To carry on, …, and keep goin’
I’m probably guilty of it just as much as anyone else. I try to incorporate exercises that work parts of our body that we neglect but I too sometimes forget about the lower back. I’d think it’s a safe bet to say most of us don’t exercise our lower back. When was the last time you did supermans? That long ago eh.
And I’m also going to say if you did them you probably did them incorrectly. Some of us when we exercise want to go full in, are not happy with small subtle movements. That’s primarily the problem when people do supermans, they want to put too much into it that they end up not even building the muscles they are trying to build. Let me explain.
Supermans is an exercise that everyone should be doing. Supermans targets the erector spinae, a group of muscles that extend from the base of the skull to the sacrum. Sitting a lot? Having back issues once in a while? Posture not that great? Been neglecting the lower back? Then supermans is what you need. A strong core is not only the abs, but also the back.
I think we know the exercise supermans. It’s done how it sounds. Lay on the floor and project your body just like superman flying about, arms, legs out like you are flying ready to save the world! Right? Not really. It’s more sublime than that unless you have been doing them for a long time and have mastered not letting your body engage your glutes because that’s what the body wants to do. That’s the hard part, easing into it so the glutes don’t end up taking over.
But who doesn’t want to look cool, arms out in front, legs up off of the ground. The problem is when you put your core into a situation where there is a large load, muscles kick in to help you support that load. Muscles such as the glutes, and abdominals. But we want to work the lower back, not these muscles. And being honest with you, the way I want you to do them actually looks quite silly. But, it’s a great way to learn how to engage your lower back and not the glutes.
Here we go. Laying on your stomach, I want you to put your hands under your chin. Now, staying really relaxed, concentrating on your lower back, with your hands under you chin, touching your chin, raise your head up from the floor about 2 to 4 inches. Do it slowly constantly thinking of your lower back doing the work, not your glutes. Hold for about 30 seconds to a minute. Relax for about a minute then repeat, relax again and repeat again. Did it work? Did your lower back do the work and told your glutes to eff off? No? Then try again. Actively think of the lower back engaging and actively think of the glutes staying relaxed. It takes time so keep trying and don’t give up. You will get there.
That’s it! It’s that simple!
Ok, not really. It’s hard to get your lower back to do the work and stop your stupid glutes from wanting to take over. But doing it this way keeps the load light and makes it easier to do the exercise properly. Once you get really good at this you can then actually do the exercise while looking like a proper superman, or superwoman, superman’s cousin.
You’ll hate doing it this way, looking all silly and stuff. I know, believe me. Whenever I have my class do this exercise I have to tell them over and over to keep their feet on the ground, and the looks I get, man lasers burning holes in me. Everyone wants to jut their arms out in front, get their feet up off of the ground but you can’t do it this way. When I see this I know everyone just engaged their glutes and their lower backs aren’t doing anything.
So don’t do that. You’re not benefiting by doing the exercise incorrectly.
Be a real superman, or superwoman and build that lower back properly!
Yours in health,