Muscles Targeted: The execution of lying back presses (also called “Supermans”) involves the contraction and direct movement from the quadratus lumborum or more commonly known as the lower back muscles of the lumbar spine. More importantly the erector spinae, which is the main muscle group responsible for keeping the spine erect also contributes into keeping the movement controlled. The latissimus dorsi or upper back muscles are also a key muscle group that keeps the movement of the lying back press more stable and it additionally helps the entire back throughout the movement. Helping in further stability and control are the gluteus medius and hamstring muscles which improves movement execution as the lower extremities keep the exercise in better balance.
Exercise Instructions: Lie flat on your stomach onto a mat on the floor with your legs out straight and your arms outstretched over your head, parallel to the floor. To perform this exercise, simultaneously bring both of your hands up toward the ceiling as high as you can go while bringing your feet up off the ground as well. Imagine that your body is nearly forming the letter ‘U’ and you are flying like Superman!
Why This Exercise is Important: Due to the growing number of individuals experiencing lower back pain, lying back presses are the best option to start increasing lower back strength, flexibility as well as stability. It is an important exercise that gradually shows improvements and development for the lower back muscles. It is specially intended for individuals who cannot afford a gym membership, or are just beginning a workout routine. Another important aspect to the lying back press is the increase in flexibility it contributes for the muscles of the back which aids in better overall movement of the torso for daily activities.
Things To Avoid: Upon performing the lying back press be careful and avoid the overexertion of the spine. This is highly possible especially when the movement is not carefully and gradually executed. Avoid sudden jerking movements as this is the major cause of the spine’s overextension during the exercise. Also avoid quick and uncontrolled lifting of the shoulders, chest and legs, so make sure that the entire body moves in coordination all at the same time with enough control. Additionally, avoid flailing your arms and legs during the lying back press as it provides unnecessary movement that can cause the spine to have an imbalanced contraction and extension.
Reps and Sets: When performing lying back presses for the first time, familiarity of the movement is very important. Starting with a routine of 10 to 15 repetitions of 2 to 3 sets, beginners can expect improvements and an increase in lower back strength, stability and flexibility. In order to place further challenge to the lower back through the lying back press, repetitions and sets can be increased up to 18-20 reps and 3-5 sets respectively. Each repetition can also be held into position for at least 2 to 3 seconds for additional resistance and improved lower back strength throughout the full muscle contraction.
Other Exercises To Use: In order to further improve the strength and integrity of the lower back muscles it is important to include the lying back press with other exercises and movements specific for it. Adding Hyperextensions, Smith Machine Romanian Deadlifts and Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts to lying back presses is a great overall program that will help develop and strengthen the quadratus lumborum, hamstring and gluteus medius. Plus improvements to the stability of the erectus spinae and latissimus dorsi will also become better when this exercise routine is followed regularly. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the back.