Shoulder strength seems to be the main factor for achieving a human flag. I was wondering if there is some number relative to the bodyweight that indicates when one's press strength is ready to try a human flag. E.g. you should start training the human flag on a bar when you can move 0.7 times your bodyweight in a standing press. Or even: You need at least 0.8 to do a human flag.

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    Nice question, but I'm not sure you're going to find a number anywhere. Plus, there's a skill component involved. Also note that a flag is a push/pull movement, as the upper arm will be pulling.
    – VPeric
    Dec 24, 2013 at 17:43
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    Found a comment by Jim from Beast Skills: "If you can do several full range handstand pushups against the wall, then you’re well on your way to getting the flag." source
    – VPeric
    Dec 25, 2013 at 13:46
  • Thanks, that's quite alot. A full range HSPU is nearly like pushing a bar with your entire bodyweight upwards from your chest. According to strength standards this is somewhere between advanced and elite level, which is like crazy strong, and will require a few years: exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/PressStandardsKg.html Dec 25, 2013 at 14:00
  • Well you are holding a significant amount of your bodyweight with the pressing arm in a disadvantaged body position, so it's to be expected. I'll try to investigate a bit more and post a full answer.
    – VPeric
    Dec 25, 2013 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Jim Bathurst, known for his web site Beast Skills, says in his human flag tutorial:

If you can do several full range handstand pushups against the wall, then you’re well on your way to getting the flag.

Overcoming Gravity, a popular book on gymnastic training for adults, has a chart comparing the difficulty of various skills. In the chart, a full human flag is a level 8 skill, which is "equivalent" to a press of your bodyweight, or weighted dips with 85% bodyweight added. The first progression to a flag, the tuck flag, is level 5 skill, equating a press with 0.65% of bodyweight or dips with ~37% added.

Both of these sources are at best anecdotal, so take them with a grain of salt. My suggestion, if a human flag is one of your goals, is to start training specifically for it as soon as possible. If you can hold the tuck flag for at least 10s, then add it to your routine and practice!

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