Great for all levels, the benefits and variations will elevate your performance to new heights.
We’ve all done a superman exercise at one point in our workouts. On the surface, it looks like a great exercise. Lie down, on your front, and hangout. But to get that Superman strength, knowing how to properly do this exercise holds the key for many benefits to aid in your overall performance and physical wellness. Great for lifters and fitness folks of all levels, the superman exercise is one to tuck into your workout routine for sure.
As a solid exercise for foundational health, the strengthening benefits of this exercise hold the key to really helping you on multiple levels. Aside from increased core strength, your lower body does get work done and while it may not be the gains a squat provides, the superman exercise still forces your legs to feel a burn. Improved posture will alleviate unwanted pain and keep you working harder in the gym, allowing you to lift more and feel stronger doing so (1).
Check out these awesome benefits and other variations of the superman exercise to really get you going so you look and feel great with whatever challenge you face in the gym or out of it.
In order to properly perform this exercise, your core remains the foundation of not only proper form but also stability in the action (2). In order to effectively lift your arms and legs, your core must be engaged, and as those legs and arms go even higher, your core is isolated really working to hit that hard. With the core being a solid foundational base of strength for many lifts, this is certainly one exercise to enhance overall performance.
Stemming from strengthening your core, the superman exercise allows for improved posture as a result of that more stable foundational support system. Take the deadlift for example. By engaging your core, you allow for a solid, stable base to then lift heavy weight. Even as you walk or sit, a stronger core allows you to stand taller and keep that spine long (3).
Alleviate Low Back Pain
Your lower back and glutes get a lot of attention with the superman exercise and allow for increased development with more advanced exercises and posture. By strengthening your core, low back, and glutes, smaller stabilizer muscles also see growth, thus alleviating any pain that may creep up during big lifts.
A benefit to any bodyweight exercise is that you don’t need any equipment. Especially during a time where people may be uncomfortable with going to the gym, finding unique exercises to advance your growth that you can do from the comfort of your home is a huge plus. Put this into a bodyweight workout circuit and you will be glad you did.
How To Perform Supermans
Performing the superman exercise is relatively simple, but it is important to remember good form. With simple exercises, we often overlook the really basic tips that make them super effective.
Start on your stomach with your arms extended overhead and legs fully extended as well. A relaxed head and neck and neutral spine are key for this. Really working to engage your core, contract those core muscles and allow for balance and stabilization in your spine. While doing this, simultaneously raise your arms and legs slightly off the ground, still keeping your head and neck neutral. Hold at the top for a brief pause and slowly lower back down to the starting position.
What To Watch Out For
When performing the superman exercise, it is important to remember to hold the position as solid and stable as you can. This is done by serious core engagement and by keeping your arms and legs as extended as possible. Always remember to breathe and stay as center as possible because breathing more efficiently will yield better results.
Like any great bodyweight core workout, the superman exercise has many variations to really aid in your overall benefit. Depending on your experience, strength, and skill level, it doesn’t matter. You can still reap the benefits of this exercise by finding what works best for you.
For those who may find lifting both arms and both legs off the ground at the same time too difficult to start, working on raising just arms or just legs can be a great initial boost for getting you into this workout. Performed the safe way, the only difference is you will lift either both arms or both legs while keeping the other option down on the ground.
Alternating superman is another great variation of this exercise where you lift one arm and the opposite leg, thus alternating limbs as opposed to lifting all four. Switching between opposite sides will still give you great benefits and allow for a slightly easier variation on this exercise.
Reverse superman shakes things up a bit by actually having you on your back. Also referred to as a hollow hold, you will lift both arms and legs in a straight line towards the ceiling while working to really engage your core and feel a great burn.
The superman exercise is a great bodyweight exercise to incorporate into any circuit or workout routine as a simple yet highly effective exercise. With the ability to strengthen your core, improve posture, alleviate low back pain, work your glutes and lower body, and need zero equipment, the superman exercise is certain to help make you feel like Superman himself.
Trying variations offers diversity in the exercise and depending on your experience level, you can still enjoy the benefits of this workout. As a warm-up exercise, a mid-workout burn, or part of a post-workout ab circuit, this exercise slides easily into any of your routines so you see great gains and feel like the superhero you want to be.
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*Images courtesy of Envato
- Reiser, Fernando C.; Durnate, Bruno G.; de Souza, William C.; Mascarnehas, Luis P. G.; Bonuzzi, Giordano M. G. (2017). “Paraspinal Muscle Activity during Unstable Superman and Bodyweight Squat Exercises”. (source)
- Clark, David R.; Lambert, Michael I.; Hunter, Angus M. (2018). “Contemporary perspectives of core stability training for dynamic athletic performance: a survey of athletes, coaches, sports science and sports medicine practitioners”. (source)
- Hibbs, Angela E.; Thompson, Kevin G.; French, Duncan; Wrigley, Allan; Spears, Iain (2008). “Optimizing performance by improving core stability and core strength”. (source)