The superman exercise is a bodyweight move that targets the posterior core and lower back muscles.

Primary Muscle Back
Secondary Muscle(s) Shoulders, Hamstrings
Difficulty Beginner
Also known as Supermans, Swimmer, Bilateral Superman, Arch-ups
Optional Dumbbells

How to do the Superman Exercise

Many people spend their time sitting down, hunched over, with the spine flexed forward, creating poor posture and back problems.

The superman exercise is an excellent way to balance the negative effects of this environment and extends the back whilst strengthening the muscles for postural alignment, improving mobility.

  1. Lie down on your stomach with the arms extended so that they are parallel to the floor, palms down.
  2. Slowly lift your arms, upper body and legs from the floor and hold the extension for 3-5 seconds. 
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for desired reps. 


  • The hips and stomach should maintain contact with foor at all times. 
  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. 
  • Strongly engage the abdominals and glutes during the movement to protect the back. 
  • Increased strength and flexibility in the lower back and core body muscles.  

Beginning the Superman

An easier variation of the standard superman is to lift only the right arm and left leg from the floor when executing the exercise, and alternating the raised limbs for each repetition (known as alternating superman / contralateral superman). 

Alternatively you can adjust the frequency of repetitions to make the exercise easier;

  • Hold the exercise for 60 seconds per set (rather than intense 3-5 second reps described above).  

Advanced Superman Exercises

When fully competent with the standard superman exercise you can introduce additional resistance to the exercise to increase intensity. Ankle / wrist weights are useful for this, or by simply holding dumbbells. 


Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.