The ‘dragon flag’ is a martial arts-inspired ab exercise that sets your core on fire


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Photo: Getty Images/Masego Morulane

World-famous martial artist Bruce Lee was known for many things, including his signature abdominal strength-training move known as the dragon flag—the ultimate test of core strength. And considering it involves essentially turning your body into a human flag on a flag pole, I’d have to say it probably works pretty well.

If you can do perform the dragon flag, you’re probably at a good place with your core work and able move on to even harder bodyweight exercises, like one-arm pushups and front levers. And if you can’t quite do it just yet, we’ve got the break down.

Here’s exactly how to do a dragon flag

To get the base level of core and lower back strength required to do a dragon flag, start with these progressions recommended by THENX Elite Calisthenics. Then, you’ll eventually move into the full dragon flag.

Progressions:

  • dragon flag flutter kick
  • single-leg dragon flag raises
  • dragon flag switching legs
  • dragon flag negatives
  • dragon flag hip raises

How to do a dragon flag:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms overhead holding onto something stable, like a pole.
  2. Lift your legs up into the air with your feet, legs, and torso sturdy and in a straight line. Only your upper back should be on the floor with all your weight in your shoulders and upper back.
  3. Keeping that straight line, slowly lower your body back down until it’s hovering parallel to the ground. Remain controlled in order to avoid arching your back. Then, raise your legs back up and repeat.

Don’t let the poolside setting fool you, this 8-minute workout is intense:

These standing ab exercises will also help strengthen your core. Then find out what a coregasm is… because you know you wanna know.

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