There are many muscles in your back but it is usually divided into two regions: upper and lower. Many people struggle with problems that stem from weak back muscles, including bad posture and lower back pain. The superman exercise is a move that works both the main upper and lower back muscles -- and the only equipment you need is the floor.
Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched out overhead and your legs straight. This is the starting position.
Engage back muscles. Exhale and simultaneously lift your legs and chest off of the floor. Your arms should still be stretched out overhead; imagine you are superman flying through the air.
Keep your chest and legs lifted for 10 to 30 seconds and hold muscle contraction. If you find it too challenging to hold the position, do 10 repetitions with a pause at the top of each one.
Return to starting position. Slowly lower all parts of your body back down to the floor. Be sure to keep your movements controlled and avoid flopping down.
Repeat as desired. Do two or three more sets of holds or repetitions and work your way up to more as your strength increases.
- If you find it is too difficult to lift both your chest and legs off the ground at the same time, try doing an alternating superman. Simply lift one arm and its opposite leg at the same time, keeping the other arm and leg on the ground for stability. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then switch and repeat.
- If you find this too easy, hold on to some light dumbbells to add resistance as you lift your chest and arms off the floor.
- If back muscle strength gets out of balance with abdominal strength it can cause problems. Work abdominals as well to act as a counterbalance to back muscles and prevent lower back pain and bad posture.
Jilana Dennis is a health and fitness writer based out of San Antonio, Texas. Dennis is a nationally certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise and holds a B.S in exercise science from Illinois State University.