Core Exercise – Supermans

Last week, I gave you an abdominal exercise, so this week, we’re going to finish off one whole round of body exercises by working on our lower back muscles.  So, let’s get to it!

Lower Back Muscles

Lower Back MusclesWhen you look at the lower back, what you probably see first is the latissimus dorsi (lats).  However, if you could look under the lat muscles, you’d see the erector spinae muscles.  Actually these muscles form an entire group of muscles which are very strong, in order to maintain posture.  The 4 muscles that fit into this group are the iliocostalis, cervicis, thoracis, and lumborum.   Speaking generally, they run up both sides of the spinal column and extend, flex, and rotate the spinal column.  They originate and insert into different areas, but as a whole, they run from the pelvic bones all the way up to the neck.  Working these muscles is just as important as doing abdominal muscles as both are core muscles that are responsible for proper posture.

The Superman exercise not only works your lower back muscles, but it secondarily works your glutes and hamstrings.

Supermans

If you’ve never heard of this exercise before… NO, I did not make this up.  It’s a real exercise.  They’re pretty difficult to do if you’re not used to them, so you should feel like a super hero after you’ve done a few of them!  So, get on the floor and let’s do give it a try.

superman-exerciseThe starting position is face down on the floor, with your arms on the floor in front of you.  In a controlled manner, arch your back so that your arms and upper body are off the floor simultaneously with your legs.  The only thing touching the ground at this point should be your stomach and hip areas.  Hold this position for at least 2 seconds, longer if you can, then slowly return your arms and legs back to the floor.  Don’t just flop to the floor – lower yourself in a controlled manner.  That’s one rep.  The idea behind the exercise is that you look like you’re flying like Superman when you hit the top of the exercise.  Sounds easy, right?  Uh-huh.  Give it a try and see what you think!

Variations of Supermans

superman_kneesSo, if this is too difficult for you, one variation of this exercise is to raise one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously while still lying flat on the floor.  This is a little easier than trying to lift all four limbs off the ground at once.   Then lower those limbs and work the other two limbs.  That’s one rep.  It takes a little coordination, but you can do it.

Another variation of this exercise, that is similar to the one I just mentioned, is to do this exercise on your hands and knees instead of lying completely flat on the floor.  If it’s painful or uncomfortable for you to lie on your stomach, this is the exercise for you.  Remember to raise one arm and your OPPOSITE leg or you might fall over.  Its difficult to tell in the picture on the left, but she is raising opposite limbs.

superman_on_bosuIf this exercise is too easy for you, try doing it on a Bosu ball.  You really work your entire core muscles when you do this exercise on a ball because you are trying to do the exercise and trying to balance at the same time.  You just have to find the right position on the ball so you don’t tip over while performing the Supermans.

So, that’s it for the core muscles.  It’s also the last exercise in a full-body workout, if you’ve been following along.  So, at this point, you have one exercise for each major muscle group in your body.  If you’ve been following along since the beginning of this blog – congratulate yourself!  Look how much you’ve learned!

If you’re doing a total body workout, I want you to be able to do 3 sets of 10 reps for each of these exercises.  Do one set of each exercise, one body part after the other, and in the order that I gave them to you.  Give yourself a minute of rest, and then do it again.  Rest again, and then do the third and final set.  Then pat yourself on the back and have a healthy snack.  Rest one day, then do it all again the next!

If you want to watch a video of this exercise, click here.  Bodybuilding.com has a lot of great exercise videos.

Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!

Jay Cutler - back

4-time Mr. Olympia winner, Jay Cutler, shows you his tremendous back. You can easily see the erector spinae muscles running up both sides of his spine.

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