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Flags of The World

May 30, 2015

One of the main principles of GMB Fitness is to align your training with your goals. Or as Chip Conrad says ask Why?. Train to move better. Train to feel better. Train to be able to do the things that you want to do. A workout that leaves you dead on the floor, unable to move properly for days, that gets you no closer toward your goal is NOT a good workout.

Sometimes I train to improve my mobility and strength in areas that are weak or restricted (due to years of abuse as a gymnast or years of abuse as a computer geek). Sometime I train to make myself stronger and less breakable for activities I enjoy such as hockey or circus skills. But then there are those times when the purpose of my training is for nothing else other than to look fucking cool.


This picture of Al Kavadlo is why I wanted to learn the flag. I was not interested in better obliques or stronger lats. I wanted cool shots wherever I travelled.

Here are my key steps to achieving a cool flag picture:

1) Find a good flagpole

2) Get killer abs

3) Hold the flag longer or get a faster camera

I started working the flag in 2013 following the steps from Convict Conditioning II. It's a good progressive program but I made the most progress when training under the watchful eye of Steve Atlas. I can't emphasis enough the importance of having a coach to give you guidance and keep you accountable.

After a few months, I got to the point where I could consistently hold the flag long enough for Babycat to get a good shot. My flag could be better and stronger but I moved on to other goals and other skills. I test my flag every now and then just to check I still have it but I do not train it. I tested it out the other day and it felt better than it ever has. Why? Because recently I have been working hard on front levers! Seriously front levers make you better at EVERYTHING!


Not to disrespect poles but for flag training stall bars are even better. The horizontal bars give a better grip and make it easier to prevent yourself from spinning. Ideally you want something to grip at hip height if you are kicking into it with your other arm's grip just over your head. Below you can see videos of my entry technique on a pole and stall bars. If you are superhuman you can hold higher and lift your legs up from standing into the flag but I am not quite there yet.

A video posted by GMB Fitness (@gmbfitness) on Jan 8, 2015 at 11:24am PST
A video posted by Kirsty (@garagegymgirl) on May 21, 2015 at 4:53am PDT

Venturing into the wilderness offers more challenges with finding an ideal pole especially if you don't want to get arrested. Statues, fences, playgrounds and road signs are all opportunities for that perfect picture and I have tried them all with varying degrees of success.


If no suitable pole implements are available, then fall back on your one arm handstand for the money shot!

Learning the flag will not help me jump higher, move better, lift more weight, be more graceful or survive a Zombie Apocalypse. But this exercise serves a different purpose. While I may not be wearing a spiderman costume like Gayle (my fellow GMB trainer), a perfect flag picture makes me feel like a superhero. And sometime you just need to feel cool.


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Starting this summer we will be offering GMB strength and conditioning and focused flexibility classes at East York Gymnastics Club, in Toronto. These classes will help you build a solid foundation of strength, flexibility and motor control. Combined with the East York adult gymnastics program you can use these attributes to learn some cool tricks and skills in a safe environment. If you want more information and the opportunity to save money and sign up at the early bird rate enter your information below to be added to my GMB Gymnastics Classes Mailing List.


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