How to master the human flag

Mastering the Human Flag

The human flag or side lever in gymnastics is one of my favourite exercise. It builds shoulder, oblique, abs and lower back strength synergistically. So most noteworthy it develops strength through the lateral and spiral lines of the body.

Lateral line of the body
Spiral line of the body

Often extremely neglected muscles within the body. Ever heard of someone do a workout focused on the obliques, quadratus lumborum, tensia fasciae latae and adductors?

I’m guessing never. However these muscles in conjunction with many others are hugely important for a strong and well functioning body. We often pigeon hole muscles into one movement pattern and think that’s all they do and all we need to do. As a consequence more people get injured. For example the latissimus dorsi(lats), which is used in pull ups, also hugely important for lateral movement and stability. It’s not uncommon for the lats to get extremely sore from human flag training.

This is one of the reasons I love the human flag, not only does it look awesome. It also strengthens these neglected muscles, giving us a better functioning and healthier body overall.

Just one of the reasons you should definitely start working on this movement.

In the video I breakdown what to start with. If you are very new to strength training, I suggest developing a basic level of core and upper body strength first.

Something to note is i’m using Stall bars, you can use a straight bar. Consequently it will be a little harder on the wrists, yet all the progressions will be the same. Start with the block holds and slowly move onto the next progressions over time.

The Human Flag Tutorial 

As I mention in the video, doing some lower back and core work will help speed up the process to master the full flag.

I recommend using the hyperextension machine to strengthen the lower back.

Next i’d focus on an ab exercise like the dragon flag, being able to hold the body completely straight is a mandatory requirement for the human flag.

If you found this article useful please like and share it. Finally what exercises are you currently working on? Comment below.