How To Do A Superman Push-Up

Although superman push-ups are fun to do for photos or slow-mo videos, they are actually one of my favorite plyometric exercises to train explosive power, core strength, and full body coordination.

From time to time, people ask me how it’s even possible to do it. And to be honest, it’s not as hard as it looks. As long as you can do regular push-ups or clapping push-ups in good form, it all comes down to technique and timing.

Here is my breakdown in 4 steps:

1. The set-up

Before attempting the superman push-up, you need to master the top part of a regular push-up (or a push-up plank). Here, you need to have your wrists shoulder width apart and placed directly under your shoulders. Your fingertips should be spread apart (you can have them facing forward or positioned slightly towards the outside), with even weight distribution between the fingertips and palms. Your feet should also be shoulder width apart, with your ankles flexed forward so that the balls of your feet are ahead of your heels. Your abs and your glutes should be flexed, and your lower back should not be arched (an arched lower back is like an upside-down umbrella. Pretend there is a string pulling your lower back towards the sky). Lastly, your head should be in a neutral position looking straight down.

2. The load phase

As you lower your body, you need to keep your head neutral, with your abs and glutes still tight. As you drop down, do so at a natural pace (don’t overthink it or slow down as you drop – just do it as if you’re going to do a regular or clapping push up), with your chest leading the way. Now here’s the trick to getting explosive speed and vertical height – near the bottom position of the push up, shift the weight from your fingertips to the palms of your hands and lower your hips a little towards the ground.

3. Exploding upwards

From the very bottom position (with your chest pretty much on the floor) and the weight mostly on your palms, the following sequence happens: push back up with your chest coming up slightly then shoot your glutes up to the sky, then your feet leave the ground, then your arms follow. Keep in mind that each of these sequences happen slightly before the other, and the whole movement happens within 1 second. I would say the key thing to note is that when you’re up in the air, you need to be like an “upside down umbrella” and allow your legs and arms to fly back. It may seem intimidating at first, but the faster and further you shoot your arms behind your ears, the faster it snaps back to the ground so you don’t fall on your face!

4. Landing

When your arms are snapping back under your shoulders, it’s really important to learn how your arms and legs (especially your wrists and elbows) absorb the impact of the ground. When you come back down, it’s important to land and allow yourself to drop back into the bottom position of the push-up instead of keeping your arms locked upon landing.

Have a safe flight!

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