Thursday, April 10, 2014

Underrated: Seated Good Mornings

I issue all my athletes a disclaimer when they begin training with me: As much as we all want to look good in front of the mirror, it's the muscles in the back of the body that generate power when running, jumping, hitting, throwing, tackling and touchdown dancing. Therefore, we spend most of our time strengthening the muscles you can't see in the mirror.

I've never had client become too strong in the hamstrings, glutes and back, so we work tirelessly to develop the posterior chain in a variety of ways.

Good mornings are a valuable exercise because they pound the hamstrings, glutes and low back yet require less recovery time than heavy squats and dead lifts. I'm including the seated variation more and more often in my advanced clients' and personal training programs for several reasons:

- It's difficult. 400+ pound squatters don't need more than 185 pounds to generate a training effect.
- It hammers the lower back. If you have a healthy but weak lower back, performing multiple sets of moderate reps will fix it in a hurry.

It develops flexibility. Hinging the hips from a seated position stretches the hamstrings differently than the standing variations. Flexing and extending the upper back during each rep also builds thoracic mobility.

- It reinforces good technique where you need it most. Many of my clients fall forward at the bottom of the squat because they lack the core strength to maintain their arch. When performing the seated good morning upper back rounds and arches the back during each rep. This helps maintain the posture they need to handle PR weights at the bottom of squat later on. Starting in a seated position also forces you to fill the belly with air and push the abs out, which assists the upper and lower back.

Try performing 3-5 sets of 6-10 reps after your main lower body exercise for 4-8 weeks. Pay attention to your foot placement, start light, and enjoy the extra power it creates at the start of your pulls and the bottom of your squats.

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