all posts post new thread

Bodyweight Human Flag/Side Lever - Isometric Training

Minimalist

Level 2 Valued Member
I wonder how long should I hold the position to build more strength in side lever? 5-20 seconds? maybe longer? Better is training with low intensity (tucked legs) and hold position for long time or keep legs straight with shorter time?

Do you recommend some books about isometric training?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Yes.

:)

Better is training with low intensity (tucked legs) and hold position for long time or keep legs straight with shorter time?
Like asking if you should do heavy weights and low reps, or lower weights and higher reps, there is no single correct answer.

-S-
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I wonder how long should I hold the position to build more strength in side lever? 5-20 seconds? maybe longer? Better is training with low intensity (tucked legs) and hold position for long time or keep legs straight with shorter time?

Do you recommend some books about isometric training?
The general rule of thumb in the bodyweight and calishtenics world is to test your max hold at that level, then divide it in half and do enough sets at that hold time to accumluate roughly 60 seconds.

For example: if your max hold is 20 seconds, then half would be 10. So you would do 6 sets of 10 seconds. To progress, simply start making the hold time longer and reduce the sets. If you get to 2 sets of 30 seconds, you're probably more than ready to try the next variation. Do this in cycles of about 4-6 weeks, and retest to see if you can hold the next level for at least 5 seconds.

This is an excellent article on this method:
 

Minimalist

Level 2 Valued Member
It is great idea! Thank you!
In the case of the human flag, I have to practice both sides. Should I take breaks between one side and the other?
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
It is great idea! Thank you!
In the case of the human flag, I have to practice both sides. Should I take breaks between one side and the other?
You can do one after the other and then rest. One side is pulling while the other side is pushing, so you're not really working the same muscle groups by doing so. So I think you can do it however you want as long as you give each side even work.

Edit: whatever variations you are doing, be sure to film yourself at least once a session to make sure your form is good, especially to compare each side.
 

Minimalist

Level 2 Valued Member
During human flag should I keep my shoulders in sockets? My left arm is weaker than right arm and when my left arm is "on the top" it is hard to keep it in the socket. When my right arm is on the top I do not have problems with keeping my shoulder in the socket.
 

Harald Motz

Level 8 Valued Member
For practicing flags, stall bars are a great tool, as there are not so much rotational forces as on a pole.

When I try doing one, I approach it from the top, kicking the legs up to lower into the flag. Just getting into a solid tucked hold (without lowering) might be the first step...then playing with leg extension for one leg.



The general rule of thumb in the bodyweight and calishtenics world is to test your max hold at that level, then divide it in half and do enough sets at that hold time to accumluate roughly 60 seconds.

I actually very rarely do them. But bluejeff is spot on. Flag holds are flagging quickly when doing max holds. Just shorter bits of a manageable hold is the way to be getting used to it - keep this as practice...rather frequently when you can tolerate it, but limited attempts, low volume...build up slowly.

As in the video above I come from the top and lean into my front abs rather then the sides which is easier (for me. I like to finish my training with a set of five standing abwheels - so I have some strength at my front) than a hanging onto the side of the abs.
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
During human flag should I keep my shoulders in sockets?
Yes. :)

If your shoulders are actually coming out of socket then you are nowhere close to being able to safely train this skill. Perhaps you can elaborate on what you mean by this? What sensations do you feel, etc?

If you are having issues, reduce the intensity either by tucking your legs or using a resistance band and focus on good form. If your current variation is giving you issues then it's too hard for the time being. Better to get stronger and have correct form/muscular engagement at a lower intensity first. Be sure you are pulling with the top arm and pushing with the bottom. Don't be "passive."


Human flag example at 3:40
 
Top Bottom