You can (and should) train your core daily, because your abs, glutes, spinal erectors and obliques are meant stabilize your torso and your lower back throughout every moment of every day. Your core doesn’t need to rest, so you can plank whenever you want.
Soft Toss Elite Mini Medicine Ball
Buy It Now
But every so often, you should do more than train your core. Sometimes, you should challenge it, and that’s exactly what you’re going to do with the Dragon Flag Ball Drop Challenge. This brutal series from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. delivers 25 seconds of abdominal hell. It has its basis in one of Samuel’s favorite moves, the Bruce Lee-inspired dragon flag hold. (Want some slightly easier dragon flag work? Samuel has you covered here.)
“But here we’re taking the move to new heights,” says Samuel, “pushing even more core stability than standard dragon flag work. A simple dragon flag hold is challenging enough, but now we’re going to load it lightly, and we’re also going to force a ton of hip adductor/inner thigh challenge, too.”
The results will fire up every part of your core, which Samuel defines as abs, glutes, obliques, and spinal erectors. “Your core isn’t just your abs, and if you achieve a standard dragon flag, you’ll realize that,” he says. “Abs, glutes, obliques, and low back muscles have to work together to maintain this position.”
Yet the ball drop challenge still manages to be scaleable. Push your torso to get closer to parallel with the ground, Samuel says, and it gets tougher. Shift your body line closer to perpendicular to the ground, and the move gets easier. You can learn the move with your body angle closer to perpendicular to the ground, then gradually shift it downwards, says Samuel. “Even a little bit of shift towards a more horizontal body position is going to create challenge,” says Samuel. “Don’t be afraid to start small here.”
No matter how you take it on, don’t expect this to be easy. You’ll need a pair of medicine balls and a bench to execute this challenge. If you don’t have one, Samuel recommends this model from Perform Better. You’ll also want a spot for this movement, says Samuel. “They’re just watching the medballs to make sure they don’t fall as you’re getting set up.”
Be intentional about squeezing your glutes, too. Your glutes protect your spine in general, and they must be squeezed to take pressure off your spine once you’re in dragon flag position.
Also, unlike some dragon flag moves, which you can do on the floor, you’ll want to do this one on a bench. That way, when you drop each ball, you don’t have to worry about them rolling into you.
Either way, you’ll have smoked your entire core, says Samuel, and the best part is that you’ll have done it in a very real-world way. “The thing I love about dragon flags,” says Samuel, “is that they force you to keep your glutes active, working on conjunction with your abs. Too often, we over-focus only on abs; that’s impossible to do here. If you don’t actively fire your glutes, you simply never find the truly straight dragon flag position you want.”
The dragon flag ball drop challenge isn’t a move you need to do every day, says Samuel. “You can train standard dragon flags multiple times a week,” says Samuel, “working to perfect the position and building stronger mind-muscle connection and body awareness. Then save this challenge for once a week, or even every other week, pushing yourself to the limit that much more.” Expect to improve the more you do other dragon flag drills, says Samuel, and then you’ll dominate this move.
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.
Source: Read Full Article