It’s got a pretty impressive name. And it’s a pretty impressive exercise. The superman exercise is an excellent addition to any workout, as it engages the whole body in an intense hold which is bound to get you feeling the burn.
If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s how and why:
How to do Supermans
The superman focuses on the isometric part of the exercise. So once you’re in the position, the hardest part is holding it before lowering slowly back down.
1. Start by lying down vertically, with your stomach on the floor and your hands above your head.
2. From this starting position, lift both arms and both legs away from the floor, as if attempting to create a U shape curve with your whole body
3. Make sure your head and neck are neutral and in line with your spine
4. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower yourself slowly back to the starting position
What does the Superman exercise do?
The superman is a bodyweight exercise that requires no additional equipment. So you can do it whenever and wherever you are. The superman is beneficial for those with troublesome joints as it’s extremely low impact.
It focuses on slow and controlled movements to increase the time your muscles are under tension. This is why you’ll start to feel it after just a few seconds.
The main focus of the superman is to strengthen the large group of muscles that run down your spine. The core is so important for keeping you healthy. It’s an exercise recommended for those looking to improve their posture, who suffer from back pain, or who sit at a desk slumped over all day.
However, the superman doesn’t stop there. As you lift your arms and legs and hold them in a static position for a while, you’ll activate the muscles in those too.
Arguably the star of the show is the core. You’ll need to engage all the muscles in your trunk to help you do the movement. Not just your abs, but your whole core. Meaning you’ll increase the strength in an area that’s a key component of the work you do in the gym and in the real world too.
What variations of the superman are there?
As with most exercises, by changing a couple of things here and there, you can create variations of the exercise to focus more on different parts of the body.
The alternating superman: start with the right arm and left leg, lower, then swap to the other pair. This will help target the muscles in your arms and legs individually rather than as a set.
The superman hold: when you reach the top of the movement, stop and hold the position. It’ll make it a complete isometric exercise and increase your muscles’ time under tension even further. The muscles in your lower back will stay contracted for longer, helping you build strength in that area more efficiently. A great finisher if you’re looking for a way to end an interval circuit.
Top tips for the superman
The superman exercise is easy and accessible, making it a good one to incorporate into your fitness routine. As there aren’t too many variations of the exercises, it might be challenging to form superman workouts alone. Instead, include them in your warm-ups before doing weighted back exercises. Or, add them at the very end to a circuit to finish off.
Once you’ve done the exercise, it can feel good to then reverse the movement and bend your back the other way. The cat/cow exercise is beneficial for practising mobility and letting your arch curve the other way. Child’s pose is also one to end on for a lower back release.