A super exercise

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied

Kneeling superwoman/man

1. Improves core and pelvic balance and stability.

2. Builds strength and endurance throughout the posterior chain – lower back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings – and the abdomen and shoulders on the anterior chain.

3. Can improve posture, breathing and mobility.

4. This isometric exercise will tone gluts, hamstrings and shoulders.

5. Can help build the strength and mobility necessary to prevent lower back and hip aches and pains.

6. A good exercise that helps with everyday movements, such as standing up from the couch or after bending down to pick something up.

N.B. Do not perform this exercise without consulting your health specialist if you have lower back pain and/or hip instability issues.

How to do?

1. Kneel on all fours, with knees under your hips and hands placed beneath your shoulders.

2. Keep your neck in the neutral position (by looking at the floor).

3. Maintain a small inwards curve in your lower back throughout this exercise and keep both hips facing the ground.

4. Extend your left leg out behind your body, kneeling on the right leg.

5. Slowly raise your left heel up to the height of your glutes, keeping your left toe pointed to the ground throughout.

6. Lower your toe back to the ground and repeat up to 10 times.

7. Repeat this exercise with the right leg.

Tip: If your knees are sore, try kneeling on a cushion.


1. Lift your left arm in front of your body, while, simultaneously, lifting up your right leg.

2. So, you are slowly raising both your opposite arm and leg, together, to the height of your trunk (no higher).

3. Lower both limbs back to touch the ground before repeating up to 10 times in succession.

How much to do?

This exercise is both scalable and approachable

1. Start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions with a 1-2 second hold at the top, three times per week.

2. Progress according to the ease with which you can complete the movement, while remaining as stable as you can through the hips.

3. You can progress this exercise by doing more sets, more reps and/or increasing the time (measured in seconds) that you can pause at the top of the movement.

Extended reading

There are many variations to the superwoman/man exercise. Some people prefer to begin with the prone version of the exercise – where you are lying on your stomach as opposed to beginning on all fours.

The version on all fours can be quite uncomfortable, due to your anterior core having to take the majority of your body weight. With this prone version you can complete the exercise with all four limbs, simultaneously, lifting up off the ground.

If you require an advanced version of the superwoman/man exercise then perform it from a Swiss ball. This will significantly increase the instability of the exercise.

How to:

1. Lie face down on the Swiss ball with the ball positioned under your stomach.

2. Begin the exercise by raising your right leg, while simultaneously raising your left arm.

3. Raise both your leg and arm to the height of your spine.

4. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds then lower your limbs back to the ground.

5. Repeat this movement with the opposite arm and leg.