For those who care about buffness

a journey of a thousand steps

it’s been a long time since i last wrote.
many reasons for not writing, surgery, work, life, moving to sweden, many things.

as i hopped back on the training band wagon, i was privileged to find some company on the way this time. currently, i am helping a friend to train, on his own journey to the human flag. and beyond… i hope.

the human flag is king among strength feats and one of the most elusive moves i have been given to train for. (well except that sodding floor planche which still eludes me)
i temporarily lost my flag after surgery, due to lack of tone, puny training etc. but it’s coming back. once you train obsessively for 3 years or so for a move, your body doesn’t forget. even if your strength goes away, there is always a way to get back at it with enough discipline and hard work.

so how does one teach such a difficult move? how does one teach something which feels so impossible when you start off?
it’s such an effort on the body due to the many requirements: shoulder strength, stability and flexibility, core strength, biceps strength. it also takes a bit of luck and genetics to get it right quick.
i was never one for listening much to the gurus. i think the one size fits all approach doesn’t really work for that move. for example, the flagman himself, dominic lacasse, would preach simple frog lifts ad nauseam to get started. but for me that didn’t work. i had much better success kipping myself over the horizontal line as if i was to do a pole dance hand spring, and then holding back/slowing down my fall. until one day i could hold it straight.
sure the frog lifts might work, but i think it’s up to the individual learning the move to also be clever and figure out what works for him/her, and for the trainer to pick up on clues. for example, my friend hasn’t done much pole and presumably the hand spring for him wouldn’t mean anything. because i was already training to do hand springs, in my case it made sense to carry on with this as i was having some success and felt i could achieve something that way. so we’re trying to just get the hands right first, learn to get comfortable with the position. understand which is the stronger side. experience all the parameters. hand position, finger position, wrist position, slight bend in the elbow vs straight arms, head position, shoulder position, where is horizontal, tip toeing to a lift, gravity centre, balance, grip. like i said, it’s a tricky move!

so atm, i am focusing on building my mate from the ground up. the way i would have done to myself if i could start again w hindsight. sequences of complex series involving pushing and pulling motions. pull ups/chin ups (always! this is also a king of moves!) combined w antagonist movements, all targeting the shoulder girdle, arms, back and core. he has a good dishing posture so i have good hope that some oblique work and leg lifts will get him up to scratch with his core strength fast enough.
it’s brutal, and these are workouts that i myself do, and which kill me too with heightened intensity.
and i admire his resolve and the fact that he puts up w it, diligently still turns up to the park come rain, shine or snow as we are now almost in the heart of scandinavian winter.
today we did his very first flag position test. the first step to getting some muscle memory going and also the step that makes every flag n00b humble. when you’re first faced with the seemingly impossible task of lifting your body horizontally, holding just by your upper body and core strength from a pole… defying gravity.

as usual i pray that he won’t be put off and will be stubborn enough to keep on coming back. day after day. month after month. possibly year after year. until the magic happens.


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