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Benefits of the Good Morning & (Awesome Hamstring & Back Workout)

The Good Morning exercise gets a bad rap. Some think it's just a Squat gone wrong. Others look at the movement and cringe at the thought of what holding a heavy bar with your torso nearly parallel to the ground is doing to your back.

No doubt, these are legitimate concerns. Unless you have years of intense weightlifting experience, the move does look like a Squat with a less-than-ideal torso position. And it can cause injury if you're not careful.

Fun fact: The Good Morning got its name because the movement is similar to bowing at the waist to say "good morning."

If you never directly train your lower back and strengthen it, you are leaving your body vulnerable with a Huge Weak Link. A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.
So if never train your back and then find yourself in a real world situation where you have to lift or move something heavy, your lower back will be the first area to get injured because it’s been neglected and naturally weak from never being trained.

Don’t let your lower back be the weak link!
The key to doing the Good Morning (or any exercise for that matter) is to start off light and build up the weights gradually over time with progressive overload. You have to master perfect form with light weights before attempting to lift heavier.

The most important technique tip when doing Good Mornings is to maintain an arch in your lower back at all times. When you round your lower back with any exercise that places your back in a vulnerable position for injury. But when you keep your back arched it is in its strongest position.

Benefits of the Good Morning

The Good Morning is classified as a hip hinge exercise, meaning the primary movement comes from hinging your hips—what in common terms is called bending at the waist. This puts it in the same category as the RDL, Kettlebell Swing and Pull-Through. It targets the posterior chain muscles—the glutes, lower back and hamstrings—but it also strengthens other back muscles.

If you look closely at the exercise, it's extremely similar to an RDL except for the bar position. The hips do most of the work in a movement that finishes with your torso nearly parallel to the ground. But holding the bar on your back is what makes the Good Morning such an effective, yet challenging exercise.

"Because the bar is loaded above the center of mass, unlike an RDL, it creates a biomechanically disadvantageous position," explains Joel Seedman, an exercise physiologist and owner of AdvancedHumanPerformance.com. "It really creates strong engagement of the entire posterior chain, all the muscles of the back, all the spinal stabilizers that prevent spinal flexion."

Strengthening these muscles can help you overcome a weakness that might be holding you back in your Squat and Deadlift.

"When most people are squatting and deadlifting, it should be their legs that get you first, but it rarely is," Seedman says. "It's usually their low back, upper back or spinal stabilizers. If you feel like your back has a tendency to give out, Good Mornings are one of the best exercises to address that."

Also, Good Mornings reinforce the hip hinge, which is important for squatting and deadlifting.

"It's really good for teaching those optimal hip hinge mechanics and really working the posterior chain," Seedman says. "It teaches you how to sit the hips back."

How to Perform the Good Morning


Position barbell on back of shoulders and grasp bar to sides.


Keeping back straight, bend hips to lower torso forward until parallel to floor. Raise torso until hips are extended. Repeat.