Good Morning Exercise
Good morning exercise is a term you can read two ways, but whichever one brought you here the answer is the same. If you came looking for a GOOD morning exercise (i.e. a morning exercise that is good), I am going to show you an exercise you can do every morning to make you feel good for the whole day. If you are curious about the exercise known as GOOD MORNING, then I will detail what it is and why you might want to do it.
A Good Morning Exercise:
The beauty of the Daily Dozen exercise routine is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. For 70+ years however many people (myself included) have chosen to perform it on rising in the morning – it is after all an exercise routine designed to ‘set you up for the day.’
One of the things we sometimes notice when we get up in the morning is we are not as ‘awake’ as we might like; both physically AND mentally! The ‘Grasp’ exercise is move six in the Daily Dozen and follows movements to encourage arm and shoulder strength and mobility development. It is going to work the whole of the back of the body; building up the spinal erectors (the group of muscles that allow us to stand up straight and rotate the body), lower back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. Because it involves these muscles however, please BE CAREFUL!
The Good Morning Exercise:
From a cross position (feet together arms out to the side), bend your arms at the elbow so your hands are either behind your head or your fingers are touching the side of your head. Stand up nice and straight and keep breathing nice and deeply; in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Next, simply bend at the WAIST while keeping the head up and looking straight ahead. If you can’t bend very far without bending your back – then just don’t bend very far! Bend to a slow count of four and straighten the same way.
Keep a little bend in your knees and keep the abdominal muscles engaged.
“In the forward movement, the body should come down practically at right angles to the hips…”
This is one of those “well, if I could already do that why would I bother doing this routine?” type of statements, but you need to BUILD up to it and then MAINTAIN it!
“…but the head should not be allowed to drop forward. The head should be kept up, with the elbows back and the eyes looking to the front.”
WARNING: This involves the back, and you know better than I do if you have back problems. If in doubt, have a chat with your doctor!
When you return to the starting position bend backwards as far as possible from the waist for a count of one and then return to the start position and bend forwards again.
Keep the movements slow and not jerky and only go as far as comfortable (either backwards or forwards). Bending backwards will actually help you bend forwards in the long run.
Repeat five times (five bends forwards, five bends backwards – you’ll finish on a backwards bend).
The reason for looking forwards is it helps keep your back straight – so don’t worry about not going very far.
Here is a pretty good video of the exercise from Peerless Athletics – unlike some other videos I have seen of this, the instructor keeps looking forward and keeps the stomach nice and tight. You might also want to try it with the feet slightly apart too – see which you prefer.
Bruce Lee and the Good Morning Exercise:
You will sometimes see this presented as the ‘good morning’ exercise with a barbell across the shoulders, and it remains a hugely popular strength training technique. Bruce Lee however hurt his back performing this with weight (a weight equivalent to his own body weight!), and noted that just the bodyweight movement would have been sufficient.
So there you have it – a good morning exercise to iron out the kinks that appear overnight (and/or during the day).
Look Fit by Feeling Great