Dragon flag exercise for the abdomen: steps, benefits and recommendations

It is possible to strengthen the entire lower back and abdominal region with a complete exercise. This routine has some complexity in its execution, but it is within everyone’s reach.

Last update: November 15, 2021

Working the abdominal area is never easy. It is common for fat to accumulate in this area and eliminating it is a difficult task. However the dragon flag appears as an ideal exercise for that purpose.

It is a way to strengthen various muscles, especially the region of the core. This routine is within everyone’s reach, since it uses your own body weight and only requires a little space, a grip structure or a flat bench.

But dragon flag it is an activity with a certain complexity, so it is not recommended for beginners. Executing some of your poses requires experience.

What muscles does the dragon flag exercise and how to execute it?

The dragon flag It is a calisthenics routine, that is, it only uses the weight of the body as resistance. Some of the most common exercises in that category are squats, push-ups, and pull-ups.

This activity works a good part of the abdominal and lumbar area. Specifically, the rectus abdominis, obliques, buttocks and serratus anterior, located on the upper side of the thorax.

Additionally, other muscles are isometrically engaged, such as the biceps, lats, and shoulders. The idea is that the core of the body carries all the rest of the weight.

Calisthenics exercises use your own weight for execution.

Objectives of dragon flag

The only support used is the upper back and the grip of the hands to a firm structure. For this reason, it is convenient to have the area strengthened.

The main objective of dragon flag is to raise the entire lower limb and waist evenly, until reaching a vertical position, and then descend. Thanks to all this work it is possible to strengthen, tone and define the abdominal area, in addition to achieving the exercise of the core.

It is important that the correct muscles are worked to avoid bad movements and injuries. For that, there are a series of previous steps that include the introduction to some positions before performing the dragon flag full.



Steps to perform the dragon flag

It is possible that, observing the final posture of the exercise, it seems easy to execute. Although it is not a very complex movement, get the position and work of the right muscles it is a task that must be faced with patience.

1. Progression

Before facing the dragon flag It is advisable to perform movements to warm up the abdomen area and that it is active at the time of the final exercise. For instance, the position of the leg raises or leg lift it’s a good way to get in to those kinds of positions.

It can be performed lying down from a bench or from the ground and the legs should be raised, without flexing, swinging or arching the back. Then lower them slowly. Repeating this movement familiarizes you with the part of the descent in the dragon flag. On the other hand, you can practice some type of abdominal to exercise the muscles in that area.

2. Previous position

Lie down on the flat bench or on the floor, with your back down and your mouth up. It is important to stay as straight as possible, without bending the back or lumbar. In the case of the floor, you must have a firm grip behind the head to hold with the hands. For example, a pipe, a pole or a bar.

Then, bring your arms over your head and hold onto that grip. If it is a bench, from the sides. Make sure you are supported firmly, as this support is the most important.

3. Concentric phase

The hard part begins. In principle, tighten the abdomen and buttocks. Extend your legs well and bend your knees very little.

Then, lift them patiently, keeping them straight. It is essential to have your feet pointed and your arms in an interval between stretched and flexed, although that depends on your own comfort.

The entire lower back and lower extremities should be detached from the bench or floor. The only area left as a point of contact with the surface is the upper back, in addition to the shoulders.

Once up, reaching the most vertical position possible, hold it for a few seconds. You can start with five, and then add two or three more, already with some experience.

4. Eccentric phase

For the descent, continue with the legs extended and with the same tension, both in the buttocks and in the abdomen. Lower them slowly and until they are close to the surface, but without actually supporting them.

The upper back and shoulders should be kept as the only contact with the surface. Finally, raise them again, without modifying the straight position or the extension. This effort represents the most difficult part of the dragon flag.

5. Repetitions

With the dominated postures, it is already possible to perform repetitions of the exercise, depending on the level of personal experience. It is advisable to establish aim for 3 to 5 sets, with 5 reps each.

Variants of the dragon flag

For those who are at an advanced level, there are variants that add complexity to the dragon flag. These details are not for beginners, it is essential practice them once you have a lot of experience and mastery in classic postures.

Once in the elevated position, perform alternate leg movements, one up and the other down. After 2 repetitions, and always keeping them straight, lower them again for 2 seconds and then repeat everything.

This variant can be continued with more repetitions, always paying attention to extreme fatigue in the area, because it is a very demanding exercise. Another alternative is to practice the dragon flag with the legs spread, forming a V.

Human flag

The latest version is the most extreme and only possible for people with a very advanced level of exercise. It is known as side dragon flag or human flag and it consists of achieving the same position, but supported by a pole or bar, raising the whole body and placing it in a parallel line with the ground. That is, without any surface underneath, like a waving flag.

The lateral and suspended version of the dragon flag it is the most extreme and is not recommended for beginners.

Dragon flag benefits

This routine requires the entire central region of the body, so the abdominal and core makes several muscles in the area work. The benefits of a dragon flag well executed are varied:

  • By working with the weight of the body as resistance, it favors the development of strength, coordination and flexibility.
  • It contributes to the reduction of abdominal fat, in addition to toning and defining the area.
  • The dragon flag increases its effectiveness if combined with other aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It must be integrated into a complete routine.
  • If it is mastered, it is possible to improve the control of the whole body through the strengthening of the core.


Consider safety and progression

It is very important to practice the exercises prior to the execution of the dragon flag so as not to force the muscles to such a great demand all of a sudden. Bad postures are usually common in these types of routines and the solution is to perform progressive movements.

Finally, there is one more variant of the exercise popularized by Bruce Lee in his movies. Its about dragon flag negative and is a useful alternative as an introduction. It consists of starting with the legs raised in a vertical position, lowering them slowly and returning to the starting position. Simulates the eccentric phase.

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