Exercise: Superman

superman-exerciseI must admit that I absolutely LOATHED this exercise when I first started working out. Four years later, I loathe it no longer! In fact, much to the dismay of several of my clients, I’ve even tried different things to make it harder. In the beginning, not only was this exercise hard for me to do, but I also felt like an idiot doing it. Since then however, I have done many things  that make me  feel even more  idiotic than doing the superman, I assure you.

This exercise targets your lower back (erector spinae specifically) and is great for almost everyone.The superman is also used  in rehab for some people who experience low back pain and even individuals who are rehabilitating themselves from a back injury or surgery. Remember though, before you begin any exercise routine or, if you feel any pain associated with the exercise or it’s movements (other than the contraction of the muscle) stop immediately and consult your physician.

Another bonus to this exercise is muscle balance. When you work a muscle, or group of muscles, in the front of your body, in order to maintain  muscle balance, you should work the opposing  muscle, or group of muscles.  Simply put, if you do a bench press, make sure to do some rows. Since so many people are out there do a ton of crunches in efforts to obtain that six pack they’ve set their sights on…it might be a good idea to throw in some supermans to strengthen the lower back and help with muscle balance. Just a thought. You’re welcome. Okay, let’s get started!

Superman Exercise How To:

  • Lay flat on your stomach with your arms straight out in front of you and your legs straight out behind you. Keep your arms and legs shoulder-width apart  throughout the entire exercise.
  • Lift your legs and arms, at the same time, as high as you can off the ground. Make sure to control each movement nice and slow to prevent pulling any muscles.
  • If you’re new to exercise, try alternately lifting your arms and legs one at a time. For example, lift your left leg with your right arm, and then lower them. Switch to your right leg and left arm.
  • Repeat the lifts 15 times. As you get stronger, you can begin to hold at the top of the last repetition. Doing this will give you better results than just repeatedly raising and lowering your legs. Do 3 sets of 15 lifts if you’re just starting out. As you become more comfortable with the exercise and continue to increase your strength, you can add more sets, increase the repetitions and add holds.

This exercise is one of my youngest’s favorites! The coach at his previous elementary school would have them do this exercise while taking them on a tour of a city, as though they were flying over it just like Superman. He’d have them flying along and then all of a sudden shout out, “Oh no! There’s a building straight ahead! Turn right so you don’t crash into it!” That must have been a sight to see! 30 Kindergartners on the floor veering right! Good job Mr. B! Way to make exercise fun for everyone! 🙂

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