All About the Human Flag (Part Four)

Human flag on bouldering wall

If you’re new to the human flag–welcome! Make sure to check out part one of my human flag series–it’s a great place to start!

Finding Places to Practice
Being able to perform a flag in one place does not necessarily mean that you’ll be able to do it anywhere.

I’ve done flags on many different surfaces: a bouldering wall, a fence and even construction scaffolding! But I’ve also encountered potential flag sites that proved to be too difficult (like trees).

Edit: I have since done a human flag on a tree

Different contexts offer their own unique challenges. The little nuances in your flagging surface can make a huge difference in your ability to let it fly. The thickness of the bar (or whatever you are gripping) as well as the height and stability of the object are all factors to consider when finding places to practice your human flag. Keep these considerations in mind, but don’t be afraid to get creative.

Human flag with underhand grip

Gradual Progression
While you might be eager to learn this move, bear in mind that you must gradually introduce your body to the human flag. In the beginning, just holding a bent leg flag for a couple of seconds would leave my obliques sore for days afterward. Additionally, developing shoulder tendinitis can be a concern, especially early on. You want to be warmed up before practicing your flag and make sure to give your body proper rest between efforts. Eventually you may be able to practice flags daily, but in the beginning a few minutes every two or three days is a better way to ease yourself in. Be patient–anything that’s worthwhile takes time. If you want to acquire this skill, you can. You just have to really want it and be willing to put in the work. The human flag can be a lot of fun, but it ain’t a game!

Beyond the Flag
I know what you’re thinking: what could possibly be harder than the human flag!?!

Flag pull-ups of course!

11 thoughts on “All About the Human Flag (Part Four)

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  • By Sarah Laningham -

    There's a guy who does flags at a busy intersection where I live and he's a local celebrity for it. Everyone calls it “Bart's crazy pole trick.”

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Good for Bart! Me and my brother Danny were getting some attention at the park when we took those pictures!

  • By john danforth -

    The human flag is awesome and a sure “attention getter”. I'm not sure if I'll ever even attempt it never mind be able to do it. I'm too busy trying to get my pull-up reps to increase. I'm determined and have made some nice gains in the past 3 months but I have a long way to go before I'm actually doing sets of high reps! Sites like this keep me motivated.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Glad to hear I am helping to keep you motivated, John! Don't concern yourself with doing a human flag yet if you're not ready for it–just keep working those pull-ups!

  • By pkpopie -

    dude love the website but for this check out tim shieff or livewire he is amazing at this!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Thanks! Just looked at some of Tim Shieff's videos on youtube–he makes it look so easy!

  • By Guest -

    Where did you learn to do the human flag? Self taught? A lot of the pictures I see show incorrect form that will lead to the development of bad habits or at worst injuries.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    I'm mostly self taught on the flag but I've picked up advice from others along the way. I am always looking to learn more–please share if you have helpful tips!

  • By Guest -

    Well not to sound overly negative or anything, but it might be best then to include a warning that all this info is self acquired and you still have more to learn. I'm hesitant to explain in detail how a proper “circus arts” style flag is done and all the variations because I don't know you, your level of fitness and any joint issues or injuries you might have. A friend of mine pointed out your site to me so I looked at it out of curiosity.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    There is a disclaimer on every single page of this website and I specifically mention in this very post to tread lightly with the flag as tendonitis can occur from overuse.

    I've stated many times on this blog (and I will say it again!) that I am a work in progress, always seeking new information and hoping to maintain a beginners mind. If you can offer any specific advice to me or my readers that would be appreciated. I don't see why you would need to know me personally to explain the proper technique for a human flag.

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