Good mornings are great. Squats are equally great. But good morning squats? Not so much. There is absolutely nothing good about good morning squat.
If you have even the remotest interest in health and fitness, then you might already know what squats are – the holy grail of lower body workout and the elixir of glute workout.
You may already know also, that proper form when doing squats is non-negotiable.
Otherwise, you will go in with hopes to come out with a strong lower body and a good-looking butt. Instead, you will come out with a hurting back and a broken heart.
One prime cause of the latter outcome is the good morning squat. When you squat while carrying a barbell across your shoulders, the ascent of the chest and the hips should be timed almost at the same time.
WHAT IS A GOOD MORNING SQUAT?
Good morning squat happens when your hips rise much faster than the chest once you get to the bottom of a squat. This plunges your body into an undesirable angle.
The torso in this event tends to be almost parallel to the floor. It is not a position you want to be in when squatting, especially when you are at the same time carrying a barbell.
You will not be able to carry loads in this position and that squat will be a total fail.
HOW CAN YOU IDENTIFY A GOOD MORNING SQUAT
How do you tell when you are a victim of this deficiency? You have to pay close attention to all the motions so you can well pinpoint it.
For one, you will be struggling to weather the weight of the load that you are carrying even though it is not that much. That in itself should be a pointer that something is off.
Focus on the tempo of your shoulder vis as vis that of your hips during your ascent. Are they rising at the same time? If not, that is also a problem.
What about your posture at the peak of the ascent, does your butt tend to jut out sharply as your back declines sharply towards your shoulder?
If yes, this is just the angle that we have been talking about and nothing good ever comes out of it.
If at the end of the lift you tend to rise to the front part of your feet, feel off-balance and might keel over, that there is this problem at work.
IS THE GOOD MORNING SQUAT A BAD THING
It is a terrible thing, in fact.
And the worst part is that, if you enjoy relatively good back health and strength, you will not be able to immediately tell the insidious effects of this deficiency until it has ruined your back. You might be lucky if someone points it out early enough so you may correct it, otherwise, it can cause problems later.
Initially, you may get away with this, in fact, you may even grow stronger and feel encouraged to take on more load.
Eventually, it will be hard to progress when your back can no longer accept any more strain that you transfer to it.
Thus, you will hit a plateau with your fitness and few things are more aggravating than working your butt out and having nothing to show for it.
The way this lifting exercise is designed requires strong quads to provide propulsion for the ascent. However, not everyone has such strong quads. What happens then?
Our bodies are designed to emphasize our strong points and cover for the weak parts. If the quads are weak, the back moves in to compensate and take one the load.
This puts so much strain on the mid and lower back which might result in injury and lower back pain. These parts of the body were not designed to take on that kind of load.
HOW TO FIX GOOD MORNING SQUAT PROPERLY
The first and most important way of fixing good morning squat is to know what you are fixing in the first place.
Because eventually you will feel the strain in your back, most people assume their backs are weak and need fixing.
That is not true.
The back is merely compensating deficiency that arises from the quads.
Your body trying to compensate is not an entirely bad thing, because it shows that your body is really doing all it can to help you get that load where it is supposed to go.
But this compensation comes with readjusting of muscles to counter the load, and in the process throwing them out of the natural sync.
Thus, if at all you have to fix this, you need to fix the quads so they can take on the load as they are designed to.
USE LIGHTER WEIGHT
Being asked to use lighter weight is too much to ask for most lifters, we know. It is an ego thing and we understand.
But that does not change the fact that this deficiency will not only stall your progression. It might throw you out of lifting all together, so hear us out.
You will have to use lighter load anyway so better start when there is still time to turn things around. Help your body to take a break from loading the hip extensor muscles in the bottom and mid-range of the squat.
If the load on the barbell is just enough such that it does not force your hips to pop up rapidly out of the hole, then your knee extensors will have to do their job properly.
This is the outcome you should be going for because you want to place more loading demand on the quads. So by modifying the weight down, you’re actually making the quads work harder.
The key here is letting the quads do their job without shifting the load to the adductor magnus and glutes.
WORK ON COORDINATION DRILLS
If you’ve been squatting in a good morning position for a long time, then you may lack motor control to perceive what a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ position feels like.
Coordination drills teach you what it’s supposed to feel like when your hips are moving properly out of the bottom of the squat.