How to do Dragon Flags Correctly and Safely

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INTRODUCTION

The bulk of our abdominal muscle training should come in the form of core stabilization exercises. While you should minimize the amount of movement from your spine while training abs, the exercise we will discuss today is an exception.

Popularized by Bruce Lee, Dragon Flags are an amazing core exercise that teaches ultimate stability. It also looks really cool.

The Dragon Flag is the most advanced version of the Reverse Crunch. The video above will show a progression of exercises that you can do before attempting the Dragon Flag

DRAGON FLAG FORM VIDEO

BENEFITS OF THE DRAGON FLAG

  • Trains the lower abdominal muscles for extreme stability

  • Helps prevent spinal extension under load, which is critical for low back health

  • Teaches how to maintain total body tension

MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE DRAGON FLAG

  • Rectus Abdominus

  • Transverse Abdominus

  • Obliques

PERFORMING THE DRAGON FLAG PROGRESSIONS

Beginner

  • Lay completely flat on a bench

  • Reach overhead and grab both sides of the bench for support

  • Straighten out your legs until your body achieves a position parallel to the bench

  • Begin the movement by bending at the hips and knees and so that your knees make contact with your elbows

  • Once they make contact, slowly reverse the movement back to the starting positions with your legs straightened out

  • Ensure that you keep your core muscles tight and engaged throughout the entire movement

  • It is important to perform this exercise in a controlled manner

Intermediate

  • For a more advanced variation, completely straighten your legs at the halfway point in the movement, directly overhead after making contact with your elbows

  • Your body will be perpendicular to the bench

 

 

  • Hold this position for a 1 count

  • Slowly reverse the position by bringing your knees back down to your elbows

 

 

  • Then return your legs back to the straightened starting position

  • Again keep your core activated at all times

Advanced

  • For the most advanced variation, you will lower your legs back down to the starting position from the perpendicular position without bending your knees

  • It is critical to maintaining absolute control over your body position throughout the entire movement.

  • Do not attempt this variation until you have mastered the previous two

 

 

 

COMMON MISTAKES

BENDING AT THE HIPS

This is a common mistake and usually happens when the trainee is not yet ready for the most advanced variation. Otherwise, keep your glutes and your core as activated as possible

MOVING TOO QUICKLY

This movement is best done is a nice controlled manner for optimal effect. Do not rush through the exercise

HOW CAN I INTEGRATE THE DRAGON FLAG INTO MY TRAINING?

Check out The WCT Best Workout Template For Busy Professionals to find a simple way to add the dragon flag and other great exercises into your routine.

DRAGON FLAG ALTERNATIVES

 

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Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH

Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, a NASM CPT, health & fitness experts, and founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy individuals. Their advice has been featured on KevinMD, The Doctor Weighs In, My Fitness Pal, Reader's Digest, Livestrong, and The Active Times. Learn more about them here.

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