Never Do The Superman Exercise Again. Here's Why

A strong lower back is crucial for your overall health, but this part of the body can be tricky to target with exercise. Superman exercises are one of the most popular ways to strengthen your back because they rely on body weight and can be done anywhere. However, experts believe this move may cause more harm than good. While the superman does target the lower back, "this exercise forces our lower back to overextend repetitively and only contributes to bad patterns and more back pain," performance specialist Matt Cheng, CSCS, tells BestLife.

Cheng recommends reverse back extensions instead of supermans. Reverse back extensions work your lower back without hyperextending the muscles, which can put you at risk of injury. This exercise also strengthens your glutes and core, which can support your lower back as well. To do a reverse back extension, grab a stability ball and place it on the floor with plenty of room around you. Lie on your stomach on the ball and place your hands and feet on the ground. Keeping your hands on the ground, lift both legs off the floor until they are parallel to the ground and you feel the extension in your back. Lower your feet back to the floor and repeat the exercise at least 10 times.

Other exercises will work your lower back without injury

Reverse back extensions aren't the only way you can strengthen your lower back. Back extensions perform the same basic movement as supermans but offer more support for the body (via BarBend). Some gyms have back extension machines, but you can also perform this move at home. To do this exercise without equipment, lie on the floor with your elbows on the ground. Straighten your legs behind you and brace your upper body with your shoulders. Targeting your back muscles, lift your upper back into the air while keeping your head and neck neutral. Hold this position for 30 seconds before returning to the floor (via Healthline).

Back injuries are common, so it is important to focus on proper form when performing any back exercise. If you are at a beginner's fitness level, you may want to work with a personal trainer for a few weeks until you have mastered your form. Not only will this help you stay safe in the gym, but it will help you be more confident when exercising as well.