Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dragon flags

Dragon flags are an old Bruce Lee favorite which target the core muscles, but also can be quite taxing on the lats, triceps and forearms, depending on how you hold the bench.
This progression will show you how to gradually achieve full dragon flags.

leg lift plank, pull ups, hanging bent leg V-raises

Correct form is quite important when performing dragon flags. First of all, ensure that your weight rests on your shoulders when lying on the bench, and that there is no pressure on your cervical vertebrae. This is quite important if you value your spine (!).
Your torso and legs should remain in alignement throughout the exercise. A lot of people tend to bend at the waist on the up phase of the dragon flag, but this makes the exercise considerably easier, and it is considered very poor form.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the exercise:

For each variation, start with 3 sets of 4 reps with at least 2 min rest in between, increasing by one rep every session until you can manage 3 sets of 8 reps. For instance, start with 4,4,4 reps, then progress to 5,5,4 reps in your subsequent session.
Once you can manage 3 sets of 8 reps, move on to the next variation in the progression.

1.  Tuck knees dragon flag. Bend your knees and tuck them towards your chest. The more you straighten them, the more you will increase the difficulty of the exercise. Start with a high knee tuck at first.
2. One extended leg dragon flag: keep one of your knees tucked high, and extend your other leg. This will significantly increase the difficulty of the exercise.
3. Straddle leg dragon flag: extend both your legs in front of you in the straddle position. The further you open your legs, the more your center of gravity will shift towards your shoulders, and the easier the exercise will be.
 4. Dragon flag: extend both legs straight in front of you. Focus on tightening your core muscles throughout the exercise, and on maintaining your breathing. Make sure not to bend at the waist on the up phase of the exercise.


  1. If one has finished the leg raises progression, this progression would be a good replacement for that?

    1. It would be, though I'd suggest you replace these with ab wheel rollouts, and the planks with dragon flags.

  2. i dont have a bench in my house, is there anything else i can perform the dragon flag progression on? btw awesome site! have been following the routine for two months and have noticed vast improvements

    1. You can do these on the floor if you can find something for your hands to hold on to.

  3. hi! firstly, I think this site is exceptional. your gradual progressions have enabled me to achieve feats of strength and skill I never would have dreamed of without the help of your website. I'm sure this question has come up before but I was unable to find it, so I would be grateful if you could reply. One of my long term goals when I began training was to be able to achieve the human flag position. Any chance you could add this to the ancillary progressions in the future?

  4. What do you mean? this is an ancillary progression...

  5. I'll be 72 in September and I did ten reps today at the Hilltop Fitness center in East Moline, IL

    I think I'm the only one doing them and I think they younger guys hate me for it, but that's just Too Bad Brad.

  6. Hey, it would be great if you could show us how to train/progression for normal flag, i can't find anything on the web. Side plank with raised leg?