Superman Lifts

How To Do Superman Lifts For Powerful Lower Back

Want to try something new and exciting that will make you feel like a superhero? Well, have you heard of the Superman Lifts exercise?

As the name suggests, this move is inspired by the Man of Steel himself and is designed to target your lower back muscles.

Don’t let the name fool you though. It’s one of the easiest beginner friendly calisthenics skills.

It is also known as superman extensions or back extensions.

How To Do Superman Lifts


Lay on the floor on your belly. Your arms should be straight above your head and your legs straight.

Upward movement:

Lift your arms and your legs off the ground by arching your back. Do this move slowly. Don’t use momentum.

Downward movement:

To lower back down slowly lower your arms and your legs back to the floor.

Do these moves for reps.

When you are able to do 8-10 superman lifts in 3 sets it’s time to try the next move in the progression.


Make sure to use the proper form and do a warm up before you start the workout. Using proper form and warming up will ensure a safe workout.

Superman lifts benefits

Superman lifts are an easy skill that comes with several main benefits:

  • Improved lower back strength: When doing superman lifts main muscles that are doing the most work are your lower back muscles. So, doing this move will improve the strength of your lower back.
  • Better posture: Muscles responsible for your spine stability will get stronger by doing superman lifts. This will improve your posture.
  • Improved spine flexibility: Because you are arching your back when doing this move you are slowly improving the flexibility of your spine.
  • Improved athletic performance: Improved strength and flexibility of your core will help you with overall athletic performance regardless of the sport you play.


Superman lifts are convenient because you won’t need any special equipment to do them. But, if you want to lay on a soft surface you may like to have an exercise mat. This is not crucial and you can surely do well without it. But, it’s more convenient laying on a soft surface instead of a hard one.

Superman lifts exercise equipment:

  • Exercise mat (optional)

Superman lifts exercise – muscles worked

Superman Lifts
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

This skill is used to work your lower back muscles. Those muscles provide stability for your spine. The other muscles will help with the move, but the primary movers are muscles around your spine.

Superman lifts exercise muscles worked:


  • Spinal erectors


  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abs
  • Traps
  • Rear delts

Superman lifts prerequisites

Because this is an easy skill there are no actual prerequisites for this move. But, you will benefit by first doing the easier moves in back lever progression.

There are also two glute bridge exercises found at the very beginning of a pistol squat progression that will be useful to do before superman lifts. Those moves will help you build basic core and glute strength. Both will be useful to pull off superman lifts with ease.

Another thing to remember is to always do a proper warm up before the main part of the workout. Warming up will help you increase the blood flow and make you more alert for the workout that follows. This reduces the risk of injury. That’s why you should never skip a warm up.

Common mistakes

Mistake 1 – Raising your arms and legs too high


To do superman lifts correctly and safely, lifting your arms and legs just a few inches off the floor is all it takes. It may be tempting to raise your arms and legs as high as possible to increase the intensity and challenge yourself. But beware. If you go too far, you may injure yourself.


To avoid injury lift your arms and legs just a few inches off the ground. Check the video above to see how much you should raise your legs and arms. To be able to see how you are doing, move near the mirror or record yourself.

Mistake 2 – Holding your breath


In any move you do, you should always breathe. People will tend to hold their breath if any skill seems hard to do. Breathe in as you lift up and breathe out when you lower down.


The first thing is noticing you are holding your breath. If you just think about your breathing you will notice this is what’s happening. It’s easy to correct this mistake once you know you are doing it. Just breathe in on your way up and breathe out on your way down. That’s all it takes.

Mistake 3 – Using momentum for lifting your arms and legs


In some cases, people may use momentum to lift their arms and legs off the floor. This is usually due to a lack of strength. The other reason may be because they are not aware of doing this. In either case, this will reduce the benefits of this move and increase the risk of injury.


Concentrate on raising your legs and arms slowly off the ground and slowly lowering them down. This will help you avoid this mistake.


Superman lifts are one of the easy moves. This means, only a handful of skills are easier to do. So, the selection of easier skills is limited. Here are a few moves you can try if superman lifts are too hard for you:

If superman lifts are getting too easy for you, you can try something harder. This is especially true if you can do more than 15 reps in 3 sets. If you can, you are no longer working on strength. You are working on endurance. Here is the selection of harder moves you can try:

Key takeaways

Superman lifts are an easy skill used to work your lower back muscles. To improve your posture and reduce back pain, do superman lifts regularly.

This move is part of a back lever progression. Skills found in this progression will help you build a strong back.

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