Strength & Conditioning - Al Kavadlo: Week 2, Day 2
This four-week program is designed by calisthenics expert and author Al Kavadlo. Three workouts are posted each week and cover a total of eleven bodyweight exercise progressions and tutorials, including everything from pull ups, to pistols, to the infamous human flag. If you're joining late in the game, feel free to jump right in!
Week 2, Day 2: The Clutch Flag
The human flag is one of my favorite bodyweight feats of strength. It’s also the exercise that I get asked about more than any other. Unfortunately, most people who ask about the human flag aren’t strong enough to actually begin practicing toward it.
The clutch flag is a less difficult variation that’s still visually impressive and just as much fun to practice. Additionally, working on your clutch flag can help you get a feel for the proper body alignment needed to perform a full human flag (aka “press flag”). It can also help you build the strength you’ll need to get there.
The clutch flag is less difficult than the press flag for a few reasons. First and foremost, as your arms are not in an overhead position during a clutch flag, the length of your body becomes substantially shorter than it would be in the full flag (plus your head and shoulders are on the other side of the pole). This change in body positioning gives you better leverage. Additionally, the clutch grip allows you to squeeze the pole with your entire torso, not just your hands. The clutch flag is still not easy, though!
Though the clutch flag and press flag are similar, they work your muscles a bit differently. The press flag heavily stresses the shoulders (particularly on the bottom arm), while the clutch flag puts more emphasis on the biceps. It’s more of a pull than a push as far as the arms are concerned. It's also common for the skin on your biceps to be sensitive when learning this move, so be prepared for some chafing or bruising on the inner arms.
When you can do a clutch flag for 20 seconds or longer, you might be ready to start training for the full human flag. (Look for a lesson on that move later this month.)
Watch the video below for more:
For more information on the clutch flag, check out Al's demonstrations in Convict Conditioning 2.