Advanced Exercises with Eastern European Names: Part 4

By Tony Boutagy

Polish Good Mornings

Single-leg good mornings are not a favoured choice amongst strength coaches because the movement cannot be loaded to any high degree – the weight on the shoulders, of course, would tip any strong athlete over. Polish weightlifters got around this problem by placing their working leg on a low step and keeping their non-working leg on the ground. The movement is then performed like a standard good morning and excels at correcting erector spinae imbalances.

Primary muscles used:
The hamstrings, adductors and erectors.

Set up:
*Stand in front of a low box, that is around knee height or lower;
*Place one leg up on the step, put a 20 degree angle in the knee and then turn the body and the non-working leg away by 30-40 degrees

*Keep the chest up and shoot the hips back;
*The movement only occurs in the hips and not the spine, therefore, only go as far as neutral curvature can be maintained in the lumbar spine;
*Although the working leg is set out to the side, the torso bends forward, towards and in line with the non-working leg and not towards the working leg.

*Push the hips forward and drive the chest up

Key Points
*Keep the abdominals tight throughout the entire movement;
*Inhale or hold your breath during the descent;
*Don’t perform if you have the limited flexibility of my 60 year old father who has never stretched a day in his life!

Australian strength coach Mark McKean is famous for saying, you must ‘earn the right’ to use these advanced movements. Performing any difficult exercise with a high level of complexity requires that a client has demonstrated skill mastery on less complicated movements and has sufficient strength and flexibility before attempting any of these soviet bad boys.

Tony Boutagy is a strength coach based in Sydney, Australia. He is the director of the Sydney Sports & Athletic Performance Centre and a doctoral student at ACU. Visit his website at

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