Before I ask my questions, allow me to describe my background. I am 43, 5'10", and 175 lbs. I am primarily a cyclist, but I have been strength training inconsistently 0-2 times/week for about 4 years now. I don't consider myself particularly strong by typical measures: 270ish deadlift, 170ish squat, 135ish bench press, 100ish military press. Recently. I was looking for a more advanced anterior chain exercise and came across the dragon flag. It sounded very advanced, but I consider myself to have better than average anterior chain strength, so I decided to give it a go. On my first attempt I did a set of 8 up and down. I was quite impressed with myself but concerned that I was cheating somehow.
This is probably an impossible question to answer, but does anyone have any ideas why the dragon flag seems easy to me yet hard to those that are much stronger by typical measures?
Besides bending at the waist, is there any other way to cheat at the dragon flag? I.e. is there anything else in my form I should be looking for?
It's unclear to me what muscles are used in the dragon flag. Obviously the abs are, but I don't think that could be all there is to the picture. For example, I don't see how the abs can lift the ribcage off the floor. My arms (triceps, grip) work quite hard, but I don't see how they can lift the ribcage either. I think they are just holding my shoulders down. So what muscles can lift the ribcage off the floor? The pecks? Lats? Neck? Upper back? Does anyone have a detailed description of the muscle activations during the exercise? The googles don't seem to know.
Heading slightly off topic... Having conquered the dragon flag, I moved on to the front lever. I found that I can barely do a tuck front lever. Considering I can do a dragon flag, I'm guessing my limiting factor in the front lever is shoulder strength (lats?). Does that seem plausible?