Training abs isn’t usually hard—as in, the exercises aren’t particularly difficult to perform, once you learn the form. Many moves start unloaded, and you can get some good work in without needing to ratchet up the resistance too much. You can still work hard, and push yourself to the limits of your endurance, but your biggest challenge will be to maintain good form and finish strong through your sets.
This core challenge from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. is a little bit different: You might struggle to even pull it off. “I won’t lie to you guys; this one is tough,” says Samuel. “It’s as much a workout as it is an ultimate challenge for your overall core stability (and your mental focus too).”
According to Samuel, you’ll need to understand the way that all of your muscles interact to be able to nail the form. “This is a complete core movement: Abs, lower back extensors, and glutes all work together,” he says. “That last element, glute activation, is often the forgotten element. You’ll need to really activate your glutes to get that straight line (that most people fail to find.”
To take on the dragon flag med ball challenge, you’ll need a weight bench and a medicine ball.
Watch the full workout below.
- Lay back on the bench and clamp the med ball between your lower legs.
- Reach behind your head to hold the bench to brace yourself. Squeeze your core to lift your legs, butt, and lower back off the bench. Your body should form a straight line down to your shoulders.
- Hold that position for 5 to 7 seconds.
- Drop the med ball, maintaining the straight line position.
- Hold for 5 to 7 more seconds.
- Continue holding the position, then perform 5 to 7 flutter kicks.
The added med ball element to the unique dragon flag positioning is two-fold. “First off, there’s the pure load, which forces that much more perfect in the abdominal and glute contractions,” says Samuel. “The second added element: adductor fire. You have to squeeze in on that med ball to avoid dropping it. And because of the demands of the dragon flag, you have to squeeze while maintaining that nice, clean, neutral pelvis.”
The challenge is extremely taxing, and 5 seconds in each position and 5 good flutter kicks will humble most people, according to Samuel. To get a full workout in, repeat the series for 3 rounds.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health