Supermans Exercise – Muscles Worked, Exercise Video, and Benefits

In this article we will discuss the Superman exercise, a bodyweight exercise that challenges lower back and glute control/strength, enhances posterior chain activation, and can be used as a modification for more advanced movements. In the below sections we will uncover the muscle groups targeted by the Superman exercise, offer a technique video, and discuss the benefits of integrating the Supermans exercise into your training routine(s).

Muscles Worked

The superman exercise targets the main muscle groups of the posterior chain, primary through isometric contractions (unless performed for repetitions). The below muscle groups are targeted by performing either multiple repetitions of the superman exercise (with a pause at top) or simply a superman hold (isometric contraction).

  • Spinal Erectors (lower back)
  • Gluteals
  • Hamstrings
  • Upper Traps (hands extended)

Supermans Exercise Video

The below video demonstrates how to perform the Superman exercise. This exercise is nearly identical to the reverse hollow rock, with the exception that the lifter is stationary in this isometric hold rather than moving more dynamically.

3 Benefits of the Superman Exercise

Below are three benefits of the superman exercise that coaches and athlete should familiarize themselves with. Note, that many of these benefit are depended on a lifter’s ability to not go into excessive lumbar flexion in the Superman exercise, but rather to stay engaged with the glute and hips properly.

Isometric Lower Back and Glute Strength

When performing movements like the Superman, plank, and hollow hold, you are challenging the bodies ability to promote tension and force without producing dynamic movement. This results in the development of isometric core strength, which is key for nearly every movement and exercise athletes must perform in training and competition. The superman exercise can help lifters establish isometric muscle contractions in the glutes and lower back (spinal erectors) which can be helpful for loaded movements like the squat and deadlift, as well as more dynamic movements such as running, swimming, and most spotting movements.

Scalable Regression

When looking to build lower back strength, core development, and foundational skills for gymnastics and bodyweight training movements, coaches and athletes must master some of the most basic bodyweight exercise before attempting more advanced movements. The superman exercise can be very helpful for those athletes who are asked to maintain a rigid body while in movement, such as gymnastics, lifters, and even runners. By embracing a strong and controlled isometric contraction throughout the lower back and glutes, a liter can learn to stay engaged property (without excessive lumbar flexion) during loaded (squat, deadlift, overhead pressing) and unloaded (pull up, kipping movements, etc) movements.

Posterior Chain Activation

The posterior chain is made up of three primary muscle groups; the glutes, the hamstrings, and the spinal erectors (lower back muscles). When looking to enhance athletic development, we often perform movements like cleans, deadlifts, and squatting, which can all have a drastic impact on a lifters running, jumping, and sprinting mechanics. When preparing to train the hips and lower back, we can use the supermans exercise (for their repetitions/hold) to increase the lifter’s ability to control and contract the glutes and lower back muscles to better prime more complex movements.

Check out these Corrective/Activation Exercises

If you are an athlete or coach, you know the immense importance an activation/corrective exercise can have on overall performance, readiness for more advanced training, and injury prevention. Below, we have listed some of our top activation/corrective exercises that coaches and athletes can mix into their training rounds.

Featured Image: @gtr.fitness on Instagram

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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.