The Superman exercise is an effective bodyweight exercise to work your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.

Plus, Supermans are a simple and efficient way to train and strengthen core muscles that rarely get used.

For example, exercises like crunches and situps often neglect lower back muscles. The Superman exercise engages your trunk as a whole.

The other top reason to love these workouts? They are excellent for building stability and increasing flexibility.

The Superman is also something everyone can do, and it is easy to add to any workout regimen. It requires no equipment, space, nor experience to perform.

It is helpful to have a yoga mat or towel to lay one, but certainly not required. Really all you need is a flat surface to lay on.

This article will walk you through the Superman Exercise, how to perform them, and why you should add reps of this movement into your fitness routine.

What Is The Superman Exercise Good for?

Superman exercise

This movement is excellent for building strength in your lower body while engaging your upper body at the same time.

In other words, a Superman is a back workout that also uses your abs and core. There are other advantages, as well.

Anyone who has back pain or an injury may find this move helpful in improving mobility and flexibility.

The favorite exercise of the man of steel also makes a fantastic warmup.

Your trainer may have you alternating superman exercises and hollow holds (sort of a reverse superman) to warm up for weightlifting or gymnastic movements like toes-to-bar.

Plus, there are several variations we will describe below, so you can hit other muscles, or just change things up.

How to Do the Superman Exercise Correctly

  1. Lie face down on your stomach with your arms and legs fully extended in a straight line. Your arms should be over your head and legs straight back behind you. Keep your neck neutral by looking straight down at the floor.
  2. Squeeze your butt muscles and lift your arms and legs off the floor towards the ceiling. Stop when you feel a flex in your lower back. Your midsection and hips need to stay in contact with the ground.
  3. Hold for 2-3 seconds and lower your arms and legs back to the starting position, then repeat. Complete three sets of the prescribed number of repetitions.

Tips for Keeping The Superman Exercise Safe

There is not a high risk of injury doing a Superman. However, to get the most benefits from this movement, you want to have a good, solid form, so avoid these common mistakes.

  • Keep your chin tucked throughout. In other words, don’t strain your neck looking forward, keep it in a neutral position. You will reduce the stress on your neck if you keep your eyes looking down at the floor.
  • Make sure to breathe normally and avoid holding your breath. This is one of those things everyone does at first – but try to breathe naturally through the movement.
  • Keep your elbows slightly flexed. When you lift your arms, don’t lock your elbows, instead, keep a slight bend in your arms.
  • Avoid hyperextending your back by raising by lifting your feet too high. Avoid putting too much pressure on your spine when you raise your legs. The goal is to have your arms and legs roughly the same distance off the ground.
  • Don’t point your toes. When you inhale, it can be tempting to point your toes hard. Instead, focus on keeping your feet neutral.

Overall, just listen to your body – if you feel any sudden or sharp pains, back off. Start small, see what feels right, and slowly work your way up. If you are having problems with this movement, talk to a trainer so they can help you out.

Target Muscles

People love the Superman Exercise because it targets so many muscles. It targets your posterior chain, while also engaging your abs.

Superman Exercise works:

  • Lower back (Erector Spinae)
  • Gluteal muscles
  • Hamstrings

3 Superman Exercise Variations

Feeling like a superhero? Let’s level up! The Superman Exercise has moves and variations that are worth adding to your workout routine. Choose a version that works well with your fitness goals.

Superman Ball Lift

You have some options with the Superman ball lift. You can place a stability ball between the sides of your feet and raise it each repetition as you lift your arms and legs. This motion will burn your lower abs and those butt muscles! Want to add a little resistance training? You can also hold a medicine ball in your hands for a little extra workout for your back and shoulders.

The Swimmer

Or maybe we should call this one Superman’s buddy, The Aquaman? If raising all your limbs at the same time in a Superman Exercise is a bit much, you can also alternate your arms and legs.

To do a Swimmer, lay on your front on the floor. Inhale, squeeze your glutes and as you raise your chest, lift your right arm and left leg. Relax back to the start and repeat on the other side. Do four sets of 12.

The Reverse Superman

A Superman Exercise may make you feel like you are flying, but there is another great version – the Reverse Superman Exercise. It’s formally known as a Hollow Hold (though I have seen it called a banana too.)

For this version, flip over onto your back. Keep your low back on the floor as you raise your limbs. This one can be tough to do, so one way you can work into this one is by bringing your knees to your chest and keeping your hands down by your hips as you crunch up.

Then, hold your crunch as you slowly straighten your knees and try to bring your hands above your head. It can take some practice, but this one is great for your obliques. 

Last Words

Superman workouts are great movements for low backs. They use your core, glutes, and hamstrings and are appropriate for all levels of fitness. They require no equipment, and you can do them anywhere.

If you are an office worker or are working from home and you are having aches and pains from sitting at a desk all day, consider taking a break and slipping a few of these in to relieve muscle tension.

As mentioned, these drills also are useful for warming up, but they also work well for cooling down after heavy lifting.

Flush out your muscles with a few as you wind down. Or, these also make great superset workouts.

For example, if you have an ab workout planned, add them to your workout to superset your crunches, situps, and bird dogs. 

Also check out:

Tagged in:

About the Author

Dawn Highhouse ISSA, PN1 CERTIFIED

Dawn Highhouse holds personal training and nutrition certifications from ISSA and Precision Nutrition. Dawn also graduated from Davenport University with a B.A. in Business with a Minor in Humanities. She focuses on lifestyle health – how to incorporate health and wellness into our everyday life.

View All Articles