Shari Duncan

Fly Like Superman… and Strengthen a Weakened Low Back
Shari

by on Jun.05, 2010, under Fitness, Stretching / Flexibility

One of the best back exercises to strengthen low back muscles is the Superman.

Whether you suffer from chronic low back pain or want to strengthen a weakened low back, the “superman” pose is an exercise that should be included in your workout.  Although, it primarily focuses on the low back, the movement will also help in developing a strong core and glutes. This pose can be part of your warm-up, integrated into your core/back workout

Keeping arms outstretched and feet flex, aim to hold the pose for as long as possible.

Keeping arms outstretched and feet flex, aim to hold the pose for as long as possible.

routine, or included as part of your stretch at the end of your training session.

To perform the Superman, lay on your stomach on an exercise mat. Place arms overhead, fully extended. Keeping your head in a neutral position, flex your feet. (Toes toward shins – Don’t point them)  This foot position keeps the focus on the glutes and lower back and not the hamstrings.  Simultaneously, raise your arms, legs and chest holding the contraction for 2 seconds. Lower and repeat 10-15 times. Complete 3 -4 sets.

Your goal should be to work up to holding the “flying” position as long as possible.

ALTERNATE SUPERMAN VARIATION:

If you find it difficult to perform the movement as described above, try the crisscross variation. In the same start position, first raise just the right arm and left leg, again holding the contraction for at least 2 seconds.  Repeat with left arm / right leg –  again aiming for 10-15 repetitions on each side.

As you gain strength, increase the length of time you hold the position and the number of repetitions. As your conditioning improves, you should also find that you will be able to rise higher and most importantly your low back pain level will decrease.Alternate Superman

The Straight Superman is another variation where you extend your arms straight down along your side. Slowly raise your legs and trunk as far as you can, making a “Bow” with your body. Try to hold this pose for a 10 count.  Slowly release and repeat for desired number of repetitions.

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