Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more

Just because you don’t put on a cape and save humanity on an average day doesn’t mean you don’t have some Clark Kent in you. When you do the Superman exercise, you’re at least on your way to the strong muscles needed to play the part.

Here’s how to unleash your inner hero with the Superman exercise.

The Superman strengthens your lower back, works your glutes, builds up your core, and might even make you feel like you’re flying through the Metropolis night sky.

To get started, all you might need is a mat to make things more comfy. Then, here’s what to do:

  1. Lie facedown with arms and legs outstretched, forehead on the mat. Your neck should be in a neutral position.
  2. Exhale as you slowly lift arms, legs, upper back, and head off the floor. Keep arms and legs straight but not locked. Your body should resemble a U shape with either side several inches off the floor.
  3. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Remember to keep breathing!
  4. Exhale as you lower back down. Then take it from the top.

Do 3 sets of 15.

This move seems simple enough, but it’s easy to slip up on the basics. To make the most of every glute-squeezing second, take care to avoid these common mistakes.

Don’t bend your arms or legs. Though locked knees and elbows are def not #goals, you don’t want to bend your arms or legs either. Your limbs should be straight but not tense and tight. Focus on squeezing the targeted muscles (back, glutes, and abs), which will help relieve any tension in your joints.

Don’t move too quickly. When you have a lightning-speed beat in the background, you might feel tempted to soar through these moves. But with the Superman, slow and steady wins the race. Holding the position at the top for at least a few seconds is vital to reaping results.

Don’t forget to breathe. Being facedown might trip up your breathing for a min, but it’s important to keep your airflow rolling. Breathing steadily will give some much-needed oxygen to your muscles, stabilize your core, and maximize your results.

Watch out for misalignment. Being off-center can cause back strain instead of boosting your core. The Superman is all about balance: Your abs, glutes, and back should all be working equally to hold you up. Keeping your neck neutral will also curb the risk of pain and strain.

Don’t point your toes. Your toes might want to point like a ballerina as you raise your legs. Resist the urge, though, because it will cause your legs to work harder than necessary while letting your abs off the hook. Strive for even distribution.

No equipment needed. The Superman is the perfect equipment-free way to boost core strength. It works your obliques and lower back and helps improve flexibility in your erector spinae (the muscles that surround your spine from your head to your hips).

Help your posture out. Neck and back feeling a little tight after a long day in front of the computer? Same. This move will help flex and rotate your spine and neck, loosening things up and potentially relieving pain.

Give your glutes some love. Since Superman needs to look great in a whole lot of spandex, this move doesn’t skimp on your glutes, either. The exercise targets your butt and hamstrings while your upper back muscles help with stability.

If you’ve mastered the classic Superman, give these more challenging modified versions a try. These moves target the same muscles but raise the stakes a notch.

Medicine ball Superman

  1. Lie facedown with your arms and legs outstretched, holding a medicine ball in your hands. Your forehead should be on the floor too.
  2. Exhale as you slowly lift arms, legs, and head off the floor. Keep arms and legs straight (not locked) as you hold up your weight and the weight of the medicine ball.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Exhale as you lower back down.

Do 3 sets of 12.

Alternating Superman (aka Aquaman)

  1. Start in Superman position: facedown on your mat with limbs outstretched.
  2. Exhale as you raise right arm and left leg as high as you comfortably can. Shoot for 5–6 inches.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Exhale as you lower back down.
  5. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Do 4 sets of 12.

Quad Superman

  1. Start on hands and knees with neck straight and eyes on the floor.
  2. Exhale as you slowly raise right arm and left leg to shoulder height.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly lower arm and leg back to the floor.
  5. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Do 4 sets of 12.

Remember, everyone’s flexibility and strength levels are different, so only do what feels comfortable to you. Do you want to feel the burn? Great! But if you feel any sharp pulling sensations or pain, that’s your body telling you to stop👏 right👏 there.👏

As with any exercise, start small and work your way up. If 5 seconds feels tricky, start with 2 seconds. When you’re ready, you can work up to 7 seconds. You’ve got this.