Superman Pose

woman doing Superman yoga pose

Written by:

Joanne Highland

Edited & fact checked by:

Jagpreet Kaur

Published Date:

Estimated reading time:

Superman Pose

Key Takeaway

Superman Pose, a dynamic back-strengthening asana, enhances core stability, balance, and posture, making it a valuable addition to any yoga practice.

Alternate name:Viparita Shalabhasana
Difficulty level:Beginner
Pose category:Prone backbend
Muscle groups:Erector Spinae (Back)
Gluteus Maximus (Buttocks)
Hamstrings (Back of Thighs)
Deltoids (Shoulders)
Trapezius (Upper Back)
Latissimus Dorsi (Mid-Back)
Rhomboids (Upper Back)
Rectus Abdominis (Abdomen)
Obliques (Sides of the Abdomen)
Physical benefits:Strengthens core and back muscles; improves balance and posture.
Therapeutic applications:Back pain, Posture improvement
Preparatory poses:Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Counterposes that follow well:Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Knees Into Chest (Apanasana)
Chakras activated:Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Most helpful prop:Manduka Yoga Cork Block - Yoga Prop and Accessory, Good for Travel, Comfortable Edges, Lightweight,...
Yoga block under forehead - supports neck, maintains alignment.

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Superman Pose is a widely practiced yoga asana that benefits people at all skill levels. It helps strengthen the core and back and improves balance and posture! More than just an exercise, Superman Pose is a path towards better fitness and health. 

This super-strengthening posture is named for its appearance, resembling the classic superhero soaring through the air. You might encounter this pose in any standard yoga class or as part of a specific sequence of yoga poses called Padma Sadhana. 

Mastering this pose can be challenging, but its enhanced flexibility and strength make it worth the effort! Incorporating Superman Pose into your regular yoga routine can transform your practice. So why wait? 

Keep reading as we delve deeper into understanding this dynamic posture! We’ll explore its benefits and provide tips on correctly executing Superman to get the most out of this fantastic asana.

Watch our recommended steps for entering, holding, and exiting the pose.

Benefits of Superman Pose

Superman Pose is significant in the vast library of yoga poses as an excellent back-strengthening posture. This simple yet challenging asana targets the upper and lower back muscles while promoting core stability. 

Enhances Flexibility and Strength

Adding this powerful pose to your yoga practice can improve flexibility throughout your entire body. When you practice Superman Pose, you will strengthen the entire back side of your body and the surrounding muscles as you gradually lift your arms and legs off the ground.

Develops Better Balance 

In addition to building strength, regularly practicing Superman Pose can also improve your balance. By maintaining this challenging stance with straight legs, you develop better overall physical equilibrium that carries over to other poses.

Promotes Core Stability

Not only is Superman Pose a great stretch, but it also tones your core muscles. Lifting and holding your limbs a few inches above the floor activates the deep abdominal muscles around the belly button area, providing spinal support. Developing this strong foundation in your torso keeps your back strong and healthy. 

Improves Posture

When practiced correctly with proper alignment, Superman can help correct postural imbalances. Due to a sedentary lifestyle, many people suffer from poor posture and neck and back pain. Superman Pose brings the body into spinal extension, counteracting the effects of many hours of sitting hunched over at a desk.

The emphasis on maintaining optimal spinal alignment makes Superman Pose an effective tool for improving posture, especially for individuals recovering from back injury or spinal surgery. However, if you’ve experienced any recent injury, please consult a medical professional before attempting Superman Pose alone! 

How to Do Superman Pose

Superman Pose will be a wonderfully practical addition to your fitness routine to strengthen your lower and upper back. Find a comfortable space to stretch out without obstructions, and grab your trusty yoga mat. Now, you’re ready to follow these step-by-step instructions! 

Step 1: Assume the Starting Position

Get into the starting position by lying face down on your mat. Reach your arms in front of you with your legs extended straight behind you. Place the tops of your feet on the floor, with your legs separated at a hip-width distance. 

Step 2: Core Activation

Activate your core muscles by pulling your navel in and up. Imagine your abdominal muscles hugging your spine from the inside. 

Step 3: Elevate Arms and Legs

Lift both your arms and legs off the ground simultaneously in one motion while keeping the hips grounded. Focus on controlled and mindful movement rather than trying to lift your limbs in a rapid or sudden action. 

Draw your shoulder blades down and across your back to make space between your shoulders and ears. Squeeze your glutes to keep your legs elevated, and pull up on your kneecaps to engage your quad muscles without bending your knees. 

Tips for Mastering Superman Pose

Proper execution of Superman Pose requires strength, balance, and concentration. Practice regularly and focus on developing these critical elements over time.

Here are some tips to help you master this excellent back-strengthening posture.

Lift Your Body Parts Slowly

When entering Superman Pose, avoid rushing through it. Slowly lift your arms and legs with control as you inhale, using your breath as your guide to move slowly. This mindful movement will effectively strengthen the upper and lower back muscles without putting unnecessary strain on them.

Engage Your Abdominal Muscles

Your core strength plays a vital role in maintaining stability during this pose. By engaging your core correctly, you can gradually increase the time you can hold the pose. Adding Superman to your rotation of core exercises will improve your balance and enhance all other types of physical activity!

Breathe Deeply

Taking deep breaths allows for better oxygen flow throughout your body, which enhances muscle performance during each phase of movement in this pose. Keep your breath flowing evenly and steadily throughout each step. 

Start with Shorter Holds

To safely build up strength in mastering the Superman Pose, begin with shorter holds initially. As you gradually become stronger, increase the duration of each hold. This way, you can progress without straining yourself along the way.

Incorporating Superman into Routine

You can seamlessly incorporate the Superman exercise into various routines – within intense flow sessions focusing primarily on core exercises, gentle stretch sequences targeting lower back pain relief, or upper back strengthening series. Within the entire yoga pose library, it’s a versatile posture will benefit your practice in so many ways! 

Common Mistakes in Superman Pose

At first glance, Superman appears to be a relatively simple asana. However, it’s not uncommon for people to make mistakes when attempting this yoga posture.

Mistake 1: Lifting Too High

One common error during Superman is when yogis lift their upper body too high off the ground while entering the pose. This extreme action can strain or injure the lower back instead of strengthening it.

It’s important to slightly lift your legs from the ground without overdoing it. Focus on maintaining control rather than pushing for extreme heights to help you maintain proper form and reduce the risk of injuries during your fitness routine.

With consistent practice, you’ll develop the strength and mobility required to take your Superman pose to new heights! 

Mistake 2: Neglecting Neck Alignment

Maintaining a neutral neck position is paramount for all asanas in our yoga pose library. Unfortunately, many new yoga students overlook neck alignment, leading to discomfort or potential harm.

To ensure proper neck alignment in Superman Pose:

  • As your upper body lifts off the floor, avoid looking straight ahead, which will compress the back of your neck. Maintain your gaze, looking at the ground slightly in front of you, with your ears in between your biceps.
  • Think about reaching the crown of your head forward and slightly up to maintain the length in your spine.

Modifications for Superman Pose

Now, let’s talk about modifications for the Superman pose. This powerful yoga posture is known for strengthening your back muscles and improving core stability. It can be challenging, but with some adjustments tailored to your needs and abilities, you’ll soon master it.

Modification #1: Extra Padding

Firstly, any yoga pose – including the Superman exercise – requires a good-quality yoga mat. Practicing on a thicker mat will provide more comfort, especially if you have sensitive joints. If you still need more padding, place a folded blanket (such as this one) on top of your mat as you set up. 

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Modification #2: Head and Neck Support

If you find it challenging to keep your head lifted or are recovering from a recent neck injury, using yoga props will ensure you can still practice Superman Pose safely. Place a yoga block or bolster in front of you and let your forehead rest on your prop of choice. This way, you can strengthen your back body without straining your neck muscles.

Modification #3: One Leg at a Time

Sometimes, keeping both legs straight while lifting them off the ground can be challenging due to strength limitations or balance issues. If this applies to you, simply adjust by lifting one leg at a time until you develop enough strength.

image 1 8

Modification #4: Arm Position

In the traditional version of the Superman exercise, the arms extend forward, which may feel difficult for those with shoulder issues or limited mobility.

An alternative approach is to place your hands along the sides of your body, palms facing downwards, while carefully lifting your upper torso (be mindful to avoid putting strain on your neck muscles as you lift). This modification still targets the abdominal and upper back muscles while making the pose accessible for those with limited mobility in the shoulder joint. 

Taking Care of Your Body

Always prioritize what works best for you as an individual — not everyone’s body nor personal yoga practice is the same as the next. Pay attention to your body’s signals when engaging in any fitness routine. Whether using props or adjusting the position of your body, there are many ways to make this pose accessible to you! 

Remember, consistency is crucial, and it’s better to make steady progress than to rush things. Listen to your body and make modifications that work best for you as you practice Superman.

Teaching Superman Pose

Teaching Superman Pose can be both exciting and challenging. Like all yoga postures, it requires careful guidance to ensure students perform it correctly.

Here are some effective teaching cues for Superman Pose:

  • Remind your students to connect with their breath to move mindfully as they slowly lift into the pose.
  • To cue core engagement, tell students to pull their belly button towards their spine as they lift into Superman.
  • Emphasize proper alignment: Remind them to look down at the floor instead of straining their neck upwards during the posture.
  • Offer modifications if necessary: If someone has had spinal surgery or is new to this pose and finds it challenging to extend fully, suggest doing a half Superman (lifting only one arm and opposite leg) before gradually progressing to the full expression of the pose. Safety is always a priority!

Teaching involves demonstrating and guiding students through each step, ensuring they maintain correct form, breathing technique, and safety. It’s about more than just performing movements — it’s about developing self-awareness of one’s body.

Preparatory Poses

Superman is an excellent addition to your repertoire of yoga poses but may strain your back if you’re not adequately warmed up. To ensure you’re fully prepared for this challenging yoga pose, here are the best preparatory poses to practice beforehand.

Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

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Before attempting any spinal extension or back-strengthening pose, it is essential to warm up your back muscles and spine. Cat Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana Bitilasana) offers similar benefits through its dynamic sequence of arching and curving the spine alternatively. This movement promotes flexibility and provides a great way to relax those tense core muscles.

Start by positioning yourself neutrally on all fours to perform this exercise smoothly. Then, alternate between pulling your belly button towards your spine (like a cat stretching its arched back) and pushing your belly downwards while lifting your head and tailbone upwards (like cows looking up at the sky). Refer to The Yoga Nomad’s comprehensive sequencing guide for more detailed instructions on these movements.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

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Also known as Bhujangasana in Sanskrit, Cobra Pose effectively strengthens the spine while opening your chest and expanding your lungs. Your hands remain pressing into the floor as your upper body lifts, giving you extra support and stability as you engage your back muscles. Thus, it is an excellent preparation for the Superman exercise.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana)

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Another step towards mastering Superman is Salabhasana or Locust Pose. While it closely resembles Superman, there are key differences: your arms reach behind you, palms facing down, and your legs stay grounded with the tops of your feet pressing into the floor. It requires a bit less spinal flexibility and focuses mainly on the back muscles, making it a perfect stepping stone as you build up strength to soar into Superman. 

Counter Poses

After practicing Superman Pose, it’s essential to maintain balance and symmetry by incorporating counter poses that offer relief to your upper and lower back.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

pexels elina fairytale 3822164

One effective counterpose to follow the Superman exercise is called Balasana or Child’s Pose. This position provides a restorative stretch that relaxes the muscles of your back. 

To perform this rejuvenating stretch:

Start sitting on your heels, then gently bend forward until your forehead touches the mat. Extend your arms ahead of you or alongside your body while keeping your knees hip-width apart. Stay in this pose for at least 30 seconds, taking deep breaths as you do so.

For more information on how Balasana can assist with spinal support after practicing Superman Pose, refer to The Yoga Nomads guide here.

Knees Into Chest (Apanasana)

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After poses like Superman that require significant back strength combined with spinal extension, this simple pose will bring your spine back into a neutral position while releasing your lower back. 

Lie flat on your back on your mat and lift your feet, bringing your knees in towards your chest. Place one hand on each shin and hold for a few deep breaths. Then, release and extend your legs straight along the floor in Savasana, or Corpse Pose.

Superman Pose FAQs

What is Superman Pose good for?

This asana strengthens the entire back side of the body, including the leg muscles, glutes, lower back, and muscles along the spine. It also enhances balance and flexibility while promoting better posture.

Are there psychological benefits from Superman pose?

Regularly practicing Superman can boost confidence by making you feel powerful. Embodying a robust and assertive stance like Superman Pose helps foster feelings of self-assuredness and determination.

Is Superman Pose yoga?

Yes, it’s a popular yoga asana that focuses on strength-building in crucial areas such as the core, lower back, and shoulders. You’ll find it included in a traditional sequence of yoga poses called Padma Sadhana.  

Final Thoughts

Mastering the Superman pose is a journey of strength, balance, and flexibility and can be your secret weapon for improved fitness. The power lies in consistency and practice. If you’re ready to take your yoga routine up a notch, consider soaring into poses like Superman!

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