The prisoner would be stripped of his clothing and his hands would be tied to a post. A flagrum would be used with full force across the back, shoulders and legs. Initially, the leather thongs would only cut the skin, but as the whipping continued, the cuts would deepen until arteries in the muscle tissue were damaged and the prisoner would literally leak blood. The small lead balls at the ends of the thongs would produce deep contusions which were ripped open by further lashes.

When the supervising officer decided that the prisoner was almost dead, the beating would end. By this time, the flesh of the prisoner's shoulders and back would be hanging in strips and generally look like ground beef.