How to do a Human Flag?

Learn the most essential steps to perform this skill without any beginner mistakes

How to do a Human Flag?

A Human Flag is one of the most difficult Calisthenics Skills to do, but also one of the most fantastic Calisthenics skills which a lot of people want to achieve. That’s why we decided to make a blog post and tutorial video about how to do a Human Flag for beginners. This Calisthenics skill is very difficult because it forces you to pull and push at the same time which feels quite unnatural. You need powerful arm, shoulder, back and core muscles to perform this skill. Therefore, this skill is not for Calisthenics beginners. Are you a Calisthenics beginner? Make sure to start with the basics and to have patience. We created a perfect beginner workout program to start Calisthenics without any beginner mistakes and make fast progress. Of course, there are plenty of exercises to strengthen the muscles needed for a Human Flag, but how to get used to this unnatural position? In this article, we explain the steps that you need to take as a beginner to unlock this skill. It involves the grip but also the easiest progressions of the Flag Hold.

How to do a Human Flag? – 5 essential steps

Step 1 

The first important aspect of this skill is to make sure you grab the bar correctly. A lot of people grab a vertical bar which makes it very difficult. You should start on a horizontal bar. We call it also a Swedish bar (or ladder). This bar is perfect because you can choose different bars depending on your length. Make sure your hands are perfectly aligned when grabbing the bar. Grab it not in the middle, but on the outer side of the bar where the bar connects with the vertical pole. If you do that, you can check if your hands are perfectly aligned which prevents you from spinning around.

How to do a human flag 1

”Make sure your hands are perfectly aligned when grabbing the bar.”

Step 2

how to do the human flag - exercise

The first position that you have to master when you want to learn how to do a Human Flag is the Vertical Flag Down Hold Exercise. You should never skip this exercise when learning the Human Flag.  This exercise will help you to understand how to push and pull at the same time. So, how do you get your arms into the right position of this exercise? Grab the bar with your lower arm slightly bent. Never lock your lower arm, because otherwise, all the strength will be on your shoulders which can cause injuries. Your upper arm could be slightly bent too. You can also pull with your upper arm to involve the strength of your bicep and back muscles. This will make it a little bit easier to get yourself off the ground. However, in the long term, the goal is to do a Human Flag with a straight upper arm.

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Step 3

Now that you know in which position you should bring your arms with the Vertical Flag Down Hold Exercise, we explain to you how to bring your feet off the ground. At this point, a lot of people make a big mistake. They jump into the position to bring the feet off the ground. You should never do that. It is very important to let your upper body to do the work instead of jumping yourself into the position. It is wrong because it will be very difficult to stay in the right position after jumping yourself up. So, how to get into a Human Flag then? You have to tuck your knees really slowly until you are in the right position. Start with one leg first, then strengthen your arm muscles to lift yourself up and slowly lift the other leg. 

This is definitely the most important exercise so never skip this one. With this exercise, you really get used to getting into the unnatural position of one arm pulling and one arm pushing. Can you hold the Vertical Flag Down Hold Exercise for 10 to 20 seconds? Then you can move on to further progression.

how to do a human flag exercise

”With this exercise, you really get used to getting into the unnatural position of one arm pulling and one arm pushing.”

Step 4

The next step is to get used to a Horizontal Flag. With this exercise, you can progress to an Assisted Horizontal Human Flag with a Resistance Band. This exercise will help you to understand how to perform the full movement of a Human Flag and how to involve other muscles such as the core. We start with the first progression which is the Assisted One-Legged Human Flag. Make sure to align the resistance band exactly above your hands. The next step is to tighten the resistance band to your upper leg. The band will subsequently help you to bring your body into a Human Flag position. When you feel the force upwards, you can tuck your lower leg in. Make sure to not jump into this position, but lift yourself slowly up. You can start this exercise with a thicker Resistance Band and then work your way up to a thinner Resistance Band. Once you can perform an Assisted One-Legged Human Flag, you can move on to a Straddle and a Full Human Flag with a resistance band. 

Horizontal Human Flag - Calisthenics Family

Well, in steps 1 to 4 you learned how to do a Human Flag with resistance bands. Of course, you want to learn how to perform this skill without resistance bands as well. Once you get used to the bands, it will be very difficult to perform this skill without them. However, once you are comfortable with a Human Flag position with resistance bands, you can start learning how to do a Human Flag without bands.  

Step 5

How to do a human flag - progression exercise

The first exercise that you need to learn is the kick-up. Get into the starting position as mentioned in steps 1 to 3.  The difference is that you kick yourself up into a Vertical Flag Up Hold instead of a Down Hold. This exercise is pretty hard if you have never done it before. The most important aspect is that you need to jump as high as possible. So, how to get into the Vertical Flag Up Hold? Use your legs to create a swing: cross with your outer leg your inner and then swing all the way up by jumping with the inner leg. Try to bring your hips towards the bar as fast as possible. 

Once you can perform the Vertical Flag Up Hold position, you can start learning a negative movement, a one-legged Human Flag, a straddle Human Flag and ultimately the full Human Flag with your bodyweight only. 

Make sure to watch the tutorial video down below for a full in-depth explanation on how to do a Human Flag step by step. 

How to do a Human Flag – Tutorial Video

Learn the Human Flag with a Professional Program

We hope that this blog post and the tutorial video gave you new insights on how to learn the Human Flag. We know that this skill is very difficult, but you should never give up. We regularly receive hundreds of questions of people struggling with the Human Flag. However, a few simple tips about your technique will help you to achieve results faster than you think.

Do you want personal feedback on your Human Flag or other skills as well? If you start with one of our Workout Plans, you will receive 24/7 support by us as through a priority mailing list. You can send us videos and we will give you tips so you will improve your technique immediately: form is crucial!

In our well-known Full Journey Program, we will take you through the process of learning how to do the Human Flag step by step. You will go from a Vertical Down Hold to a full Human Flag. Besides that, you will learn many other Calisthenics Skills.

You might also be interested in our FREE Calisthenics Beginner Workouts, our YouTube Channel, or our Instagram page which will teach you all about Calisthenics and how to start with this life-changing sport.

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