If you are interested in strengthening your erector spinae muscles and other surrounding muscles, then the superman planks is the way to go. These are exercises that also support your spine, give you a better posture, and reduce the risk of injury.
BENEFITS OF THE SUPERMAN PLANKS
The superman plank exercises provide many benefits. These include:
The superman plank exercises will strengthen the erector spinae muscles which provide support to your entire spine.
Engaging in the superman plank moves improves your posture by strengthening your back muscles which helps prevent postural deviations.
The superman plank exercises guarantee a strong core which is important for reducing strain on the lower back. Failure to check this may lead to pain or injury with time.
STRONGER LEGS AND BUTTOCKS
Apart from targeting your core, the superman plank exercise also targets your glutes and hamstrings.
The superman plank exercise does not require any equipment. This makes it very pocket–friendly for you.
HOW TO DO SUPERMAN PLANK
You may be wondering how to do superman planks properly and safely to ensure you are actually targeting the relevant muscles without hurting yourself.
This move is not complicated and you can try it even today. These are the steps:
Equipment needed: None
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- Lie in a prone position (face down) position, with your legs straight and your arms extended in front of you.
- Keep your head in a neutral position, and slowly lift your arms and legs around six inches off the floor or until you feel your lower back muscles contracting. This exercise engages your glutes, core, and muscles between your shoulder blades at the same time.
- Lift your belly button slightly off the floor to contract your abs.
- Hold this position for 2–3 seconds. Make sure you breathe the whole time.
- Lower your arms, legs, and belly back to the floor. Repeat this exercise for 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps. Avoid lifting your head or over-extending your neck, since that can lead to pain or discomfort.
WHAT MUSCLES DO THE SUPERMAN PLANKS WORK?
Properly worked muscles greatly improve sports performance and general well-being. The superman plank exercises work the following muscles;
FRONT ABDOMINAL MUSCLES
The front abdominal muscles consist of a pair of muscles going down the middle of your abdomen from your ribs to the front of your pelvis.
These muscles are responsible for holding your internal organs in place and keeping your body stable as you move. For those with a firm and fit abdomen, the rectus abdominis may form bumps called ‘six pack’.
LOWER BACK MUSCLES
These muscles include the large paired muscles in the lower back called erector spinae which help support the spine and gluteal muscles. The flexor muscles, which are attached to the spine, also aid in flexing, bending forward, lifting, and arching the lower back.
THE UPPER BACK MUSCLES
The upper back muscles include the spinalis, iliocostalis, and longissimus. These muscles are each divided into three parts that correspond to the part of the back where they are located.
ERECTOR SPINAE MUSCLES
The erector spinae muscles are made up of a group of muscles namely, spinalis, longissimus, iliocostalis. It extends bilaterally from the skull to the sacral region, and one of its main functions is to stabilize the spine.
The superman plank move supports a stronger core which is important for activities of daily living, including bending, squatting and lifting, athletic performance, good posture, and prevention of lower back injury.
COMMON MISTAKES IN SUPERMAN PLANKS
Although the superman plank move is safe for most people, you should avoid the following common mistakes so that you get to target your muscles appropriately devoid of possible injuries:
MOVING TOO QUICKLY
The superman plank move is supposed to be slow and deliberate. Make sure you lift your limbs slowly and hold the position for at least 2–3 seconds before lowering.
FAILING TO BREATHE
It is advisable to breathe throughout the exercise period. This is meant to fuel your muscles with oxygen and stabilize your core. Keep inhaling as you lift and exhale as you lower.
Looking up should be avoided because it puts excess strain on your neck and upper back. Instead, put your neck in a neutral position and your chin slightly tucked.
HYPEREXTENSION OF YOUR LOWER BACK
Avoid overextending your lower back. Just focus on lifting your arms and legs not more than six inches off the floor. Lift through your thoracic spine.
POINTING YOUR TOES
Much as pointing your toes may be tempting, it overworks your legs rather than your back. Instead, keep your toes in a neutral position and just point them slightly.
ALTERNATIVES TO SUPERMAN PLANK
The following alternative exercises will give you similar benefits as the superman plank and may be more accessible if you feel pain in the neck, shoulders or lower back:
BIRD DOG PLANK
The bird dog is an alternative to the superman plank. The following is the procedure of this exercise:
- Start on all fours, aligning your knees with your hips and your shoulders with your hands. Keep your hands in a neutral position.
- Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back while leaving your other arm and leg on the floor for support.
- Hold for 2–3 seconds, then switch sides.
- Perform 10–12 reps on each side.
The cobra is another alternative to the superman plank move. Here is the procedure:
- Start by lying face down, with your feet hip-distance apart and your palms flat by your shoulders. Breathe in.
- Ensure your core is engaged by imagining your belly button being pulled toward your spine. Press into your hands gently to lift your chest off the mat as you breathe out.
- Let your back muscles do most of the work instead of overusing your arms.
- Slowly lower your back with control. Exhale.
Finally, it is interesting to note that the superman plank is an exercise that is rated as an effective and efficient exercise for people of all fitness levels. Adding this exercise to your workout routine will guarantee a super-strong core. Good luck.