I recently hit a major pole milestone – the flag press/deadlift to brass monkey!
The flag press might not look difficult to people who are not familiar with pole, but this is a move that requires a great deal of core strength as well as shoulder and arm strength. A couple of months ago, I figured out how to kick into the brass monkey with momentum, and then I started working on lifting my body without the kick. I realized it is much, much more difficult to do it without momentum. The most difficult part is getting your hips above your head – once you do that, your leg is high enough to hook on the pole. I worked on this move every time I practiced, but for some reason I didn’t understand how to get my hips over my head – that is until the other day.
Last Tuesday, something finally clicked and I was able to lift all the way up to the pole! Before practice, I watched a flag press video on YouTube, and I saw that the girl had BOTH her legs bent when lifting up into her brass monkey. Typically, the flag press is done with one bent leg and one straight leg (or both straight legs for people with a crazy core), but I figured it should be easier with both legs bent. So, when I was at the studio on Tuesday I tried this move with both legs bent and BAM I was able to get my leg to the pole!
After practicing it a couple more times, I realized the 2 most important components of the flag press are:
- Pushing the bottom hand against the pole. I originally underestimated the importance of pushing with the bottom hand, but it’s the key to getting your hips above your head.
- Keep the chest away from the pole, not facing the pole. I saw flag presses done before where the chest is facing the pole, and the legs lift up straight to the pole (kind of like a press handstand on the pole), but this is MUCH harder to do. The easier way is to keep your chest perpendicular to the pole and lift up like you are going into a regular flag.
I can’t do the flag press with both legs straight yet, but I managed to do it with one leg straight (sort of) and from up on the pole (aerial flag press)!
Check out a couple of my first successful flag presses below 🙂