Flying the Flag of Fitness
The human flag has become a staple image in the world of calisthenics having many people want to achieve it and very few actually sticking it out and pulling it off!
The human flag in the Calisthenics world would be classed as an intermediate static hold! That’s right intermediate!!! Whaaaaa I hear you say…. let me explain. The core strength that is developed through Calisthenics has been proven through time and trail to be a next level upgrade of strength, as the primary bulk of all the exercises Calisthenics practitioners aspire to and achieve are focused on core and compound strengths, this means that, for example, if you are working on improving your handstand you will still be helping your progress towards the human flag due to the core/compound contractions.
Conscious Compound Contractions (C3)
Conscious Compound contractions sounds like something women have to do during giving birth, but the way I mean it is to co-contract multiple muscles at the same time, purposefully. Taking away the element of isolation in a lot of what we work on in Calisthenics. This means we have to work on or even learn in some cases to squeeze more than one muscle at a time consciously. Some people catch on straight away (well done if you can) some people struggle.
Best Practice for C3
There are a few exercises you can do to work on this. One of the best I have found is an exercise everyone knows and can achieve quite easily so they can work on thinking about what muscles they want to work. If it was a harder exercise then the body, being the cleaver bean it is, would use your most tonic/stronger muscles to achieve the exercise you are performing leaving the passive muscle (and usually the muscles you are trying to improve/use) to kick back and relax, so your super hero muscle can save the day as it always does, creating hugely tonic and passive muscles, leaving your body imbalanced and prone to injury and weakness!
So here are a few things you will need to focus on to get your Human Flag strong:
- Hip Flexors – strong and flexible
Keeping the hip flexors strong and flexible are a must in most of calisthenics. They are susceptible to tightness if you place excessive stress on them or sit on your ass all day. These tight muscles can cause a niggling or severe injury to your hip so keep these muscles conditioned.
- Core and obliques
There are exercises that are designed to develop core strength, stability and posture. Developing a stronger back and all round abdominal strength will aid in many exercises and as a bonus you end up with a nice firm stomach! (Dependent on diet of course)
- Shoulder strength
Improving your shoulder strength not only keeps injuries at bay but once developed is one of the key muscles that makes you have an epic physique. For me this is a SORE subject. Literally as I injured my shoulders a long time ago when it was all about the win in MMA and not about longevity, but you know what they say, you learn from your mistakes.
- Scapula contractions
A number of muscles originate from or insert into the scapula. All four muscles of the rotator cuff originate from here and the control of the goings on in this area is vital to a lot of statics. Keeping it mobile and supple with some scapula pulls and pushs is a good way to keep them moving.
Hope these help with your flag work. For coaching on your flag progression or any questions just get in touch!