How to Perform A Flagpole Hold


Imagine grasping a vertical surface with your hands and pulling your body up until you are perfectly horizontal and parallel with the ground. Also known as the human flagpole, successfully maneuvering your body into a flagpole hold is a physical feat. Achieving the flagpole hold will require significant upper body strength as well as practice. After learning the basics of how to perform a flagpole hold, you can work at the skill until you achieve it.

Things You'll Need

  • Stable vertical object (flag pole, tall fence or secure ladder)
  • Place your top hand lightly on the vertical object so your thumb points up and your hand faces away from your body.

  • Position your bottom hand lightly on the vertical object, twisting this hand clockwise so your palm faces away from your body and your thumb points down.

  • Adjust the spacing of your hands carefully. For the most control, place your bottom hand at waist height with your top hand widely spaced above your head. You may need to adjust the spacing as you practice until you find the distance that works for you; however, a wide grip is recommended.

  • Begin to lift yourself into the flagpole hold. Lift the upper leg while simultaneously pulling with the upper arm and pressing with the lower arm. Pulling with the upper arm and pressing with the lower arm will be the biggest forces that move your body into a horizontal position. As your upper leg rises, move your lower leg alongside your upper leg.

  • Bend your legs at the knees if you have trouble becoming horizontal. Another modification is to keep your legs straight, but separate them into a straddle position to give yourself more stability. Slowly move your legs together or straighten your legs as you become stronger.

Tips & Warnings

  • Train for the flagpole hold by doing pushups, handstands and any other strength training exercises that will develop significant shoulder and abdominal strength.
  • Test the stability of the vertical object before using it for the flagpole hold. The object must be secure enough to stay motionless while supporting the force of your body weight.
  • If you feel like you are falling toward the back while in the flagpole position, let go of the vertical object immediately and try to land on your feet. If you continue holding on while falling to the back, you may injure your shoulders.

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