Core Strengthening Essentials for the Virtual Cyclist: The Superman Series

Be a superhero on and off the bike by following this core strengthening progression- the Superman Core Exercise.

Though we often think of our core only in terms of our abs and the muscles in the front of our trunk, it’s actually a complex of forces through the front, sides, and back of your body.

The Superman core exercise engages all of the core muscles, including your obliques and the oft-ignored muscles of your lower back which stabilize your spin and the upper back, shoulders, hamstrings, and glutes.

The Superman core exercise involves lying on the ground and engaging your core to lift your limbs so that you look like you’re flying.

The opposite arm and leg movement makes the Superman an integrative core exercise, which has been determined to be more effective in targeting the core muscles in a recent study, and a critical aspect of athletic and cycling performance.

How to do the Superman Core Exercise

Key Tips for Proper Form

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Prone Alternate Leg

While lying face down and keeping your lower abdominals tight, slowly raise your leg.


Slowly lower and then raise the opposite leg.

Prone Hip Extention with Bent Knee

While lying face down with your knee bent, slowly raise your knee off the ground.


Slowly lower and then raise the opposite leg.

Prone Alternating Arm and Leg

While lying face down and keeping your lower abdominals tight, slowly raise your arm and opposite leg.


Slowly lower and then raise the opposite side.

Prone Superman

While lying face down, slowly raise your arms and legs upward off the ground.


Then lower slowly back to the ground.

Conclusion: The Superman Series

The Superman is an essential exercise for the cyclist because it complements other core exercises that primarily focus on the abdominal muscles in the front of your body.  It engages the postural muscles of the spine, which often become fatigued while riding, leading to discomfort and performance deficits.


However, you must build up to this exercise to ensure proper form and avoid harming your spine.  It’s crucial to lift only as far as your body feels comfortable, even if you may be able to raise just a few inches off the ground.  You are still getting a significant benefit.


Avoid the Superman exercise if you have a history of spinal issues, or seek the opinion of a health professional before giving it a try.  Just like with any exercise recommendation, there are arguments for and against their performance (as well as clinical research), and it is up to you to determine whether you feel the Superman is the proper exercise for you.

For other great Core Strengthening Exercise progressions visit our Strength & Conditioning page.

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Dave Silcox
Dave Silcox
1 year ago

I am a 70 year old long life long cyclist. I would appreciate some feedback on my morning core strength regimen. See Strava.
I live in Roquebrune Sur Argens, France

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