Savvy fitness enthusiasts know that doing endless amounts of crunches isn’t the smartest way to build a strong midsection. Planks and side planks are the most fundamental exercises to develop your core, but if you want to work toward advanced exercises like levers and human flags, the dragon flag can help you get there.
Though best known as a trademark move of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, the dragon flag has become a popular training tool amongst anyone who is serious about calisthenics and bodyweight training.
A dragon flag is typically performed lying face-up on a bench or on the ground with your hands grasping a sturdy object behind your head for support. From here, the objective is to lift your entire body up in a straight line, stacking it vertically over your shoulders in the top position.
Protect Ya Neck
When performing a dragon flag, focus on using your abs, lower back and glutes to control the movement. Your hands are there for support, but don’t pull the bench into the back of your neck! Instead, use your core strength to roll up onto your shoulders.
Just like learning to do a pull-up, start by practicing the negative (lowering) phase of the dragon flag. Once you get confident with negatives, try doing a static hold at the bottom with your body hovering an inch or two over the bench. When you can hold this position for 2 or 3 seconds, you’re ready to start working on full dragon flags.
While a dragon flag technically requires you to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your feet, it can be helpful to practice a modified version where you allow your hips to bend. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different progressions and variations on your way to mastering this exercise.