How To Do Superman

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating Supermans


Superman is an exercise that strengthens the muscles on your back side, especially your low back. It also helps strengthen and core muscles and teaches your body to stabilize.

During this exercise you learn how to pull the muscles of the core in so tightly that you are stable in the middle despite the fact that your arms and legs are lifting up and down.

If you learn how to do Superman you will likely feel sore in your lower back the next day. Don’t be concerned. The lower back muscles are underused in our workout life. It is important that strengthening your core includes not just your abdominals, but also your lower back. However, during this exercise it is important to pull your abdominals in for stability.

Back pain is a big problem in the United States. According to the Mayo Clinic back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work and a leading cause of disability worldwide. Working on core strength and strengthening the muscles of the lower back is important to help lessen the chance that back pain will interrupt your life. Superman is one of those strengthening exercises!

Place yourself face down on the mat for this exercise. You will end up lifting your hands and feet off the floor using the strength of the back. Remember not to crane your neck or lift your chin. Keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine and lift from your heart instead.

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    How To Do Superman

    Here are the steps for performing Superman:

    1) Lie down on stomach with arms and legs long. Draw abdominals up and away from the mat and pull shoulders down away from ears.

    2) Squeeze abs, back muscles and glutes to lift arms and legs off the mat.  Release to start position with control.

    What Muscles Does Superman Work?

    Superman strengthens your entire core specifically targeting your back extensors. With nearly 80% of the U.S. population reporting some type of back pain during their life, it is critical to maintain a strong core and back for the health of your entire body. Superman is a great way to do this!

    Benefits of Superman

    There are many reasons you should incorporate superman into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Strengthens Lower Back

    Superman is definitely a way to strengthen your low back. The motion of superman activates the muscles of the lower back and keeps them pulled in and working to get stronger.

    Strengthens Glutes

    Superman focuses on your lower back and core, but it is also a strength move for your glutes. Tighten your glutes as you perform superman and keep them pulled tight the entire time.

    Improves Core Strength and Stability

    Superman is definitely a way to strengthen your low back. Superman is a great core move! It targets your hips, core and all stabilizer muscles. It challenges your entire center by requiring these stabilizers to activate and work.

    How Many Calories Does Superman Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at higher intensity.

    Superman is not meant to be a big calorie burning exercise. Of course, you will burn calories while holding a superman. However, focus more on the results of a strong core and back.

    Other Exercises Similar to Superman

    If you like the superman and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

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    Incorporating Superman Into Your Workouts

    Superman is a great exercise to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate it into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use Superman In A Core Body Workout

    Working on core strength is the foundation for all other workouts! If your core is strong your other movement will be more efficient and you will have fewer injuries. This is a great core strength and low back workout for you to try including superman as an exercise.

    Core Strength and Stability Workout: Go through each move below with no break in between. Some things you will do for the number of repetitions listed and some things will be held for specific amounts of time. It is a great combination of isometrics and dynamic movements.

    Inchworm: Warm up with inchworm 4-5 times

    Push-Up to Side Plank: 8 total; 4 per side

    Superman: 5 reps

    Full-Body Roll-Ups: 5 times

    Side Plank Scoops: 8 per side

    Double Leg Stretch: 8 times

    Use Superman In Your Full Body Strength Workout

    Full body workouts are a sure way to make the most of your time. However, sometimes in the midst of a hard-core workout the core and low back are pushed to the side. Don’t do it! Keep them as part of your entire body workout plan! In one workout you can strengthen all your major muscle groups, including your lower back, and, if you multi-task just a bit, you can also get your heart rate up and burn a little fat along the way. This next workout gets it all done and includes superman as well as a bunch of other basic strength moves you’ll love.

    Full Body Strength Workout: Grab a mat and a pair of medium-weight dumbbells. Warm up for about 2-3 minutes then do between 10-15 unless noted for a hold time:

    Squat To Bicep Curl

    Side To Side Squat Swing

    Plank To Upright Row

    Cross Behind Lunge With Lateral Raise

    Tricep Dips

    Single Arm Row (10 each arm)

    Plank: 30 seconds

    Superman: 5 reps slow

    Use Superman In a Cardio Strength Challenge

    Another great way to save time is to blend your cardio and strength moves. By going from one to the other, your heart rate never gets a chance to come down and while you are strengthening your muscles you’re also getting your cardio workout in. Sweet! Check out this no-fuss, no equipment workout that incorporates superman:

    Cardio-Strength-Core In One Workout!

    Jumping Jacks 30 seconds

    Cross Behind Lunge With Lateral Raise– 12 reps

    Skaters 30 seconds

    Squat Knee Lift Bicep Curl – 12 reps

    Burpees 30 seconds

    Push-Up T 12 reps

    Mountain Climbers – 30 seconds

    Superman: 5 reps

    Here are 3 more workouts that focus on core strength:

    10 Best Exercises for Your Bad Back

    6-Minute Yoga For Better Abs

    6 Plank Variations For Awesome Abs

    Targets: core, back

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