Lie face down on the floor with your arms out stretched over your head, thumbs pointing up towards the ceiling. Position your legs hips width apart with your toes pointing away from your body so that your laces are positioned towards the floor. Make sure your eyes are looking at the floor with your chin slightly tucked under. You should feel that the back of your neck is elongated. Engage your inner unit and carefully rotate your pelvis so that your lower back has slightly flattened. If you feel any discomfort in your lower back, please place a cushion underneath your stomach, if the pain persists please stop this exercise and continue with lower intensity inner unit exercises (such as the 4-point horse stance).
Take a diaphragmatic inhalation and as you exhale lift your right arm and left leg off the floor. Feel your right shoulder blade move down towards your spine and make sure your shoulder remains away from your ear. At the same time engage your glute muscle, feeling your bottom tighten. Lower your arm and leg back to the floor and repeat lifting the left arm and right leg. Continue lifting alternate arm and leg.
Inhale: As you lower arm/leg to the floor
Exhale: As you lift arm/leg off the floor
The prone superman is a safe and effective exercise for training the extensor muscles of the superficial back line. It is particularly useful for people who find spinal extension painful as this exercise strengthens the erector spinae, gluteals & hamstrings with little pressure placed on the inter-vertebral discs.
Lisa Fotheringham, Personal Trainer, Caversham Health & Fitness
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