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).
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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)
- 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.
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.
- Master the Supermans Exercise? If so, try this more dynamic and challenging movement variation
- How, When, and Why to Program Corrective Exercises in Weightlifting and Competitive Fitness Programs
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