There are abdominal exercises, and then there are ultra-tough abdominal exercises. And one of the most legendary tough abdominal exercises is the Dragon Flag, popularized by Bruce Lee and used by that Rocky Balboa fella in a few of his movies, too.
And it turns out that the Dragon Flag can get even more difficult, especially when Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. wants to blast your obliques and challenge your glutes, too. That’s when he turns to the Twisting Dragon Flag Runner, a hybrid move that adds challenge to Lee’s classic. “In a way, this is easier than standard Dragon Flags,” says Samuel, “because you don’t have both legs extended the entire time. But we’re using other things to make it harder, too.”
The Twisting Dragon Flag Runner requires a miniband, and plenty of core control, but done correctly, it’ll blast abs, glutes, obliques, and serratus muscles. Instead of simply holding a Dragon Flag or lifting your torso up and down with your ab muscles, you now introduce a twisting motion through your hips. This blends rotational core strength with the uncommon stability already required in the classic Flag.
“The best part about this is your entire core is working overtime as a unit,” says Samuel. “Abs, obliques, spinal extensors and glutes must all fire aggressively to maintain a straight-line position. Then we add in that movement and we stimulate your abdominals even more.”
All you need is a miniband and a bench (although you can also grab a post and do dragon flags on the floor to. Read on for the lowdown on how to execute the move.
This Twisting Dragon Flag Runner is a useful core move in a variety of situations. You can use it to crush your core at the end of any full-body or upper-body workout. Or it can anchor a core-focused workout. If you use it in a full-on ab workout, make sure to do it early, says Samuel, because it attacks so much of your core that it can be tough to do under fatigue.
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 All Out Arms program.
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