Core Exercise - Alternating Superman Exercise

How the Alternating Superman Core Exercise Builds Abdominal Strength

An exercise mat is all you need for this exercise.
An exercise mat is all you need for this exercise. Jamie Grill/Getty Images

The alternating superman exercise is one of the most popular ab exercises. It has been known to increase ab strength and can be an important part of a regular core strength regimen. The flexibility and ease of the exercise can also help you work smaller ab muscles that the usual core exercises do not. Here's how to do the alternating superman exercise:

  • Lie face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like superman)
  • Raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches off the ground (or as far as you comfortably can).
  • Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Avoid These Common Ab Exercise Mistakes

Because of the simplicity of the exercise, many mistakes are made doing this exercise, here are the most common mistakes made and how you can avoid them.

  • Bending the Arms or Legs - Be sure when raising your feet and arm that you raise them parallel to the floor. Keep your arm and leg straight and avoid bending at the knee or elbow.
  • Not Holding the Position - It's imperative to the exercise that you hold the position at the top of the repetition. That is, when you raise your alternating arm and leg, you must hold the position to do the work properly. You should feel the side and lower back contract. You may not feel this if you don't hold the position properly.
  • Holding Your Breath - Being face down may prevent you from breathing as you normally would during exercise, but as you may know, you must breathe to bring oxygen to your muscles. What's more, breathing helps stabilize the core and maximize the results of the exercise.
  • Off-Center Alignment - You should be able to draw a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your mat. Your body should be balanced while lying down so that each side of you is doing equal work. Be sure you are not off-center as this will create strain on your back, rather than promote core strength.
  • Pointing the Foot - While it may come naturally during this exercise, avoid pointing the foot when you raise them. This will take the focus off of the core and distribute the focus to your legs. By keeping the foot perpendicular to the floor, you keep the work in your core, and get a better muscle contraction in the focus area.

Don't cheat this great core exercise. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve core strength in the lower back and obliques.

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