How to Do a Dragon Flag in 5 Steps

The Dragon Flag exercise is a Calisthenics move similar to the Human Flag.

It took it’s name from the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. It was one of his signature moves and was also performed by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky IV.

The Dragon Flag is an advanced exercise which requires abdominal and core strength, but also substantial full-body strength. Your whole torso is worked, so it’s important to have a lot of strength in your entire upper body in order to perform it correctly.

1. HOLLOW POSITION

First things first – you can’t execute the Dragon Flag properly without holding a hollow body position.

This is an important position, as it makes a lot of Calisthenics movements (like the handstandplanche, front lever and back lever.) easier to hold and better looking! 

In order to practise the hollow position you need to lie on your back with arms overhead, biceps by ears, and legs outstretched.

Lift your legs and arms so shoulders and feet are off the ground. 

Keep the head in a neutral position.

You need to be able to hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before moving to the next progression.

2. Lying leg raises

The Lying Leg Raises exercise helps you build core strength required for the Dragon Flag.

Lie on the floor with your arms alongside your body and raise your legs up toward the ceiling. Then use a slow negative to mimic the difficulty of a dragon flag.

Just before your legs touch the floor, lift them up again.

You must keep your lower back flat on the floor throughout this movement.

You need to be able to do at least 10-15 reps in one set, before moving to the next progression.

3. Hanging leg raises

The Hanging Leg Raises is an exercise similar to the Dragon Flag, but with your body vertical to the ground.

Hold onto a pull-up bar and lift your legs as high as you can without bending your knees or using any momentum.

Then slowly lower them back down. Perform the lowering in a controlled way.

You must try to keep your legs as straight as possible and your glutes tight.

You need to be able to do at least 10-15 reps in one set, before moving to the next progression.

4. Single leg dragon flag

Now that you have acquired the strength needed for the Dragon Flag, you can try to hold the position keeping one leg tucked into the chest and the other leg extended out.

This makes the movement a bit easier than the regular straight-legs variety.

So, lie on your back and hold onto a a vertical bar or a wall bar. Then lift your hips as you roll your weight onto your shoulders.

Keeping one leg tucked into the chest with the other leg extended out, lift them alongside with your torso to come in one straight line.

Your body should be in a straight line so that your shoulders, hips, and legs are aligned.

Don’t put the weight of your body on your neck. Keep the weight on your shoulders and upper back. Your upper back is the only part of your body that should be in contact with the floor.

Alternate legs during the hold.

You need to be able to hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds before moving to the next progression.

5. dragon flag Raises

In order to acquire the strength needed for holding the actual position of a Dragon Flag you should train your Dragon Flag raises.

You can start working with one leg tucked and the other leg extended, and as the movement becomes easier you can progress to the full Dragon Flag.

So, lie on your back and hold onto a a vertical bar or a wall bar. Then lift your hips as you roll your weight onto your shoulders.

Now, lift your legs alongside with your torso to come in one straight line.

Your body should be in a straight line so that your shoulders, hips, and legs are aligned. Don’t put the weight of your body on your neck. Keep the weight on your shoulders and upper back.

Your upper back is the only part of your body that should be in contact with the floor.

Slowly lower your body back down to the floor, keeping your core and glutes tight. Just before your legs touch the floor, lift them up again.

Now you can add the Human Flag to your other Calisthenics moves, such as the Planchehandstandfront lever and back lever.

You need to be really careful with your form thought… Not keeping a correct form could possibly lead to injuries.

So, always remember to be in a hollow position and keep your core tightengaging your quads, glutes and abs, so that your body is in a straight line.

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