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 easier 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.
Though the two moves 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.
When you can do a clutch flag for 20 seconds or longer, you might be ready to start training for the full human flag.
Check out the video below for more:
For more information about the clutch flag, as well as the standard human flag, check out the book Convict Conditioning 2, which features Danny and me on the cover!