Who doesn’t want a strong core? After all, a solid midsection not only looks good, but it can also help reduce your risk of back pain. But if your core work is limited to crunches, leg raises, and other abs-focused exercises, you’re shortchanging your results, because you’re neglecting many other muscles that are essential for building a strong and balanced core.
Adding the Superman exercise to your workout regimen can help change that by targeting key core muscles along your “posterior chain.” Plus, all you need in order to perform the Superman is some floor space, making it an easy addition to any strength routine.
How to Do the Superman Exercise With Perfect Form
- Lie face-down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you (palms down) and your legs extended behind you. This is the starting position.
- Keeping your neck in line with your spine, lift your arms, chest, and legs off of the floor.
- Pause, and then lower your arms and legs back to the starting position.
How to Make the Superman Exercise Easier
Keep your legs on the floor, only lifting your chest and arms.
How to Make the Superman Exercise Harder
Hold the top position for longer. For an added challenge, you can also sweep your arms down to your sides, and then back above your head during each rep.
Bonus Tips for Doing the Superman Exercise
The key to performing this exercise safely and effectively is to engage both your glutes and your lower back simultaneously, says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., senior fitness and nutrition content manager for Openfit. Don’t over-rely on either one.
Benefits of the Superman Exercise
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the Superman exercise; this move is as effective as it is accessible.
Although it targets your erector spinae (a group of muscles located along your spine), it can also help strengthen your glutes when performed correctly. “Strengthening these posterior core muscles can not only improve your posture and lower your risk of back pain, but it can also help reduce muscle imbalances caused by focusing too intently on your ‘six pack’ muscles,” says Thieme.
The result is a core that looks good and is better able to perform its primary job: Supporting your spine.
Muscles Worked by the Superman Exercise
The erector spinae is a group of muscles (the spinalis, longissimus, and iliocostalis) that flank your spine on either side. These muscles bear the important task of keeping your spine erect while also helping you rotate and bend from side-to-side, Thieme says.
Your glutes are composed of three muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Their primary job is hip extension (i.e., straightening your hips), making them important for everything from walking and running to squatting and jumping. They also rotate your thighs inward and outward.