My husband once told me a story about a very, very strong guy. I’m pretty sure he was a bodybuilder. One of those giant jacked and tan dudes.
This behemoth was mighty in the gym. But he leaned over to tie his shoes one day and wrenched his back, keeping him out of the gym for weeks.
Why? Because it’s not enough to be strong in a single plane with a limited degree of range of motion.
To have healthy joints, you need stability. To have stability, you have to have strength and control in the entirety of the range of motion of the joint. Particularly at the end ranges of motion.
Think about the olympic lifts. Think about where you catch a heavy clean. Is it just below parallel? Hell no! If it’s very heavy, you’re catching it at the bottom of a front squat. Olympic lifters need strength and flexibility to reach those positions and to get in and out of them with power.
So you don’t just have to be strong. You need to be strong and mobile and stable from one end range of motion to the other for most of your joints.
Which brings me to this fascinating exercise, the pancake good morning.
Like the Sots press, it takes any and all hip drive out of the equation which can be humbling when you can’t load it as heavy as you would the standing version of the exercise. But it also highlights any limitations you have in hip mobility and stability.
When I tried it, my hamstrings seemed to be the limiting factor. I couldn’t go face to grass like some of the videos on All Things Gym (seen here) nor could I do them with a completely flat back.
But even with just 55lbs, I was sore in my hammies the next day. And now I have something new I need to work on in terms of optimizing my lifts through better range of motion.
If you look back through some of my old posts (for example, here) you can see where I built a better lockout overhead by building my shoulder strength in a variety of ways, not just barbell presses.
What are your limitations? What are you doing to fix them? Let me know!