Low Back Training and Good Mornings

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Movement Fix Monday | Week 1


There is a better way to train the core and the low back than things like situps, toes to bar, russian twists, etc.

One exercise that is much better at training your core and low back muscles is the good morning.

I'm guessing a lot of you have had some exposure to the good morning, but maybe aren't doing it very frequently. The way I utilize it is a bit different. Instead of doing the good morning for sets and resting between the sets, I use that time to improve other aspects of my movement.

In the video I demonstrate the following sequence for 5 sets, increasing the weight on the good morning as needed:

  • 100 single unders
  • 10 cat/camels
  • 10 Kolar Dead Bugs
  • 5 straight leg raises each side
  • 5 single arm single leg kettlebell deadlifts each side
  • 3-5 or 6-10 good mornings depending on your goal

Why is this mini circuit constructed the way it is? Here is my justification and reasoning for each movement:

  • The single unders are performed to keep your heart rate up.
  • The cat/camels are in there to show your brain that your spine can move through its full range of motion in between sets of substantial muscular contraction. The cat/camel is unloaded because your spine isn't vertical, so its no big deal to round it in this position. Don't push the end ranges though. Just move fluidly through them.
  • The Kolar Dead Bugs are training your spine to remain stiff and controlled while your hips flex and extend. There shouldn't be any spinal motion during this movement.
  • The straight leg raise is added in here to take your hip through full flexion as far as you can under control with a mostly straight knee. This allows you to get into a deeper good morning position without your spine rounding.
  • The single leg single arm kettlebell deadlift is placed after these previous drills to integrate everything. Now you are weight bearing and holding an uneven load. You are forced to control your spine, hip, and express that through a full range of motion deadlift with those demands placed on you. This is no easy task.
  • After all of these steps, you are now primed to hit your good mornings and feel confident about being warmed up and prepped. The good morning is the actual strength training piece of this, everything else is training either mobility or motor control as a means to the good morning as the end.

Try it out, program it for your gym, and leave your feedback in the comments!

Happy 2015!

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