Supermans Exercise Alternatives

In this article we will discuss five (5) supermans exercise alternatives that strength, power, and fitness athletes can integrate into most training programs to build posterior chain strength and hypertrophy. In a recent article, we discussed the supermans exercise in great detail, offering benefits, technique videos, and training considerations.

The Supermans Exercise

Below is brief recap of the supermans exercise, along with a video demonstration showing how this bodyweight movement can be done for static holds or for repetition based training. Both can be used for most levels of lifters and can be a foundational movement for fitness, strength training, and gymnastics.

5 Supermans Exercise Alternatives

Listed below are five (5) supermans exercise alternatives coaches, athletes, and fitness-goers alike can swap into their training routines when looking to develop hip and lower back strength and reinforce proper hip mechanics for athletic movements.

Reverse Hollow Rock

The reverse hollow rock is nearly identical to the supermans exercise with the exception that the lifter performs a rocking motion (similar to a hollow rock, but face down) while isometrically holding themselves in the superman (extended) position. This is a good movement to reinforce proper mechanics and muscle firing patterns, establish greater movement control, and have a transfer to more gymnastic-based movements.

Reverse Chinese Planks

The reverse chinese plank takes the supermans exercise (and the plank) to the next level. Like a chinese plank, a lifter is suspended (like a bridge) from one bench/box to another. In the reverse chinese plank, the lifter faces up towards the sky with a box across the upper back and another under the heels, forcing the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors to isometrically contract and support the load. As you can see in the video below, this forces a lifter to become very rigid and build resistance against spinal extension and flexion (depending on which way they are facing)

Back Raise

The back raise is a staple accessory movement for the strength and muscle development of the lower back and glutes (and some hamstrings). This movement can be done in a hyperextension machine or simply with a glute ham raise apparatus (GHD). Loading can be bodyweight, a barbell on the back, or plates/other loads held in front of the body. It is key to lift with the glutes and hamstrings, keeping the back flat the entire range of motion. Be sure not to go into excessive hyperextension at the top, as this can be detrimental to the lower back and spine under loads.

Good Mornings

The barbell good morning is an accessory movement that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower/middle back, similar to that of the supermans exercise. Unlike the supermans exercise, you can increase the loading of this movement to strengthen and build muscle hypertrophy more than the supermans exercise. Note, that this exercise does place more loading and stress on the back and hips, and therefore should be mastered with light loads prior to increasing intensity and ranges of motion.

Stability Ball Glute Ham Raise + Curl

This movement is done with a stability/physioball, requiring a lifter to exhibit greater control and muscle contraction (due to the instability of the ball). This exercise targets nearly all of the lower body muscle groups (hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors) while also forcing a lifter to stay engaged with the upper back on the floor to aid in the stability of this movement. This can also be done for static holds with straight knees or bent, as well as for more repetition based training, demonstrated below.

Build a Stronger Lower Back

Take a look at the below exercise articles to learn how you can build a stronger and healthier lower back.

Featured Image: @mikejdewar on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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