Friday, February 5, 2010

Squatting In The Morning

Q: Is squatting in the morning bad?

A: We all do what we have to do - training time, coaching, and space might not be something we can dictate, so if you have to train first thing in the morning, then that's what you have to do. But, the lower back is at greater risk of injury from load bearing activities immediately after waking. Most people are aware that the spine relaxes and the spinal discs absorb fluid and lengthen while sleeping. It is not uncommon to be a full inch taller in the morning.

Neo contemplated hitting the squat racks or going back to sleep.

So what? So, in "squat-speak", if you are normally a high-bar squatter, you'll be essentially doing a Manta-Ray squat first thing in the morning. If you are a low-bar squatter, your lower back is doing high-bar squats when you first wake up, whether you like it or not.

Does this mean you can't squat or train intensely in the morning? No, but if possible you should wake a little earlier to give yourself time to properly warm-up for your training.

Q: What should I do differently to warm-up if I decide to squat in the morning?

A: In my opinion, taking extra time to do some extra stretches and mobility work, and extra lower intensity warm-up sets preceding the main work sets would be a good place to start. Form is always paramount, but in the morning the body may be even less patient with small errors and inconsistencies - make sure that you are attentive.


Markus said...

As always but especially in the morning care for proper hydration prior to training. I strongly agree to pay extra special attention to warm-up and form. Waiting an hour or so until you spine is somewhat 'setup for the stress' might be recommended.

Boris said...

Totally agree Markus.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what qualifies as early. Being more concrete, let's say I wake up at about 6:30, get the kids ready for school, drop them off, and get to the gym at 8:30.

Thanks for such a great blog.

Boris said...

Thank YOU.

If you've been up and moving for a solid hour or two, that would be infinitely better than going to the gym immediately after waking IMO.

Boris T. said...

Boris, I agree with you.

But I personally find that some of my best workouts happen with in 45-60min after waking up at around 6am. Again this is not a solid rule but as of late I've found energy and stamina at that time that I lack later in the day.

Boris said...

I've had good workouts at all times of the day. Right now, all of my workouts are after 9pm - I prefer late afternoon, but we do what we have to. No research to support my opinion, but I think the lower back will handle ballistic-like efforts better than grinds in the morning.

Jill said...

Hey Boris,
I have just watched all of your squat videos and they are SO helpful. Thank you. I am really struggling with my form on squats and DLs. I am feet tall, with long legs, and not very flexible in the ankles and hips (I think) and so I have such a hard time. I was taught to do them with feet shoulder width apart. Should I move my feet wider to try and get lower? I feel like I can't get low enough to activate my glutes. So, I am working hard but not really getting to the muscles I am trying to work! Any help would be most appreciated!

Jill said...

oops... six feet tall...

Boris said...

Hi Jill. Taking a wider stance would alleviate some issues, exacerbate others. Can't say it would be a bad idea or not however without working with you, or at least seeing you squat.

You could try wider stance arched back good mornings - unless you are doing them horribly, you will feel them in the glutes and it could be an activation drill to try. BUT, I think working on your ankle and hip mobility would be the smart place to start.

Let me know how things progress.