A strong core is essential for any type of movement, so building it through a variety of ab-focused exercises will target not only your six-pack, but all other core muscles as well.
For a bodyweight move that excites your core and challenges your balance at the same time, you need to meet Superman.
“Superman planks give you the benefit of a classic plank move while strengthening the core muscles of your back,” says Trevor Thimay, CSCS, Beachbody’s senior director of fitness and nutrition content. “It can help reduce muscle imbalances, reduce your risk of back pain, and even improve your posture.”
Superman Plank: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Start in a high plank, arms straight, wrists aligned under shoulders, feet shoulder distance or slightly wider for better balance.
- Keep your back completely flat and engage your core so your lower back doesn’t sag.
- Extend your right arm forward while lifting your left leg back. Hold for two to five seconds, then lower your arms and legs back down.
- Switch sides to extend your left arm forward and lift your right leg up and back. Hold again, then switch.
- Remember to keep your active arms and legs parallel to the floor. Trying to raise them above parallel often causes the hips to sink downward, which puts pressure on the lower back.
How to make superman planks easier
If you find it challenging to hold Superman for more than a few seconds, there are a few tricks to making that long hold:
- Try the bird dog exercise: Instead of starting the movement from your toes, start on your knees and then extend your opposite arm and leg from that position. When you can hold it for more than five seconds, lift the knees with the legs still bent.
- If you’re comfortable holding a plank, modify the Superman move by lifting your arms or legs one at a time, not simultaneously.
How to Make Superman Planks Stiffer
If you can hold Superman planks for more than five seconds, try these variations to kick it up a notch:
- Stay longer while maintaining your form.
- Add a cross body crunch by bringing your floating arms to meet your floating knees.
What muscles does the Superman Plank work?
Since you start in a standard high plank pose, you’re already activating your core muscles—your body is working to keep you properly aligned.
So, all your core muscles are firing as you go through the sequence:
- Transverse Abdominus (deep abs that help stabilize the spine)
- Rectus Abdominus (Your Six Pack)
- Erector spinal (long muscles along your spine)