Working your abs doesn’t have to be a fruitless exercise in spinal flexion. Skip out on the situps next training session and try the dragon flag, one of Bruce Lee’s favorite moves, which challenges your core stability and control instead.
Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., puts his own twists on the dragon flag to make the move even more engaging. This elevator flutter dragon flag challenge pushes you to work your core from multiple levels, giving you a more balanced workout.
“First, you’ll have to use your upper abs to shift from that low position into a higher position,” says Samuel. “Second, that higher position will challenge you to squeeze your glutes that much more to create a tighter line. When you shift that high, the angle is actually “easier” on your abs to hold. But the hips tend to shift upwards, unless you have the discipline to squeeze your glutes.”
To take on the elevator flutter dragon flag challenge, all you need is a bench to serve as an anchor.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Lay back on the bench.
- Reach behind your head to hold the bench to brace yourself. Squeeze your core to lift your legs, butt, and lower back off the surface. Your body should form a straight line down to your shoulders.
- Perform 3 flutter kick reps.
- Squeeze your core and shift your leg position upward by a few degrees. Come to a stable position you can hold, then perform 3 more flutter kick reps.
- Lower back down to the original dragon flag position, then repeat the series.
Patience is the name of the game if you want to do this challenge the right way. “Take your time shifting between positions and work on not rushing anything,” says Samuel. “Move too fast, and you’ll lose control of your dragon flag. And don’t flutter too early. Focus on establishing control at a position, then flutter. Your mind will want to rush the process. Force your body not to let that happen.”
Add the elevator flutter dragon flag challenge to your workouts with 3 sets, with 2 to 3 shifts between the lower and upper positions in each set.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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