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Reverse Hollow Rock (Superman Rock): Muscles Worked, Exercise Video, and Benefits

The reverse hollow rock/Superman rock is a bodyweight exercise that can target the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings (posterior chain). Similar to the hollow rock (except this is done in a prone position, rather than supine), this exercise is a foundational movement pattern to establish muscular endurance and development, isometric strength, and core stability.

Muscles Worked

The reverse hollow rock/Superman rock targets the main muscle groups of the posterior chain. The below muscle groups are targeted by performing rocks, isometric holding variations, or a combination of the two.

  • Spinal Erectors (lower back)
  • Gluteals
  • Hamstrings
  • Upper Traps (hands extended)

Reverse Hollow Rock Video Demo

The below video demonstrates how to perform the reverse hollow rock/Superman rock. This exercise is nearly identical to the hollow rock, with the exception of the lifter lying prone (face down) on the floor rather than supine (face up).

5 Benefits of the Reverse Hollow Rock

Below are four benefits of the reverse hollow rock/Superman rock. Note, that a great deal of the benefits are similar in nature to the hollow rocks, reverse planks, and even back extensions. Therefore, the reverse hollow rock, in addition to these exercises can be a great option for core and lower back training programs for most athletes.

Isometric Strength

Isometric strength in the lower back (spinal erectors), glutes, and hamstrings (the posterior chain) is key to overall force production and movement, whether under load of in more gymnastic-based movements. The ability to produce muscular tension and force is critical to spinal stability under load and additional force production throughout sticking points that require a positional intensity (such as in squats and deadlifts).

Posterior Chain Activation

As humans we rely on the posterior chain a great deal, since we spend most of our lives upright. The glutes, hamstrings, and lower back contract to aid in postural strength and stability during movement and force generation in movements like squats, pulls, cleans, snatches, jumps, running, etc. The reverse hollow rock can be used as an activation exercise to prepare for such movements and to aid individuals in creating better awareness and muscle memory partnering with those muscle groups.

Midline Stability

While this is a posterior dominant exercise, the reverse hollow rock can assist in developing greater midline control and stability, especially when paired with the hollow rock. Increasing both flexion and extension abilities (and the ability to resist unwanted forces) is ideal for a well-rounded core.

Muscular Development

The reverse hollow rock, while done isometrically can be a good basis for muscle development, especially when paired with movements that include concentric and eccentric muscle actions (such leg raises, GHDs, and back extensions).

Scalable Regression

In some cases, an individual (or group of individuals) may lack basic strength, movement control, or have predisposed limitations to movements like GHDs, back extensions, and goodmornings. The reverse hollow rock can be a scalable regression for large groups and beginners, as it requires little space and no equipment. Additionally, the range of motion is much less than other movements, therefore requiring less lower back, glute, and hamstring strength.

Programming the Reverse Hollow Rock

Programming the reverse hollow rock can be done in a similar method as most isometrics and the hollow rock. Repetitions based training (number of reverse hollow rocks) are a good start, however I prefer timed sets, focusing on tension and controlled movement (quality) rather than quantity. Once an individual has expressed basic understanding and ability to perform the movement, repetitions (higher rep)or a mixture of timed sets can be done.

Build a Stronger Lower Back and Core

Take a look at the below exercises, each of which can strengthen the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Featured Image: @asunnymindofmiracles on Instagram

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Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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