Feeling Like a Superhero? Here Is How to Perform the Superman for Added Strength and Stability
The superman is a traditional whole body exercise that develops strength and endurance along the back of the body (extensor muscles).
It is often included within traditional core training workouts but is a fundamental skill in itself – the mastery of which can significantly improve your overall fitness and performance.
Begin by lying on your front with arms straight out in front (overhead position) with thumbs facing up. Keep the forehead on the floor.
Set the shoulders slightly and engage the core.
Simultaneously lift the arms and legs a few inches off the floor. Hold this position momentarily before returning under control to the start position.
Repeat for reps or time.
This exercise will help to develop strength and endurance in the extensor muscles, which is essential for good postural control. Sedentary living (both work and non-work) place our bodies in flexion postures that can contribute to postural pain, dysfunction and later injury. The inclusion of extension movements in our daily and weekly workouts can help to ‘reset’ the negative effects of prolonged flexion.
Proper execution of the superman exercise requires awareness of the shoulders and hips. While one can consider this exercise as a lower back one, the larger back extensors, shoulders and hips (glutes) are the key movers. When you lift the arms, initiate the movement from the back of the shoulders and upper back; when you lift the legs, initiate this from the glutes and hamstrings. This will not only make the movement more efficient, but it will also prevent the smaller low back muscles from overworking.
This exercise can be challenging at first. The simplest variation is to begin with just one arm lift before moving onto both arms. Then try single leg movements before adding double legs. Finally, you can progress towards double arms and legs.
It’s also worth noting that repetitions will be more comfortable at first, rather than holds. Once you can perform ten reps with good control, you are ready to try adding holds. Begin with five-second holds, progressing to longer as required.