a lot of the work.
Mastering the Dragon Flag will be a big bonus, or if not, training it on the side will help a lot. One last point that is not mandatory either, but will train the sides of your body and unlock an easier trick to stay motivated, you can learn the semi flag:
The initial positioning of the arms is very important. First progression: the front support for which you will put the elbow in the belly and hold without touching the ground. Then, the lateral support which requires you to put your elbow to the side now, and then from there it's a matter of starting to contract your body and force your arms more to be able to raise your semi flag gradually to the horizontal:
Now for the complete flag: we will note 3 different types of holds.
- First: those on a vertical bar for which the upper hand is in pronation, palm forward and the lower one in supputation, palm along the bar.
- Second: the grip on two horizontal bars for which we want the palms facing each other and the hands directly one above the other.
- In third place: the mixed grip, which includes all the other possible combinations such as the hammer grip, the one with the top or bottom hand flat, or other more exotic variations. The vertical bar grip complicates the exercise because you have to fight the tendency of the body to turn around the bar.
And so, to pick up the flag again, I strongly advise you to practice with two horizontal holds or at least for the top hand. The width of the grip will depend on the individual and the facility available.
THE HEATING OF THE FLAG
For the general warm-up, you can keep the same as for your usual workouts with some pull-ups and dips.
As a specific warm-up, standing obliques will be ideal to get well prepared, you can also do some standard floor gainer. By the way, speaking of sheathing, in this little section I'm going to introduce you to a series of increasingly difficult positions that I like to call the flag preliminaries.
You can do them as a warm-up, consider them as the very first progressions to master in order to gradually reach the final exercise or, if you are confident in your abilities or already have a good general level, you can decide to skip them entirely and go straight to the heart of the matter.
STATIC FLAG PROGRESSIONS
When it comes to the flag, I'm talking about static progressions. First of all, I'd like to make a little distinction with respect to the term I'm going to use here, specifically between two types of flags.
Firstly, the front flag, whose position is reminiscent of the Front Lever or Dragon Flag and where the front of the body will be facing the sky and is therefore different from the side flag or the flag during which the body is directly facing the sides.
In my opinion, the front flag is easier than the side flag and in these progressions, we will use both, especially because they are complementary, but also because some positions work poorly with the side flag. For example, we'll avoid doing tucks on the side, because putting your knees forward will move your center of mass forward, throwing you off balance and possibly causing you to spin. Anyway, let's start with the first progression.
1) The 45 degree flag
The first, the 45 degree flag which is worth it but you can skip it if you don't have the setup.
2) Supported flag
Secondly, you will be able to move on to the assisted flag support and to do this, we need to clarify a few important execution points here, but also for the following.
First of all, you want to be careful not to face the ground or the sky, but directly to the side while opening your rib cage well and keeping your head between your arms and not behind them. It is important to keep your arms straight while pulling with the upper one and pushing with the lower one. By the way, you have to push actively with all your arms, shoulders included, which should not stay stuck to your head, which is a frequent mistake at the beginning. And if you have difficulty with that, it is there that to train the gainage that we saw before will be able to serve you.
And that's how you end up in a nice flag support position that you will surely want to assist with your feet at first, then less and less, until you manage to hold the active flag support for which you will aim for a good 10 to 15 seconds.
3) The active flag support
4) The shoulder press
The active support shoulder press will help you a lot for the next step. It will clearly facilitate the next step.
5) The flag jump
Here, it is going to be a question of training you to jump sufficiently high while forcing on the arms and the abdomen to succeed in finding you the head down, in vertical flag, in tuck, always in active support, stable and the tended arms.
6) The front tuck flag
The front tuck flag that you want to lower in a controlled manner from the vertical flag until you can hold it for at least 5 good seconds in a row. Especially for this progression, but maybe also for the following ones, you might find it completely out of your capabilities to be able to lock the position horizontally.
In this case, the best thing to do is to strengthen yourself by doing only negative reps that you can then slow down more and more, until you finally succeed in blocking them completely.
By the way, if you are stuck somewhere, you can also regress one or two steps and work in positive reps.
The next three progressions are not always necessary, as was the one before, and their difficulty in relation to each other may vary according to the individual.
So, it's up to you to test a little and keep the ones that suit you best.
7) The 1-leg front flag
As for all the exercises in this sport, the one-legged variations are always done with the thigh perpendicular to the body which remains quite straight and not with the knee pulled against the pecs which breaks the whole execution.
8) Lateral flag legs spread
The split-leg side flag comes down from the top. Be careful, you want your body to be in the shape of a cross and therefore you want to avoid keeping the bottom leg too close to the horizontal.
For this variation, as for many others, having someone with you or filming you from time to time will allow you to be much more aware of your actual executions and to correct them if necessary.
9) The side flag with bent legs
If you feel that having half of your legs back is throwing you off balance too much, it may be best to avoid this variation or possibly do it with onlyone leg bent.
10) The front flag
That's it, we're almost there, it's time to tackle the full frontal flag for which you want to try to keep the body as straight as possible, not bending the back.
11) The flag
And finally, it's time to throw, or rather, to take down the first real flags. If you feel it's still a little too hard or your execution is borderline, focus on the negatives first by slowing the descent as much as possible.
Once you have your 5 beautiful seconds in a row, there will be no doubt: your dream of a day will have well and truly become reality 🔥
12) The flag press
From the ground, it is a trick that is quite a bit more difficult than descending from above.
Finally, a little trick that could be useful during the quest for the flag, you can also use elastic bands to assist you, I would advise you to put them between your legs. Be careful, however, to hang it in such a way that it does not make you turn.
I'm going to go over 3 common mistakes that can be seen with the flag.
Keep the bottom shoulder tucked in. As we've seen, you really need to avoid this, as well as facing the ground and not directly to the sides.
Bending the arms during exercise is really something to be avoided and often indicates a lack of outstretched arm strength which, unfortunately, is trained only with the arms outstretched.
It's important to correct this right away. Otherwise, you'll get stuck sooner or later and have to start from the beginning.
There is the pelvis that falls or is too far up, as well as the back and body that are too curved. All of this is a very common indication that you are missing steps and will do better to strengthen yourself further on easier progressions.
FLAG TRAINING PROGRAM
For the structure of your flag training, I would recommend that you train it 2 to 3 times per week on days non-consecutive. For each session, you can do 3 to 6 sets of your maximum time per side, or 6 to 12 sets in total. You manage the rest times yourself so that you can give your maximum each time!
HOW TO GO FURTHER?
We will finish this tutorial on how to go even further once the classic flag mastered. As we have seen, you can already learn how to do it on a straight bar as well as looking to hold longer and longer. But you can also start training it in dynamic repetition, for example with full flag raises, you can also have fun weighting your flag with weights, even if it becomes less and less practical. Stringing together flag pull-ups is a very good challenge for which I recommend starting with easier progressions.
If you need a program to get stronger, to lose fat, to transform your body: click here 🔥
For quality sports and street workout equipment, it's here: my store!
Check out my YouTube video: HOW I GOT MY FLAG / HUMAN FLAG
I hope you are in the starting blocks. In the meantime, work hard, take care of yourself!
See you soon :)