3 Benefits of Supermans Exercise

In this article we will dive deeper into the benefits of the Superman exercise, discussing three main benefits coaches and athletes can expect when integrating this bodyweight movement into training programs. In addition, three Superman exercise video demonstrations are highlighted below, each offering a unique benefit for lifters of all levels and skill-sets.

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THE SUPERMAN HOLD – There's always that one guy (Ai Zirk hahaha!) What are the BENEFITS of doing the Superman Hold? Back pain is a common experience. Structures in the back degenerate and the effects of gravity, desk jobs and a sedentary lifestyle can take their toll. Even if you're very active, the lower back is often neglected in average fitness routines. Strengthening the lower back with the Superman exercise builds support and stability for the spine, and it can also prevent and reduce back pain. Try it at Lions Bay CrossFit today! We also offer one-on-one sessions with our coaches: @eduantroskie @elzaangoosen @ruanvdh @lindsey_drew11 and @nicoleanderson003 #LionsBayCrossFit #CrossFit #MakingPeopleBetter #SupermanHold #ForPrideAndGlory #StrongerToday

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Superman Exercise Video

In the below videos the Superman exercise is demonstrated. In the first video, the Superman is done for time in a static position, one that increases isometric strength and control while in an extended position. The video also shows how to perform the Superman exercise for controlled repetitions, which increases a lifter’s ability to contract and relax the muscles responsible for extension (lower back, glutes, and some hamstring).

Another progression of the Superman exercise is the superman hold + rock, also called, the reverse hollow rock. This exercise, which is shown in the video below, can help to increase both isometric strength and control of the body and also have a better application to more dynamic movements found in bodyweight training and gymnastics.

3 Benefits of the Superman Exercise

Below are three primary benefits of the Superman exercise that coaches and athletes can expect when integrating these bodyweight movements into warm up segments, bodyweight progressions (gymnastics), and training/fitness programs. Note, that all three of these benefits are applicable to other alternatives such as reverse hollow rocks, glute hamstring developers (GHDs), and back raises. The key however, is that Supermans are a perfect segway into more challenging movements and can help lifters establish a firmer foundation for development, skill acquisition, and body control early on in their training/athletic career and/or during periods of lower intensity training (recovery from injury, etc).

Increased Lower Back and Glute Development

The lower back and glutes are the primary muscle groups involved in the Superman exercise. When performing (as in the examples above) the isometric (static strength and control), concentric/eccentric (second video), and more dynamic progressions of the Superman exercise you help a lifter develop many fundamental skills necessary for more advanced movements and posture demands. As a lifter progresses, the superman exercise can be used as a simple warm-up/activation movement or done in higher reps to increase muscle endurance.

Application to Gymnastic and Kipping Movements

The superman exercise is a foundational movement skill necessary for understanding the positions needed for moments like kipping and gymnastics. Developing the extension strength and positional awareness via Superman’s, reverse hollow rocks, and back raises can have a drastic carry over to gymnastic abilities, specifically the ability control the core and torso in kipping movements, muscle ups, and static holds. Ultimately, by increasing your ability to maintain rigid flexion and extension in the torso via strong muscle contractions can help to improve your stability and control in more dynamic gymnastic and fitness movements.

Scalable Bodyweight Exercise

The Superman exercise is a great way to educate new lifters of what extension of the body feels like and how to develop proper firing mechanics of the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. Like other posterior chain accessory movements (good mornings, back raises, hyperextensions), the Superman exercise can be useful for strength, power, and fitness athletes, but has the added bonus that it is a very entry level, scalable, and low skill movement – perfect for beginners.

Build a Stronger Bodyweight Foundation

Below are three bodyweight movements/exercises that should be mastered by all strength, power, and fitness athletes. In doing so, you not only can enhance your overall movement patterns necessary for training (such as squats, pressing, pulls, etc) but help increase body control throughout a deeper range of motion.

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Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

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