Rumored to be world-famous martial artist Bruce Lee’s favorite exercise, and even named after him, the Dragonflag is the ultimate test of core strength and one of the most impressive ab exercises you can do.
An advanced bodyweight core exercise, the Dragonflag is a brilliant move to build core strength and size, helping to create six-pack abs.
What is a Dragonflag?
The Dragonflag is an advanced exercise which works the entire torso, particularly difficult because it requires supporting much of your own body weight in a controlled eccentric movement, where the muscle fibers lengthen under load.
What muscles do Dragonflags target?
You need a lot more than core strength to perform the Dragonflag. In addition to your torso, your back and arms are required to help with stabilizing yourself and your glutes also need to be firing on all cylinders.
If they’re not you will go into hip flexion, which causes you to bend at the hips which is less effective in correctly strengthening the rectus abdominis.
How do I properly perform Dragonflags?
Training Tip: Instructional videos on all the Freeletics exercises, including Dragonflags, can be found in the “Single Exercises'' section of the app, in the “Explore” tab. There we’ve included enhanced tutorial features to help you master these exercises.
To execute the Dragonflag, start by lying down, face-up with your feet together and head against something stable like a pole or sturdy object and grasp it with your hands.
Keeping your shoulders and head on the ground, contract your torso, keep your core tight and raise your legs to touch the pole, keeping legs straight and hips extended with your toes pointed to maintain proper body alignment.
Once lifted, keep your entire body straight and lower yourself down as far as possible in a controlled motion without touching the ground.
Repeat, with one rep counted when your feet touch the pole. It is such a challenging and physically demanding move that it won’t take long to feel a burn, and once you notice your form slipping, you are done.
The aim of the move is to keep your body straight throughout the exercise and to do this you’ll need to fully engage your full torso and lower back, as well as your glutes.
To get the most out of the Dragonflag exercise it is not advised to do quick movements, instead, focus on doing slow, controlled repetitions.
Additional things to keep in mind when training
As with any exercise, form when completing Dragonflags is incredibly important. To get the most from this exercise and maintain proper form, avoid arching the lower back which will take the emphasis off of your abs and increase the risk of injury/strain in this area.
Before attempting Dragonflags, it’s super important to make sure you’ve worked your way up to advanced core training. Focus on mastering exercises like Leg Raises, Hanging Leg Raises, Jackknives, and Strict Toes to Bar to help you in your progression.
When first attempting the Dragonflag, you may only be able to do one or two repetitions. They’re so tricky to pull off that completing just a few will give you a real sense of achievement and a proper post-workout glow.
Exercise overview by David Weiner, Training and Nutrition Specialist