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Deconstructing The Air Squat - The Good Morning

Total Read Time (W/O Video) 5:30 min

The Info.

This exercise helps an athlete develop the ability to hinge at the hip while maintaining a neutral spine. It aids in establishing a good hip and trunk extension pattern and helps warm up the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors).

Make sure you have your athlete use a PVC pipe to hold across their back (It aids in being able to contract the upper musculature against an object).

An athlete having trouble being able to perform the following positions will usually have trouble establishing a good squat and deadlift position.

The set up for the Good Morning is vital to establish because its carryover is seen in all hip hinge movements. (All variations of the squat, deadlift, kettlebell swing, jump, etc.)

The Execution

Step 1 : Feet underneath hips. Grip the floor with your feet (heels dug in, toes holding the ground). Clench your butt, and squeeze your gut (The “uuts” as I refer to them as).

Step 2: Let you knees unlock, and hinge back with your hips. Make sure your chest is up and the knees stay behind your toes. Once you get the torso parallel then return back to Step 1

Common Faults & Corrective Cues

(Fault) Back Rounds - Some athletes might struggle to maintain a neutral spine as they hinge at the hip.

(Cue - Verbal) “Big Chest” or “ Flat Back”

(Cue - Visual) Demo the desired position

(Cue - Tactile) Manually adjust the athlete into position. Tap the hips to move back first, apply pressure to the top of the back between shoulder blades to have them engage while moving.

Back Rounds

(Fault) Locked Knees - Legs are locked in extension and puts unneeded strain on the back.

(Cue - Verbal) “Soft Knees” or “Hinge at the Knees”

(Cue - Visual) Demo ideal position

(Cue - Tactile) Tap the athlete knees letting them know to bend/hinge

Knees Locked

(Fault) Forward on Toes - The athlete has leaned forward instead of pushing hips back causing a tilt towards the toes.

(Cue - Verbal) “Hips back” or “Weight in Heels”

(Cue - Visual) Demo proper weight distribution in movement

(Cue - Tactile) Place two fingers on the crease of the hip and manually apply pressure signaling the athlete to move first at the point of contact.

Areas of Limitation(s)

Now if you happen to be some of those people who are struggling to achieve an ideal squat position or deadlift, then you most likely have trouble performing the good morning. If this is you here are a couple mobilization techniques you can do to get better at all of the movements...yes all of them!

Glute Smash and Floss

Imagine you butt cheeks as being glued together with gorilla glue. Pretty picture right? But if you sit down all day or drive in the car for long hours then thats what you end up with. Gorilla glue butt....Do yourself a favor and try this.

Take a lacrosse ball or rumble roller and spend a minimum of 5 minutes per cheek ungluing it. Try using pressure waves, contracting & relaxing, and some smash and floss methods to help it out.

After about 10 minutes stand up and squeeze them bad boys as hard as your can (Note to self - don't fart!). You should be able to squeeze a whole lot harder than you have before. This should help improve your athlete's capacity to externally rotate, shore up any low back & hip pain, and maintaining proper hip & trunk extension.

Hip External Rotation with Flexion

Another way to help carve out that precious piece of mobility is to find a box and post up either your left or right side on top of it. Make sure your leading leg is set up perpendicular to your body and post your left/right hand on top of your left/right foot pinning it in place.

Next grab your knee and move your body forward to increase the stretch. Oscillating in and out of the end range can help add in some bonus points.

*Turn your bellybutton in towards your foot and then away back towards your knee to give you some extra bonus points*

**If you're on a galacticus level status try dropping that back knee and fold forward**

Have your athletes spend about 2 minutes minimum per side trying to improve those cheeks. Afterwards have them test out their squat, deadlift set up, and identify how the hip is feeling overall.