How To Do The Superman Exercise And Not Look Like A Fish Out Of Water

It’s not every day you get the chance to feel like a superhero, especially not while working out. So…here’s your chance.

Doing a basic superman requires zero exercise equipment whatsoever. All you you need is your bodyweight—and a cape. Okay, just kidding about the cape.

But seriously, the superman is a floor exercise that involves simultaneously lifting your arms and legs off the ground while keeping your core engaged. This move will not only give you abs of steel, but also strengthen your back.

There are also plenty of variations you can do to increase or decrease the intensity of this move and keep things exciting. As a Flywheel Sports instructor and certified personal trainer, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about the the superman—the benefits, how-to, variations, and more. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

The Benefits Of The Superman

If you’re a runner, you’ll love the superman. As an endurance runner, I am always focused on finding moves that can strengthen the trunk of my body—especially my lower back. And this exercise is great for doing just that! But it’s also more than just a lower-back exercise. It’s also going to help you with overall stability for everyday movement. Here’s how your body will be tested in each of these key areas:

  • Lower-Back Benefits: Your lower-back muscles will get some well-deserved attention while doing the superman. Targeting them in this move will not only make them stronger, but also create more flexibility.
  • Leg Benefits: You’ll be seriously thanking the superman next time you see the noticeable gains in your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Core Benefits: This move may look like it’s just focusing on your arms and legs, but your core is a key component of this move. As you lift your arms and legs up into the air, the muscles in your trunk will be isolated. So you’ll need to make sure they’re engaged.
  • Bonus Benefit: You’ll feel like a superhero!

How To Do The Superman

Doing this exercise the right way should be pretty simple. But here’s a step-by-step process just in case:

Set/reps for results: Three sets of 10–12 reps should be enough.

Form tips: It’s very important to keep your head and neck neutral throughout the exercise and avoid jerky movements. Instead, work on synchronizing the lift and lower of all four limbs with control.

Variations On The Superman

There are a few easy ways to make sure this exercise remains exciting and as beneficial as possible.

  • Alternating Superman: Sometimes it’s difficult to lift both arms and legs at once. If so, you can do what’s called an alternating superman. This means you’ll lift opposite leg and opposite arm together, then switch and repeat on the other side for the same three sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Reverse Superman: Here’s a cool one! Instead of lying on your stomach. Flip over and lie on your back, this time lifting both arms and legs in a straight line simultaneously toward the ceiling. This move is more commonly known as a hollow hold—but reverse superman sounds more fun, no?
  • Superman Ball Lift: This is your advanced, superman 2.0. For it, when you lift your arms and legs, you’ll also be lifting a stability ball (or Swiss ball) between your feet, challenging those hard-to-reach lower abs and butt muscles just above your hamstrings.

How To Make The Superman Part Of Your Routine

Do them as a warmup: I love to complete a few sets of the superman in my warm up. It will really rev up your muscles for your upcoming routine.

Do them after a workout: This will help relieve energy placed in your lower back during the workout.

Do them as a superset: Say it’s leg day and you’re all about the squats. If you really want to challenge yourself, after each set of squat jumps, move right in to the superman. Doing 10–12 reps should be great!

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