Can you have a love-hate relationship with a fitness move? Because that’s definitely how I feel about the last exercise in this new 22-minute full-body workout from trainer Traci Copeland. The move in question: The Superman. It works your lower back and basically the whole back of your body. Copeland ratchets up the intensity by adding a resistance band into the mix that further works your upper back and shoulder muscles. The pose is so challenging, but then again, it also makes you feel like a superhero.
Superman is the exercise that caps off a five-move sequence, repeated three times, in this workout. You’ll begin with a warmup and end with a cooldown, but the meat of the session involves doing five moves for about 40 seconds each, with a 20-second rest in between. You’ll use a resistance band for all of the moves, though Copeland notes that they can also be done with just your bodyweight.
But if you don’t have an elastic workout band, you might want to invest in one anyway. Resistance bands are a gentle but still challenging way of adding a strength component to any exercise.
“Resistance band training has tons of advantages,” trainer and founder of the DE Method, Dannah Eve, previously told Well+Good. “With resistance bands, the resistance increases as you move through the exercise range of motion, while free weights and weight machines stay the same during the full range of motion.” That makes them a gentler, lower-impact form of strength training than lifting with machines or free weights, which “can put unhealthy strain on your spine, joints, ligaments, and tendons.”
You can also adjust the amount of resistance you’re putting on your muscles by playing with different bands and grips. Take the Superman: If I just want something to help activate my shoulder and back muscles a bit, then I would use a lighter resistance band. But if I wanted something that would really challenge me to pull that band apart using my upper body, I could go for a tighter band.
With a resistance band workout, the power is in your hands. Literally.