Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal?

Earlier this year I got a paper published in the SCJ titled, Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal (click to download). I’m very proud of this paper and feel that it’s some of my best work to date (I had the help of a few amazing co-authors on the article as well).

The article showcases the hip-extension torque-angle curves during the good morning, 45 degree hyper, and horizontal back extension exercises and then discusses the practical applications.

Make sure you watch Brofessor Bret speak all the way up until the end of the video!

Hip Extension Exercises

44 thoughts on “Are All Hip Extension Exercises Created Equal?

  1. Steve

    Thank you for sharing this knowledge! What about the RDL? Would that be the same as the good morning on this scale? I’m assuming the good morining works the erectors more than RDL due to the bar placement.

    Reply
  2. Mark Buckley

    I love everything Bret has to say!

    This is why i have a BROmance going on with BROfessor Bret

    Oh and love the classy end to the presentation :)

    Reply
  3. Matt Staples

    Hey Brett,

    Do you remember Steve Holman? He used to write for Ironman Magazine years ago, not sure what he is up to today. He called his program Positions of Flexion (POF). His program had an exercise for each POF; stretched, contracted and midrange. He came up with his program before there was much real science behind training. I always thought his ideas had merit.

    On another note, someone above asked about the Romanian Deadlift, but I’d like to see you analyze the reverse hyper. I’m a big fan of the 45 degree hyper, but never thought much of the good morning. One thing you don’t talk about is the relative safety of each of those lifts…

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Hell yeah I do! His program was ahead of its time. I could improve upon it, however. If I recall, he didn’t vary the rep ranges or methods to target specific mechanisms (low reps and rest-pause for mechanical tension, high reps and constant tension for metabolic stress, eccentrics for damage, etc.). Regardless, he was a pioneer.

      I’d love to analyze the reverse hyper too. Since the pendulum hinges somewhat below the hip joint, there’s actually more constant tension in the reverse hyper, meaning that there are no points where instantaneous torque would drop to zero. And the reverse hyper works better when you hold pelvic position and use the hammies to stop the eccentric portion and squeeze the glutes to finish off end-range and to protect the spine a bit.

      Finally, I agree…safety is a concern with these movements, but I think I did a good job of discussing in this video:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5WhWu1g080

      You can extrapolate from this video at least.

      Great comments!!!

      Reply
      1. Todd

        Nice presentation, Brett! I’m also working on my dissertation, and I follow your work often. Just to add, Steve Holman is still editor-in-chief of IronMan. I have a number of his ebooks. He does, however, address many of the points in his later works that you noted he didn’t cover early on in his original POF work. For instance, he delves into extended sets, static holds, and occlusion. I must say that in the decades I’ve taught, I’ve never done so without pants. However, I have been caught with the long adhesive sticker with the waist size still on them. And I didn’t find out until hours after class!

        Reply
        1. Bret Post author

          Good to know Todd! Thanks for chiming in. And I’ve committed the same error with shirts – leaving the sticker on them! Embarrassing!

          Reply
  4. Alex

    Good stuff, Brofessor Bret. I would like to make sure I interpret this correctly. I thought that I heard you say (and also read in the discussion section) that the results for the Good Morning generalize to other standing exercises like the RDL. Is that correct?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Yep, that is correct. The RDL and good morning would have nearly identical hip-extension torque-angle curves as long as they were done in a similar fashion, which they usually are.

      Reply
  5. Elaine

    Hi Bret, just a brief question–

    I’m fine with any kind of progressive overload on my lower body, but my back and shoulders are wider than I’d like. I recently quit doing anything but rudimentary bodyweight exercises for the upper body, but I’m not losing muscle there as I’d hoped.

    Is it possible that something like my deadlifting is keeping me from smoothing out? Or is the recomp diet encouraging my body to keep the muscle?

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      You’re darn right about that. The deadlift is the best pure back exercise there is. In addition to hammering the erectors, it high activates the lats, rhomboids, rear delts, traps, etc. You may have to quit doing upper body for a couple months to get to where you’d like…

      Reply
      1. Elaine

        Oof. That’s what I thought. Damn, and I love deadlifts, too. Thanks for the answer! Your blog is super-informative.

        Reply
  6. Angelina

    I wasn’t prepared for the ending! I was watching at work and the girls caught your nice “suit” – I think you might have a couple new fans!

    Great piece – congrats on the publishing. :)

    Reply
  7. Steven Trolio

    Wow dude, this is awesome stuff.

    I guess at first glance if I thought about the exercises, I would think of the obvious similarities but wouldn’t necessarily call them “equal.” However, I also wouldn’t expect the differences to be as significant as you have shown, and that is impressive.

    And what’s kind of interesting is I do horizontal back extensions pretty frequently, but I don’t give much attention to 45 degree or GM’s. And the reason for this is because I’ve been trying to get better at hyperextending my hips and firing my glutes HARD. I remember you suggested thrusting the hips aggressively into the pad and posterior pelvic tilting at the top of horizontal back ext’s, and ever since I’ve been doing that I have felt amazing in my other lifts.

    It’s reached a point where I don’t even feel my lower back during heavy deadlifts. Today, I hit 350 for 10 using a “pseudo-sumo” stance and after the set I literally did not feel even the slightest bit of discomfort in my lumbar spine. Here’s the vid if you wanna take a look, I think you’ll appreciate my improved hip extension and lockout efficiency :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKiK1jNDRmE&feature=share&list=UUbV5F9_3xzCec3Tc-ui95yA

    With the help of your suggestion and my dedicated focus to recruit my glutes, this set might have been some of the best pure muscle activation I’ve ever felt while training.

    Anyway, keep the content coming because it is brilliant. Normally if somebody called their stuff “cutting edge” I probably wouldn’t agree, even if I thought it was good material. But this idea and research on the other hand is worthy of that title, it’s just so detailed and well presented. THIS is what defines having an open mind in the fitness industry.

    Reply
    1. Derrick Blanton

      Nice DL’s, Steven! But stop looking over at the mirror! Ha ha..

      This is exactly the “semi-sumo” stance that I have gone to in order to try and hang with my son on CF’s “Linda”. (This just in: I can’t hang with my son on “Linda”….yet!)

      Way better stance for repping out. But I think I might still go conventional for a 1RM.

      BC, this variation seems to spare the low back, shifting torque to hips moreso?

      Reply
    2. Bret Post author

      Your form on these is incredible Steven – to the point where I suspect that you might be a robot ;)

      If it weren’t for the looking to the side in the mirror, I’d give you a 10.0 out of 10.0!

      The dude doing power cleans in the background could use some help though ;)

      Thanks broseph!

      Reply
      1. Steven Trolio

        Haha, sorry about the mirror peeking gentlemen! It was only to ensure that my positioning was spot on for the first few reps :)

        Derrick, I’m really loving the narrower sumo stance. Everything about it just feels more solid to me, although I agree I would go conventional for a max attempt. I think this variation most definitely loads the hips better, maybe because the thighs are a little bit more externally rotated and therefore it’s easier to get the glutes firing hard? Who knows, just my thoughts.

        And yes Bret, the power cleans need serious attention. Some of the things I see in my gym on a daily basis are a million times worse than that, and THAT is scary.

        Reply
  8. Rebecca Rosemann

    Amazing article Bret! Really appreciate the scientific and in depth approach you took to explaining the torque loads. Further the extrapolation to sport specific goals was very helpful. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

    Reply
  9. Steve

    Hey Brett I have no prior experience with the 45 hyper, and the horizontal ext.To be brief I’m 33, have a knee that has mild osteo and had plica removed. I basically lost all strength last year(in a wheelchair for a few weeks) and been rehabbing since. Right now Reverse sled drags, SB curls,SB hip thrusts(DB)and some lateral band walking, light weight calf raises is all I do for lower body. I left therapy and started my own program mixed with some PT and been following your T-nation article for lifters with banged up joints. Thanks cause its been really helpful. The reverse sled drags makes my knees feel great. I hope to get back to the RDL soon. I’m not so sure about squatting though.

    Should I start with the 45 hyper ext or the horizontal ext? I wanted to throw one in my program next week. My gym has both pieces of equipment. Sorry for the long post. At this point I feel i need to be critical with my training as I have many years b4 they will give me a new knee! Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Hi Steve – throw in the 45 degree hyper and keep the knees slightly bent. If and when you give squatting a try, start with the goblet high box squat where you sit back and keep vertical tibias. So glad the “21 Exercises for Injury-Free Mass” was beneficial to you – that article is one of my all-time favorites. Cheers, Bret

      Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      I intend on publishing a study on that later this year. It’s SOOOOO much more complicated to calculate compared to squats, deadlifts, good mornings, back extensions, and 45 degree hypers. Great question though!

      Reply
  10. Will Arias

    Brofessor Bret, how about torque ratio or load “sticky” point during Single Leg RDL? as you probably would say, “that is a total different animal” given variables like balance, stability and proprioception requirements that might affect ROM and TUT of main movers that might be affected by the “intervention” QL stability to preserve “evenness” on hips high; and, Glut Med and VMO firing to stabilise the knee, so as to avoid valgus collapse; and, even sufficient elasticity on add magnus and hip rotators… ah, plus let alone higher ankle mobility requirements… (Anyway, i feel like a parrot running out of breath) I wonder if any of your EMG experiments or any other scientific research could provide some ratios (in terms of recruitment of Erectors spine, Glut max and hamstrings) between SLRDL and Goodmornings or standard RDL, as obviously stabilisers have the edge when doing one leg exercises… By the way, the end of your video-lecture was very commanding and stylish :) Cheers, Will

    Reply
    1. Bret Post author

      Will, I actually prefer the single leg RDL with bracing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOgvC6OEEw

      Most coaches who employ the single leg RDL have their guys using such light loads due to balance issues. There aren’t many athletes using over 185 for these as they cause most lifters to squirm all over and lose their balance. At least that’s my experience. So the balance challenge will prevent maximal prime mover muscle activation and torque output.

      I’ve only seen one guy – Max Shanks – perform an insane single leg RDL. But with bracing, people do much better. I’ve used heavy kb’s for these and even the plateau buster: http://www.strongergrip.com/kettlebell-alternative-solutions/plateau-buster-swing-handle/

      Reply
      1. Derrick Blanton

        Well as long as we’re going to try and think stuff through! (I feel a rant coming on…)

        Take it a step further, and tease it out. When you start really questioning conventional wisdom, what you are doing, and why you are doing it, sometimes it all starts to fall apart.

        Why would you stabilize the back leg for a BSS to derive an enhanced strength training effect, and then reverse your logic, and let the back leg float freely on a single leg RDL?

        Did you not want to train the unilateral hamstring move for strength as well?

        Oh, you wanted to focus more on the balance end of things? Right. Then why not ditch the BSS, and perform a high box single leg SQ, off leg dangling as well?

        Who made up the rules for why one lift merits more support, and the other merits more balance?

        Are you training balance? If balance, then train the hell out of your balance! Elevate the leg off the ground. Do it on a Bosu pad. Progress the load to unstable implements, like buckets of water.

        Or are you trying to train unilateral strength, i.e. bring up a weak limb? If strength, use an offset stance, both feet grounded. Will destroy the front plant leg, which the CNS will now allow to fire maximally, since you are not going to fall on your ass.

        Or use the little roller BSS stand for RDL’s too, if you just have a hard on about raising the leg off the ground.

        I suspect it’s b/c it’s too challenging to load three plates a side for a high box unsupported single leg SQ, and that won’t look as cool for all the bro’s.

        (Btw, wasn’t one of the whole selling points of single leg work to spare the spine? 315 with a back leg resting precariously on a little roller….Safer? Hmmm..)

        And finally, Ian King, one of the early, old school proponents of single leg work, never intended for the off leg to be raised back in a line with the torso.

        http://kingsportsint.blogspot.com/search?q=single+leg+form

        Preach it, Brother King!

        Alrighty then! Rant over. Next time, we’ll discuss the side plank, and explore about 8-different exercises that are more effective and don’t have the added “benefit” of irritating the shit out of your lateral knee ligaments.

        It’s what I do, people….It’s what I do….:)

        Reply
        1. Will Arias

          Las thing, Derrick, I don’t know if in America (or wherever your country of origin is) saying something like “…if you just have a hard on about raising the leg off the ground…” literally has the same vulgar connotation than here in Australia. Therefore, without pretending to be more catholic than the pope, i would respectfully recommend you to measure the way you communicate some thoughts, even if there is not harmful intention whatsoever; and, call me old fashion, but keep in mind than many of the readers are women and, some of them might find offensive than kind of language. At least, is our responsibility, as blokes, to be tactful and respectful towards them. Believe me that I regard you highly as a professional and thats why i dare to give you this semantic feedback. One thing is saying such thing to one of your mates, privately, but it is different when you unleash your ideas to the world. If Bret decide to erase this comment is totally fine with me, but trust me, sometimes is better to breathe twice to review our thoughts before expressing your concepts, even if they are great. Cheers. Will

          Reply
          1. Derrick Blanton

            Hi Will, I just checked in, and I’m running out the door, so I just quickly scanned your post(s). Sorry to offend you, just an off-color bit of humor on an irreverent rant.

            Sure you are always training a degree of balance, for example I prefer free weight training to machine training generally for this very reason. At some point, the level of force capable diminishes to the point where you are providing progressively more limited adaptations on either end of the spectrum.

            I like to train balance, really train balance, and then segue into the more stabilized lift, where the improved balance is further helpful, rather than LOAD heavy the highly unbalanced variation. My bias is to use the newly acquired balance in service of more stabilized strength gains, not so much as a strength move in, and of itself.

            This is another CNS activation trick, like going from a deficit DL to a regular DL to open up the floodgates of neural flow. Less leverage to more leverage analogous to less stable to more stable.

            I’ll let BC respond to how much load he needs to make strength adaptations, he is a near 600-lb. DLer, and supra 600-lb. HTer, so I would surmise that he will need a substantial load on even on one leg to further provoke adaptation.

            Cheer, Will!

            (P.S. not really a Bosu fan, just maybe as previously described as a light proprioceptive enhancer, on the path to more conventional lifts….OK, must go now!!)

      2. Will Arias

        Thanks Bret And Derrick for your responses and ideas. However, here is my point: Bret, i saw your KB SL RDL with bracing and these are my humble conclusions:

        • Holding from the bench might sort the “balance” issue but there is also less chance to assess weaknesses and/or stimulate neutralisers and stabilisers.

        • Do you see how your big toe is pointing out, indicating external rotation of the hip? Well, i reckon, and back in up myself after reading other great authors (and personal experimentation), the bracing technique not necessarily suggest that the hinge is being more effective in terms of ROM or recruiting more activity in the hamstrings and adductor group in the process.

        • Also, such external rotation suggest that the Spinal extensors, particularly the QL and the multifidi, are not being encourage to work evenly, as the uneven high of the hips suggest.

        • While performing SL RDL’s, the glut max is still the main mover , of course. Nevertheless, by keeping one leg in the air, one of the goals is also to make the knee stabilisers like VMO and GLUTEUS MEDIUS to work a bit harder but such value is ostensibly reduce by grabbing a bench for the sake of controlling the “balance factor”.

        • In fact, an hypothetical KB SL RDL without bracing would be detrimental rather tan helpful if the goal is avoid the inner the valgus collapse. On the other hand, The Single leg barbell RDL is actually suited to contribute in that purpose, as the knee stabilisers must fire up in order to maintain the hips even, which mechanically helps to keep the “standing” knee away from tracking inwards.

        • A single leg RDL doesn’t imply simply lifting the leg up, but controlling an even hinge where both iliac crests remain at the same height. It is all about being able to maintain the spine as neutral as possible under “continued tension”, something that is not gonna happen by putting the “free” leg , up in the air, in a “ballerina” kind of fashion”. In fact, after training a few professional dancers, one of the things that has been catching my attention is that many of them are educated with a particular idea of hinge which basically looks as follows: uneven hips in order to lift the “free” leg as straight and high as possible.

        • On the other hand, working single leg at the time doesn’t mean that the ratio of loading, compared to the the classic RDL, should lowered to sissy loading. In that video, Bret clearly is managing a very decent amount of resistance (maybe a 50 kilos KB or even more?). The fact if that, once you master the SL barbell RDL, you will be able to manage more than your bodyweight x 10 reps or even half your Deadlift 1RM with strict form (which is something i’ve never seen before with a KB)
        • Lack of balance should not be a reason to stop coaches from prescribing the SL RDLS’s. In the same way strength is matter of neural adaptation and muscular growth relies on time under tension, proprioception is highly trainable. Training stabilisers mainly relies in the capacity to maintain balance under disturbance. Such disturbance doesn’t mean necessarily standing of a bubbly surface but working transversal loadings under tension, something that both feet on the floor can not achieve as efficiently. The place to build stability is the gym floor, not the soccer pitch or any other sporting field.

        • Finally, Derrick, i’ve been following your educated concepts and contributions to this site. However, In regards to the BOSU work, truly, i’ve prescribed it before but regulating it within a rehabilitation model, as the unstable surface obviously will assist athletes or patients rehabilitating and/or with poor talocrurial mobility, but it would be less effective from a purely S&C point of view. Nevertheless, you don’t “train for balance”. The balance must be part of a specific purpose.

        In conclusion, i reckon we should stop blaming the “balance factor” as a limitation and start performing more single leg exercises as a real and trusty ingredient to enhance athletic performance.

        it’s not about knocking off exercises or people beliefs, as the real problem is when the movements are bad prescribed or poorly executed. In other words, one thing is one the client/athlete/patient wants but, most importantly, what he/she needs according to the physiological structure and functional needs. Thanks for reading so patiently my 2 cents worth opinion…

        Ah, last thing, according to you, which ones are the ideal strength proportions or ratios between Powerlifting Deadlift, Neutral Spine Deadlift, RDL’s and Goodmorning for men and women? It seems there are some Broscience versions in that matter, but not too much reliable scientific research. Again, thanks a lot. Will

        Reply
      3. Will Arias

        Will Arias
        August 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm
        Brofessor Bret, how about torque ratio or load “sticky” point during Single Leg RDL? as you probably would say, “that is a total different animal” given variables like balance, stability and proprioception requirements that might affect ROM and TUT of main movers that might be affected by the “intervention” QL stability to preserve “evenness” on hips high; and, Glut Med and VMO firing to stabilise the knee, so as to avoid valgus collapse; and, even sufficient elasticity on add magnus and hip rotators… ah, plus let alone higher ankle mobility requirements… (Anyway, i feel like a parrot running out of breath) I wonder if any of your EMG experiments or any other scientific research could provide some ratios (in terms of recruitment of Erectors spine, Glut max and hamstrings) between SLRDL and Goodmornings or standard RDL, as obviously stabilisers have the edge when doing one leg exercises… By the way, the end of your video-lecture was very commanding and stylish Cheers, Will

        Reply

        Bret
        August 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm
        Will, I actually prefer the single leg RDL with bracing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOgvC6OEEw

        Most coaches who employ the single leg RDL have their guys using such light loads due to balance issues. There aren’t many athletes using over 185 for these as they cause most lifters to squirm all over and lose their balance. At least that’s my experience. So the balance challenge will prevent maximal prime mover muscle activation and torque output.

        I’ve only seen one guy – Max Shanks – perform an insane single leg RDL. But with bracing, people do much better. I’ve used heavy kb’s for these and even the plateau buster: http://www.strongergrip.com/kettlebell-alternative-solutions/plateau-buster-swing-handle/

        Reply

        Derrick Blanton
        August 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm
        Well as long as we’re going to try and think stuff through! (I feel a rant coming on…)

        Take it a step further, and tease it out. When you start really questioning conventional wisdom, what you are doing, and why you are doing it, sometimes it all starts to fall apart.

        Why would you stabilize the back leg for a BSS to derive an enhanced strength training effect, and then reverse your logic, and let the back leg float freely on a single leg RDL?

        Did you not want to train the unilateral hamstring move for strength as well?

        Oh, you wanted to focus more on the balance end of things? Right. Then why not ditch the BSS, and perform a high box single leg SQ, off leg dangling as well?

        Who made up the rules for why one lift merits more support, and the other merits more balance?

        Are you training balance? If balance, then train the hell out of your balance! Elevate the leg off the ground. Do it on a Bosu pad. Progress the load to unstable implements, like buckets of water.

        Or are you trying to train unilateral strength, i.e. bring up a weak limb? If strength, use an offset stance, both feet grounded. Will destroy the front plant leg, which the CNS will now allow to fire maximally, since you are not going to fall on your ass.

        Or use the little roller BSS stand for RDL’s too, if you just have a hard on about raising the leg off the ground.

        I suspect it’s b/c it’s too challenging to load three plates a side for a high box unsupported single leg SQ, and that won’t look as cool for all the bro’s.

        (Btw, wasn’t one of the whole selling points of single leg work to spare the spine? 315 with a back leg resting precariously on a little roller….Safer? Hmmm..)

        And finally, Ian King, one of the early, old school proponents of single leg work, never intended for the off leg to be raised back in a line with the torso.

        http://kingsportsint.blogspot.com/search?q=single+leg+form

        Preach it, Brother King!

        Alrighty then! Rant over. Next time, we’ll discuss the side plank, and explore about 8-different exercises that are more effective and don’t have the added “benefit” of irritating the shit out of your lateral knee ligaments.

        It’s what I do, people….It’s what I do….:)

        Reply

        Will Arias
        August 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm
        Thanks Bret And Derrick for your responses and ideas. However, here is my point: Bret, i saw your KB SL RDL with bracing and these are my humble conclusions:

        • Holding from the bench might sort the “balance” issue but there is also less chance to assess weaknesses and/or stimulate neutralisers and stabilisers.

        • Do you see how your big toe is pointing out, indicating external rotation of the hip? Well, i reckon, and back in up myself after reading other great authors (and personal experimentation), the bracing technique not necessarily suggest that the hinge is being more effective in terms of ROM or recruiting more activity in the hamstrings and adductor group in the process.

        • Also, such external rotation suggest that the Spinal extensors, particularly the QL and the multifidi, are not being encourage to work evenly, as the uneven high of the hips suggest.

        • While performing SL RDL’s, the glut max is still the main mover , of course. Nevertheless, by keeping one leg in the air, one of the goals is also to make the knee stabilisers like VMO and GLUTEUS MEDIUS to work a bit harder but such value is ostensibly reduce by grabbing a bench for the sake of controlling the “balance factor”.

        • In fact, an hypothetical KB SL RDL without bracing would be detrimental rather tan helpful if the goal is avoid the inner the valgus collapse. On the other hand, The Single leg barbell RDL is actually suited to contribute in that purpose, as the knee stabilisers must fire up in order to maintain the hips even, which mechanically helps to keep the “standing” knee away from tracking inwards.

        • A single leg RDL doesn’t imply simply lifting the leg up, but controlling an even hinge where both iliac crests remain at the same height. It is all about being able to maintain the spine as neutral as possible under “continued tension”, something that is not gonna happen by putting the “free” leg , up in the air, in a “ballerina” kind of fashion”. In fact, after training a few professional dancers, one of the things that has been catching my attention is that many of them are educated with a particular idea of hinge which basically looks as follows: uneven hips in order to lift the “free” leg as straight and high as possible.

        • On the other hand, working single leg at the time doesn’t mean that the ratio of loading, compared to the the classic RDL, should lowered to sissy loading. In that video, Bret clearly is managing a very decent amount of resistance (maybe a 50 kilos KB or even more?). The fact if that, once you master the SL barbell RDL, you will be able to manage more than your bodyweight x 10 reps or even half your Deadlift 1RM with strict form (which is something i’ve never seen before with a KB)
        • Lack of balance should not be a reason to stop coaches from prescribing the SL RDLS’s. In the same way strength is matter of neural adaptation and muscular growth relies on time under tension, proprioception is highly trainable. Training stabilisers mainly relies in the capacity to maintain balance under disturbance. Such disturbance doesn’t mean necessarily standing of a bubbly surface but working transversal loadings under tension, something that both feet on the floor can not achieve as efficiently. The place to build stability is the gym floor, not the soccer pitch or any other sporting field.

        • Finally, Derrick, i’ve been following your educated concepts and contributions to this site. However, In regards to the BOSU work, truly, i’ve prescribed it before but regulating it within a rehabilitation model, as the unstable surface obviously will assist athletes or patients rehabilitating and/or with poor talocrurial mobility, but it would be less effective from a purely S&C point of view. Nevertheless, you don’t “train for balance”. The balance must be part of a specific purpose.

        In conclusion, i reckon we should stop blaming the “balance factor” as a limitation and start performing more single leg exercises as a real and trusty ingredient to enhance athletic performance.

        it’s not about knocking off exercises or people beliefs, as the real problem is when the movements are bad prescribed or poorly executed. In other words, one thing is one the client/athlete/patient wants but, most importantly, what he/she needs according to the physiological structure and functional needs. Thanks for reading so patiently my 2 cents worth opinion…

        Ah, last thing, according to you, which ones are the ideal strength proportions or ratios between Powerlifting Deadlift, Neutral Spine Deadlift, RDL’s and Goodmorning for men and women? It seems there are some Broscience versions in that matter, but not too much reliable scientific research. Again, thanks a lot. Will

        Reply
  11. Claudia

    I actually love the end, very Monty Python of you Bret, cheers to that. As always a nice clear presentation.

    Reply
  12. Matt Jennings

    Excellent presentation, brother Bret! If you implement these three movements on different training days, and are cognizant of the post training DOMS effect of each…The above explanation pans out the relevant response to each movement. Hey man, we all appreciate the immense amount of hard work you put into the research…You help make us better coaches! Thanks & Peace-Matt

    Reply
  13. Mike

    Hey Brett, a couple questions. 1) Is there a minimum strength or screening you do to make sure someone is ready for a horizontal back extension?

    2) You did a t-nation article that found it’s mainly the hamstrings that get worked on a glute ham machine. It seems like with a back extension using straight legs like you showed it would use even less glutes and more hamstrings. Wouldn’t this and all the exercises shown be mostly hamstring and not glutes with the legs all straight?

    Reply
  14. Kenny Croxdale

    Bret,

    Great article. Now some observations and questions.

    As a Powerlifter, I utilizes heavy Good Mornings to train my Deadlift. I use Accommodating Resistance, usually attaching bungees and sometime chains.

    What are your thoughts?

    It seems to me the addition of bungees, bands and/or chain would provide overloading in the bottom position of the Good Morning (as as per your article), as well as the mid range.

    Not much loading would occur at the top end.

    Reverse Hyperextension Good Morning

    Lawrence De Avila came up with this years ago. Lawrence eventually wrote a good article with picture about it in Powerlifting USA.

    The Reverse Hyperextension Good Morning is a fantastic movement for working the posterior chain. You are probably familiar with it.

    In performing the Reverse Hyperextension Good Morning, it appears to me the strength curve simulates the 45 Degree Back Raise.

    What are you thoughts on that.

    Thanks,

    Kenny Croxdale, CSCS

    Reply

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