Hip stability on single leg is built on a foundation of bilateral lumbo-pelvic control in the saggital plane so the Mastery Theme depends on the progress made through the Hinge Exercise Category. External resistance is obviously lower on single leg but the coordination demand is much higher and this skill set is critically relevant to the vast majority of sports.
What changes as we move from standing on 2 legs to 1 leg?
In a single leg stance the local stabilisers of the hip (gluteus medius, gluteus minimus) become the focal point of failure controlling the pelvis in the frontal (anti-adduction) and transverse (anti-rotation) planes provide a stability for the oblique system to support these rotational demands. The tiny gluteal muscles have a foundational role in athletic function both upstream to the upper body and downstream all the way to the foot. While playing a fundamental role in pelvis alignment they simultaneously dictate the entire posture of the stance leg via the Hubscher Reflex. An almighty task.
What is the progression from Good Morning on Single Leg to Romanian Deadlift on Single Leg?
All Good Morning variations provide a positive constraint which encourages braced lumbar neutral which disappears with Romanian Deadlift variations. Barbell in hand now provides a distraction load on the shoulder, forcing the athlete to defend a quality shoulder position (scapula retraction-posterior tilt and a centred humeral head in the glenoid fossa). The question now is whether a stable pelvis and lumbar spine exist for the shoulder girdle to integrate with?
Collision of Competencies:
Like many of our Mastery Themes, the Hinge Category require competencies from across our entire movement hierarchy:
Previously the Good Morning on SL required…
- Stance leg posture learned in the single leg Exercise Categories (especially the Step Category-see the Hubscher Reflex post)
- Trunk: Anti-Extension positioning and strength.
- Trunk: Spiral Lines activation and strengthening of the anterior oblique sling.
The Romanian Deadlift on SL has the additional demands of…
- The 4 Upper Body competencies (especially Hz Pulling) to dictate how the shoulder handles heavy distraction loads later in the Mastery Theme.
The Good Morning on Single Leg
Here we regress coordination demands for both the shoulder and saggital plane lumbo-pelvic from Fundamental and Challenge theme to provide a stepping stone to the most complex Hinge Progressions.
Like all Good Morning variations, the Single Leg Good Morning provide a positive constraint on lumbar spine posture and encourage optimal lumbo-pelvic Control in the Hinge pattern. With bar on back, shoulder stability is also out of consideration here allowing us to focus directly on the ability of the hip to provide stability both up and down-stream.
In the absence of good hip strength and coordination, we’ll commonly see the non-stance side of the pelvis rotate upwards as the hip seeks stability through shorter gluteal muscle lengths. We may also see a valgus posture of the stance leg as the overwhelmed hip external rotator muscles are pulled into longer lengths in a more passive hip stability strategy.
With Braced Lumbar Neutral enforced via the bar-on-back, we have the freedom to focus on pelvis positioning and cue the athlete to ‘grip the floor between big toe and heel’ to create an anchor point at the arch of the foot. From this anchor point, the gluteal muscles can externally rotate and provide active stability at the hip and pelvis. It’s worth noting that the foot provides the only anchor point for generating whole body stability, hence the importance of the excellent proximal hip control.