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Dragon Flag

The Dragon Flag is a dynamic The Plank movement popularized by Bruce Lee then by Sylvester Stallone in his ROCKY films. As a reminder, the goal of a good The Plank is to better control its movements and joints.

The Plank is generally practiced only with exercises for the abdominal strap and statically. It is completely incomplete and leads to postural and muscular imbalances which cause joint and tendon pain.

How To Make Dragon Flag

  • Lying on a bench or on an inclined board, the body weight rests on the shoulders (top of the trapezoids) and the back of the head.
  • Grasp the edge of the bench behind the head to maintain itself.
  • The body is vertical and sheathed (stiffened) so as not to deform during execution.
  • Lower the whole body as low as possible (depending on the muscular possibilities of each).
  • Breathing will be done by inhaling during the descent and by exhaling during the ascent. Often we will be freediving during the descent (great inspiration at the top of the exercise). The expiration will be on the climb.
  • During the movement, you must maintain The Plank perfect of all the abdominal strap, not to damage your back, because this exercise puts significant pressure on the spine.

Targeted Muscles

The Dragon Flag allows you to work mainly on the abdomen and the hip flexors. As an accessory, the external obliques of the abdomen participate in its execution.

Thanks to this exercise, you work The Plank of the whole body as well as a little your “representation in space” thus allowing you to better feel your position on other exercises such as the Barbell Curl, the Barbell Shoulder Press, etc.

It is not necessary to ballast when working in full amplitude. The tension is strong enough for that. However, to allow targeting of an area, working in reduced amplitude with elastic will focus on the flexors or on the straight.

The Coaching Points To Keep In Mind:

During all the agonist/antagonist progressions you must start by aspirating the pelvic floor (stop pee) then contracting the transverse (retracting the navel) exhaling (breathing) by lowering your ribs (integrated diaphragmatic breathing). Be careful not to let go of the suction from the pelvic floor.

Remember to contract the glutes as soon as the hips extend or the legs stretch as well on the agonist movement as the antagonist.

Is The Dragon Flag Dangerous?

The Dragon Flag requires good physical condition, in particular with a strong abdominal strap so as not to allow hyperlordosis of the lumbar area (risk of pain).

People with cervical problems should pay particular attention to this area which is under tension during the execution of the exercise.

In case of lower back pain in the descent (too much arch and not enough support of the rectus abdominis), close the angle of the thighs slightly (break the trunk-thigh alignment) to reduce this arch.

Variants

It is possible to descend in contact with the ground, or even to place the glutes completely (significant intensification during the initiation of the ascent). This solution requires a very good mastery of your abdominal strap to be sure not to end up in hyperlordosis (too much camber in the spine).

If it is impossible to perform (lack of strength/endurance), it is possible to perform this exercise partially (on the upper portion only, as in the video).

Also in the case of an impossibility of execution or in the objective of working a difficult passage, you can make very weak oscillations (or immobility) at different passages of the movement.

The “partial” variant in the high position can advantageously be executed with elastic bands to put tension without going all the way down (for those who cannot do it or who have low back pain concerns):

  • By positioning the elastic at the ankles or knees, you will put more stress on the hip flexors
  • By positioning the elastic at the level of the pelvis/waist, you will put more pressure on the abdomen.

Replacement exercises:

All abdominal exercises (Crunches for example), but especially the hardest versions (Hanging Leg Raise for example).

Or by another isometric exercise: roulette with a bar, on your knees, or an easier movement of The Plank: The Plank. Or easier: Stomach Vacuum.

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