July 16, 2004

2 responses to Off to Sweden

  1. Vincent Scelfo, DC Says:

    Injuries from good mornings seems to be pretty “popular” amongst us powerlifters. I too sustained a “good morning” injury in March while training for a meet.

    Looking at the Bruce Lee article mentioned in the blog, one mistake was the fact that he used heat instead of ice on the injury, further irritating the inflammatory process.

    But let’s get back to the good mornings. I was very hesitant about resuming them as a strength building exercise following my injury. Now, I don’t profess to know a whole lot about Westside’s training protocols, but my understanding is to do exercises which “resemble” the main lifts and will carry over into those lifts.

    That being said, here is my breakdown of the good morning, as I see it, and how it could be modified to reduce the risk of injury.

    The erectors are back extensor muscles. In other words, they would be the muscles involved when coming back up after bending over. The problem I see with good mornings is when you are resisting weight on the downward portion of the lift, reach your “bottom” part and then shift gears to accelerate back up. It is in this transition point where most injuries seem to occur.

    For me, the solution became to eliminate the downward momentum. This is done very simply by doing the good morning in a power rack. I believe these may be called “suspended” good mornings. But the difference is that you are forcing the weight upward, just as if you were deadlifting or squatting. Set the bar at the approximate angle ABOVE parallel that approximates your deadlift stance. Keep the low back arched and push up. Return the bar to the pins and reset yourself for the next rep.

    In my estimation, the descent of a normal good morning serves no purpose in strengthening the low back. You’re just keeping muscles “tight” to keep the weight from throwing you over. These “supporting” muscles: glutes, hams, abs can all be trained and strengthened with other exercises like glute/ham raises, pull throughs, reverse hypers, sit-ups, etc. So there really isn’t any need to involve them on this phase of the movement.

    The back extensors are important in the deadlift and keeping the back erect while squatting. It is the upward portion of the movement that will produce the strength necessary for those lifts.

    It is the “shifting” from descent to ascent that creates the injury risk that occurs by transferring loads. Remove that transference from the equation and you will find that you will still generate sufficient back strength and have less risk of injury.

  2. Kris Says:

    New horizons opening up! I’ve never tried a suspended good morning, whether from pins or chains, but I can attest that my injury happened precisely at the transition point when I started pushing back at the bar to get back up. I also seem to recall that the descent felt the most scary, although the ascent isn’t precisely a Sunday stroll in the park either. Will definitively try suspended good mornings down the line and see how they feel.

    Thanks for the advice!

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