The human flag also known as bar hold is a feat of strength where the body is supported by a vertical bar and is parallel to the ground. A straight line is formed using the arms and body, thus called a flag exercise. It is arguably the most visually impressive body-weight exercise of power anyone’s ever come up with. The unique combination of control, strength, and stability required is unlike anything else in the calisthenics kingdom. Anytime someone does a human flag; it inevitably attracts attention. The exercise requires the performer to have great upper body strength. You have to be incredibly strong and self-confident, but you also must work individually towards this skill.

  • Bodyweight
  • Compound

Similar Exercises to Try

Benefits of the Human Flag

  • Human flag is an extreme and efficient isolation exercise that helps develop powerful and defined triceps.
  • Human flag is a fantastic exercise that will build necessary strength to be able to perform the advanced gymnastic/calisthenics skills like front levers.
  • This exercise on its own can build amazingly strong and defined abs as well as great overall core strength.
  • When it comes to improving your stability, body control, and overall strength, it’s hard to beat human flag exercise.
  • It ensures the general body strength, maximum flexibility, and good muscular coordination.

Muscles Worked

Anterior (Front)

  • Abdominal External Oblique
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachioradialis
  • Deltoid (Front & Back)
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Sartorius
  • Vastus Medialis

Posterior (Back)

  • Triceps Brachii

How to Do the Human Flag

  1. In order to perform human flag, you will need a pull-up bar with a vertical support. Using your one hand, grab the overhead bar while pressing into the vertical pole with opposite hand to press the vertical pole that supports the bar.
  2. Be sure to keep both arms straight with your lats and shoulders engaged.
  3. Raise your feet as you press into the support bar with your bottom hand, while pulling from your upper arm.
  4. Avoid bending your elbows when you stretch your whole body while standing at an angle of about 45 degrees to the floor.
  5. Do not try to master this exercise at once as it can lead to injuries of the neck, arm and back muscles.