How To Do A Superman Plank
Ever wanted to be a Marvel Superhero? Or maybe you just want to learn how to do a Superman Plank.
Then, continue reading …
While the superman plank won’t make you a superhero (sorry to disappoint), it will most certainly make your core as strong as steel, just like Superman himself. And it might just help improve your balance and stability along the way too.
In this article, I break down the following:
- How to do a Superman Plank with Proper Form and Technique
- The 5 Benefits & 5 Variations for Progression
- The Muscles Worked Plus Why It’s Possibly the Best Exercise to Strengthen the Posterior Core Muscles and More.
So let’s get started!
Traditional Planks Vs. Superman Planks: The Added Benefits Of Superman Planks
Move over traditional planks, now there’s something that will make you stronger.
That’s what I said! The superman plank will make you stronger. Actually, far stronger than its predecessor, the traditional plank or basic plank as it’s often referred to.
Now to be fair, the traditional plank does have value, but not nearly as much as the upgraded superman exercise variation, which really ups the ante in the balance and stability category.
Let’s look at its benefits to understand why.
5 Benefits Of This Exercise
- Strengthens Abdominal Muscles and Builds a Strong Core
- Helps Improve Muscle Imbalances
- Reduces Risk of Back Pain and in Some Cases Even Eliminates it
- Improves Stability & Helps Build Better Balance
- Improves Posture
Muscles Worked During The Superman Plank Abs Exercise
By and large, the superman plank is NOT your average bodyweight move. In fact, this complex abdominal torching option is an advanced and highly effective core training exercise.
Actually, the Superman Plank will 10x the workload of your abdominals, deep core and ancillary movers, unlike the standard version.
In a traditional plank, you “post up” on your toes, with your shoulders stacked over your hands forming a straight line between both balance points and that’s it. While this can certainly be enough of a challenge in the beginning, at certain point, you’re going be ready for more.
Enter The Superman Plank! Your Core’s About To Get Lit!
In a superman plank (intermediate version), you “post up” on your toes, with your hands placed significantly farther in front of your shoulders, forming a solid stance between both balance points.
In the advanced version, you “post up” on your toes, with your hands placed significantly farther in front of your shoulders, but, progress the move by simultaneously elevating your opposite arm and opposite leg. Hold. Then switch sides.
Notably, both of these versions activates and engages all of your “deep core muscles” simultaneously, to help stabilize your trunk.
You’ll also notice increased activation of your obliques, shoulders, triceps and even adductors (inner thighs), as they work to stabilize and maintain a neutral and solid position.
Here’s a list of the deep core muscles it activates:
- Rectus Abdominus
- Internal Oblique
- External Oblique
- Transverse Abdominus
- Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Quadaratus Lumborum
- Erector Spinae
Here’s a few of the ancillary movers:
- Shoulders (deltoids)
- Adductors (in the advanced Superman Plank Variation)
Here’s a nifty visual and complete guide of the core muscles brought to you by our friends at Hubpages and The PT Initiative.
The Superman Plank: Proper Form & Technique [Intermediate & Advanced Variations]
Time needed: 2 minutes
Here’s how to do properly do the superman plank exercise.
- Starting position and Abdominal Core Bracing
First, begin in a table top plank position with your hands shoulder distance apart, but keep your knees on the floor. Do not hover. Brace your core by exhaling sharply and then drawing your abdominals in towards your spine. Next, spread your fingers and slowly begin to push your palms into the floor. Resume normal breathing.
- Form a Strict, Standard Plank Position
Second, transition into a standard high plank position by bridging between your palms and toes. Your arms should be extended straight with your shoulders back and down. To clarify, standard plank position will resemble the beginning of a proper pushup. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders and heels. Avoid camel back/sway-back by keeping your spine in a neutral position while clinching your butt cheeks together tightly.
- Superman Plank Position [Intermediate]
Third, progress to the intermediate version by maintaining the standard high plank posture but now with your hands placed significantly farther in front of your shoulders. You should be able to form a solid stance between both balance points a maintain a hold.
- Superman Plank Position [Advanced]
Fourth, progress to the advanced variation by incorporating the movement of opposite arms and opposite legs simultaneously. To clarify, the left arm will raise when the right leg does too. The right arm will raise when the left leg does. Both limbs should be parallel to the floor while maintaining a strong foundation of balance and stability. Hold position and then switch sides.
Superman Plank Progressions: How To Progress This Exercise
Having a tough time executing this move? No problem.
Here’s a few variations you should follow in sequence:
- Traditional Plank aka Basic Plank [Beginner]
- Bird Dog Exercise Over Stability Ball [Beginner]
- Bird Dog [Beginner]
- Superman Plank Hold [Intermediate]
- The Superman Plank [Advanced]
As proven above, the clear winner of “Best Core Strengthening Exercise” is the superman plank, both intermediate and advanced variations. Surely, the traditional plank is a great bodyweight exercise, but it doesn’t hold a candle to its “big brother” where you get the benefit of the classic version, but with increased emphasis of the abs and posterior chain.
In final analysis, DO NOT let superman planks be your shortfall or “kryptonite core exercise”. While they’re certainly not for the faint of heart and your first attempts may prove to be unsuccessful, I implore you to keep at it.
So here’s my best advice… Start slowly and follow the progression sequence listed above. Next, incorporate any and all of variations into your weekly strength training routines as even the most basic versions have value and benefit regardless of where you’re at with your fitness.
Until next time,
Fitness Guy @body360fit
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Additional Learning: Kettlebell Exercises and Kettlebell Training
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