Some exercises just look awesome.
We’ve all seen someone show off a move that takes unbelievable balance, concentration, and strength, appearing to bend the laws of physics and defy gravity. These are what we’re calling Hero moves, the high-level manoeuvres that you’ve watched slack-jawed on Instagram but never imagined you’d be able to pull off yourself.
Good news: With the right plan, you can learn exactly what it takes to master these Hero moves. Trainer Jay Maryniak, NASM-CPT+CES, is confident that he can teach you how to nail one of his favourites, the superman pushup.
“The superman pushup is one of those badass, high-flying, explosive pushups you might see people doing and think to yourself ‘I could never do that,'” says Maryniak. “I assure you with the proper progressions you can achieve the superman pushup.”
The Superman Pushup Progression
10 reps in each direction
Prone Superman Hold
Before you make your way into the progressions, make sure you’re not getting ahead of yourself. Maryniak advises that you hold off on the hero move prep until you can pull off 10 to 20 perfect pushup reps in a row. That means that your hips don’t sag, you maintain a strong spinal position by squeezing your glutes and core, and your bring your chest all the way to the ground.
8 to 10 reps
8 to 10 reps
Chest Tap Pushups
5 to 8 reps
Feet on the Ground Superman Pushup
5 to 8 reps
Full Body Explosive Pushup
3 to 5 reps
Once you’ve mastered each of these progressions, you’ll be ready for the real thing.
When to Do the Superman Pushup
Remember, the superman pushup isn’t necessarily the type of move that you’ll pencil into your typical routine for a standard number of sets and reps—it’s a super-ballistic exercise, which should be used as a goal to work toward to showcase your strength and body control. Take flight around once a week when you nail down the form, and keep the work low, aiming for something like 2 sets of 3 to 5 reps.
That said, Hero moves are a great way to show off your hard work and athleticism—so if you can pull off the superman pushup, don’t be shy! Share your skills with us (@menshealthmag) and Maryniuk (@jtm_fit), then try other variations, like the superman punch pushup (one fist extended in flight) and the skydiver pushup (arms and legs extended). The world can never have too many heroes.
By Brett Williams