Good morning exercise: How to do it appropriately?

good morning exercise

Good morning exercise can look like a nightmare to the untrained eye. The barbell is placed across your shoulders, and you then bend down to balance it. This description may make you wince.

The good morning can be an excellent move to improve your back health if you have a solid spine alignment and perfect form. It strengthens your core and lower-back muscles and helps to stretch and strengthen your hamstrings. It is an excellent move for athletes, office workers, and marathon runners.

Have you ever heard of it before? This guide will help you. Scroll down to find out how to do the good morning exercise with good form. Also, what benefits will you get from including it in your exercise routine?

What is a good morning exercise? How to do them correctly

good morning workout

Although no one knows the origin of good morning exercise, it is well-known that strong men and early physical culture were the first to use it.

This exercise is said to have been named because it looks like someone bowing to say “good day.”

You perform a good day by placing a barbell on the upper back of your body, similar to a sit-up. Next, move forward with your hips and hinging toward your hips until you are just above parallel. You can then reverse the movement to get back to the original position.

Good morning exercise benefits

Good mornings can be a great way to strengthen your lower back and make it more resilient if done correctly. It is also a great isolation exercise because of the pulling motion.

This move targets your hamstrings first, but it also works other muscles. Your gluteus maximus, adductor Magnus, and erector spunae work together as synergists. The stabilizer is the erector spine.

As antagonist stabilizers, your rectus abdominis and obliques are essential. Good mornings can be an excellent way for leg, hip, and back strength to engage these muscle groups.

How to do good morning exercise

The bodyweight version is a good morning exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands behind your head, and your hands in front of your head. Standing straight up, brace your core, and pull your shoulders back.

Keep your back straight while you take a deep breath. You can feel a stretch in your hamstrings, but don’t go too far forward. Then, exhale and reverse the movement to stand straight.

You can incorporate a resistance band by standing on one side of a sizeable looped bracelet with both feet. Then, bring the other end of the loop to your head and place it on your shoulders.

As you move to a lighter barbell, place it on your back, not your neck. You will perform the same exercise with the bodyweight barbell. To ensure that the bar doesn’t press against your neck, keep your grip tight and pull it towards your shoulder.

No matter what version of good morning you’re doing, don’t crane your neck forwards while you lean forwards.

Keep your spine neutral and look forward as you stand. Look towards the floor when you lower. To maintain balance, push your hips back and drive them forwards. It will allow you to get back to standing.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Standing shoulder-width apart, place your feet on the ground.
  2. You can place a barbell of the appropriate weight on your shoulders. Begin with a lighter mass if you are just beginning the exercise. The bar ought to rest on the trapezius muscles in your upper back, near your shoulders.
  3. Relax abdominal muscles and take a deep breath.
  4. Inhale and hinge your hips. You should feel like you are pulling your hips backward (as if you were trying to close a car door using your butt) or pretending that someone is wrapping a rope around your hips.
  5. Focus on your back and inhale. As you lift from the ground, keep your arch in place.
  6. Inhale. Keep your chest and head up. Make sure you don’t turn your back inward.
  7. As you return to your beginning position, inhale slowly.

Your goals will determine how many sets and reps are necessary. Ask your coach or trainer for specific recommendations. A good starting point is three sets of three reps if you are just getting started.

How does the Good Morning Workout work?

The good morning exercise engages the muscles of the posterior chain. These run along your backside and include your hamstrings and glutes. Your core is also worked. It is how each muscle or group contributes to this exercise.


In reality, the term “hamstrings” refers to three muscles on each leg’s back: the semitendinosus and semimembranosus. These muscles flex the knee and extend your hip.


The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three gluteus muscles found in each butt cheek. It also includes the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

The largest of the three, the gluteus maximus, is responsible for the shape of your booty. It also helps to extend your hips. Gluteus medius (or gluteus minimus) is responsible for the abduction of the thigh.


Most people don’t know that your glutes are part of the core should be focused on hip extension during the good morning.

The rest of your core muscles will engage in stabilizing your spine. The key players include the rectus abdominals (or your “abs”), traverse abdominis, which wraps around your abdomen and is commonly referred to as your inner “weight belt.”

These are the obliques running down your sides and the Erector Spinae, located along the spine.

Erector Spinae

Because of its central role in the exercise, this part of your core deserves a special mention. The nine muscles in this muscle group run from the base of the skull to your pelvis.

Their primary function is to stabilize and extend the spine. The latter process is critical when you’re performing a good morning routine.

Common Mistakes

You’re Overdoing It

Your flexibility in the posterior chain (hamstrings and glutes) will determine how low you can go. You want to increase your fitness and challenge yourself gradually, but don’t push too hard.

This exercise is not meant to be done if you are unable to lose weight.

Your form is poor

Ensure you have good form before you start lifting weights.

You aren’t being warmed up.

The biggest mistake you can make in weight training is before you touch a single pound. You risk injury or straining your muscles if you don’t get adequately warmed up. You can put others around you at risk if you lift weights in a crowded gym.

Modifications and Variations

Do you need a modification?

To practice correct form, start with an empty barbell. Start with light weights, and then progressively increase your weight as you gain strength.

You can also do this exercise from a seated location. Although the standing version of the lift will not give you the same workout, sitting on a bench is excellent for strengthening your core muscles.

Are you up for a challenge?

You can gain strength and confidence by adding weight. You can raise the amount of your exercise by adding weight slowly, but there are other options.

  • Deeper bend: When lifting heavier weights, bending your knees further will increase the stretch, protect your lower back and make it easier to lift safely.
  • You can adjust your stance to suit your weight. Broader perspectives work your glutes, while narrower views put your hamstrings to the test.
  • Good morning exercise, single-legged: You can lift on just one leg if you are at an advanced level. This variation should not be attempted unless you’re light enough, have someone to watch you, and wear the proper footwear. It takes focus, stability, strength, and balance to lift the weight on one leg.

Safety and Precautions

To protect your lower back, good mornings require careful attention to form. Weight training safety is essential in all exercises.

However, your lower back is the main focus of good morning exercise, so you could be at risk for injury if you do not follow the proper form or execute an activity correctly.

Be mindful of your goals but realistic about your physical abilities. Do not allow yourself to gain weight quickly.

It is crucial to have the correct equipment and gear for safety. You should always have the proper footwear and stable feet, whether you are practicing at home or in the gym.

Before you start or increase your weight training program, make sure to consult with your doctor. Good morning exercises are a great way to start weight training.

Although your trainer may suggest modifications, you should avoid heavy lifting if possible.

  • Are you pregnant?
  • Are you hurt or recovering from an injury to the spine, back or neck?
  • Recent surgery on your abdomen or pelvis, knees, arms, neck.

Good Morning Workout Move Variations

The movement pattern for the excellent morning move is the same in all variations. The difficulty and hamstring strains of the action will depend on how you load it.

Classic Good Morning

How to do it

A. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your toes pointed forward, and your knees slightly bent. Your hands had better not be touching your chest, but they should be straight down. Wickham suggests that you should not place your hands over your head or behind your head as this can cause your back to become twisted.

B. Brace your midline and hinge at the hips. Push butt straight back and keep lower legs parallel to the floor.

C. Keep your back flat and continue to lower torso towards the floor until you sense a stretch in hamstrings or your back starts to round.

D. Push into your feet and drive through your hips to reverse the movement. Use your hamstrings core and stand straight. At the top, squeeze your glutes.

Good morning back exercise

Ever done a barbell back squat? The barbell should be in its back-loaded position when you do a barbell back squat. The barbell should be in the same place for a back-loaded good day.

It’s important to mention that you can use a PVC pipe for a practice exercise. It will allow you to feel like you are doing a morning workout with a barbell. If you’re at home, then use a broom handle.

You have two options to get the barbell onto your back once you are ready. Either set up a squat rack to unload the bar, just like you would with a back squat. If the barbell is light enough, you could power-clean it into the front rack position.

It means that the barbell is held in front of you to run horizontally across the top of your chest and rests on the shoulders. Push the bar upwards and lower it behind you so it rests on your upper back.

Note: Lifting the barbell off the rack is more straightforward and helps you lift more weight. We’ll discuss this option in steps A to B. The excellent morning movement is the last step.

A. Squat rack or “rig” is a bar that you place on your traps or rear deltoids. To unrack the bar, straighten your legs.

B. Place your feet hip-width apart and keep your toes straight. By inserting your pinkies into the bar, activate the upper back.

C. Brace at the midline, bend at your waist, and press butt back as you lower your torso towards the floor.

D. Keep lowering your chest until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or until your chest is parallel to the ground.

E. Keep your abs engaged and activate glutes, hamstrings to get back to standing.

Good Morning Front Loaded

You can still lift light-weighted weights if you don’t own a barbell but have a dumbbell, kettlebell, or medicine ball (or any other household item) that you have.

Start small. A 5-pound plate, dumbbell, or kettlebell is a good starting point. If you favor exercising at home, you can also use a hardcover book. You can get stronger and start to do morning exercises with dumbbells of moderate weight.

A. Stand with leg hip-width apart, holding a weight goblet-style (vertically) in both hands in front of the chest, elbows tucked in toward ribcage.

B. Brace core, bend knees slightly, and then push hips back while keeping your back straight.

C. Stop the movement when you feel a stretch in your hips or your core starts to fatigue. Press your feet down and drive through your hips back to standing.

Seated good morning exercise

Standing with your peach in your hand makes your hamstrings more prominent than standing. It also prioritizes your glutes, lower back, and hips more. It is a productive way to warm up for heavy squats.

A. Place your feet shoulder-width apart while you sit down.

B. Brace core. Drive your feet into the floor with your glutes. Keep your torso as tight as possible so that it is parallel to the floor.

C. Push through the floor, active hamstrings, and midline to get back to where you were before.

Banded Good Morning exercise

This version is gentle on the spine and great for hamstring and glute exercises at the end of a set of 20 reps.

Dumbbell Good Morning

It is a beginner’s version of the Good Morning exercise. You will need to hold a dumbbell at your chest. It is a great way to learn the movement and perform high reps.

Zercher Good Morning

In the “Zercher” position, hold a barbell in front of your body. It takes the stress off your spine. It places the weight on your front side (think abs). While strengthening your glutes as well as your hamstrings, it also strengthens your glutes.

Isometric or Eccentric Good Morning

Slowly reduce the weight. Pause at the bottom for between 2-7 seconds, then explode up.

Single-Leg Good Morning

This version of Good Morning is exceptionally challenging, as you are only able to use one leg. It will reveal any weakness or imbalance and help you to improve it.

Good Morning Tips: Sets, Reps, and Loading

The volume and weight you use for good mornings depend entirely on your goals.

Relatively lightweight good mornings are a great way to add a hinge movement to your program.

If you’re new to exercise, it is a good idea to start slowly. You can use a standard barbell with no extra weight, broomstick, or PVC pipe until you feel confident, then add weight. You can experiment with 95-135 lbs for several sets of 8-10 reps if you have some fitness experience. Next time, add more plates.

Good mornings are not a primary lift for lifters. It’s more of an assist or “secondary lift” to increase lower back strength and improve deadlifts and squats. Some people use it to warm up their lower back and glutes.

You can do the heavy lifting if you have strength goals or are a powerlifter.

Keep in mind, however, that even powerlifters are not trained to lift heavy loads. If your max squat weight is 315 pounds, you will use approximately 190 pounds to lift heavy good mornings.

Other powerlifters also discovered the same benefits with lower weights.

Be careful and use caution.

Other Good Morning Variations

These good morning variations are a great alternative to the standard version if you feel stuck.

  • Cambered safety bars or cambered good mornings
  • Good morning workout with bands or chains (accommodating resistance).
  • You can choose to do dead-stop or bottom-up good mornings. Start from the bottom with the barbell resting on a power rack or suspending from chains. It will ensure that you can Dwight entirely in between reps.

Another option is to sit on a bench or box and perform your good mornings. The standing version will be the same, but you’ll take a wider stance and lower your torso. You can also drive your feet into the ground while remaining seated.

Four good morning exercise benefits & Muscles Working

good morning exercise benefits

1.     A Stronger Posterior Chain

The subsequent chain is a set of muscles that runs from your base to your heels.

A solid and explosive posterior chain is crucial for athletic performance such as sprinting, jumping, throwing, and many other activities.

Although good morning workouts don’t necessarily lead to a more robust posterior chain, they are a great choice. This exercise will stimulate your hamstrings and train your posterior chain to produce more power.

2.     A more stable lower back

What makes it so challenging to do a good morning workout?

Good-morning exercise can place a lot of stress on your lower back because it is a hinge movement with a fixed position (on your upper back).

You must resist the shearing force and arch your lower back.

It’s also the best exercise for powerlifters looking to strengthen their lower back.

To build core strength, you can combine moderate-weight to good heavy mornings and heavy ab exercises.

3.     Healthier Glutes

Good morning workouts are a hinge movement that requires a lot of hip drive.

Your glutes will get a great workout when your hips are used to generate force.

You can use other exercises to build your glutes. However, good-morning exercises are the best.

4.     You can deadlift and squat harder.

Did you know that powerlifters are fond of good morning workouts?

Good mornings are often associated with powerlifting because they’re excellent for building a strong lower back resistance to injury.

Good morning workouts are a significant way to break through strength plateaus because of weak lower backs that hinder your progress in deadlifts and squats.

Try fixing your weak spots with good mornings if you are having difficulty with deadlifts or heavy squats.

How to make your Good Morning Exercises Easier

The bodyweight version is the simplest. Before adding external loads (e.g., dumbbells, weight plates, or barbells), you should first master the movement pattern.

You do not have the power or mobility to lower your body until it is almost parallel to the ground. Instead, use the perfect form to reduce it as far you can.

How to make the Good Morning Exercise more difficult

Thieme suggests that you increase the difficulty of your good morning by using a resistance band or dumbbells.

  • Good morning Resistance band: Standing in the middle of the band, holding one hand at each end with your feet together. It will create a slight tension.
  • Good morning dumbbells: With one hand, hold a dumbbell at each side. Keep your palms in front of each other. As you lower your torso, keep the dumbbells near your legs.
  • Good morning, barbell! Place a barbell on each shoulder with your hands at the same distance.
  • Good morning Zercher: Place a barbell on your back against your sternum. Be aware: This variation can be very technical and will put a lot of strain on your core. It can be a good thing if you are ready to do it.

You can perform the good-bye on one leg, lowering your torso towards the floor and raising your non-supporting foot behind you. To maintain stability, this variation requires more core activation.

Bonus Tips for the Good Morning Exercise

Thieme explains that the three most essential things for performing this move correctly include engaging your core, keeping your back flat, and pushing your hips forward to start the movement.

It helps to picture yourself closing a door with your stomach. There would be only a slight bend in your knees, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re bending over. It will cause you to lose balance.

The key is to keep your waist forward and push your hips/butts back. You should not lower your torso below the floor.

Your spine will be more stressed if you go all the way down to parallel. You can enjoy all the benefits of parallel without increasing your injury risk by stopping a little shy of similarity.

Are Good Mornings safe? What are the Best Uses for Good Mornings?

Every exercise, particularly resistance, comes with an inherent risk of injury.

If you are new to exercising or not sure if you can lift weights safely, talk to your doctor.

Good-morning exercise can be riskier than other exercises or strength movements.

They are equally technical than deadlifts and squats. However, they can cause a lot of shearing stress to your lower back which could be dangerous.

You could get a lower back injury if you underestimate your strength and skill or end up failing to perform the movement. If you fall forward, the bars can roll onto your skull or cervical spine.

Good-morning exercise can be had if you follow the rules and exercise caution.

Know your limits and always use the support pins on the power rack to ensure safety when you are going heavy.

Powerlifters and strength athletes should consider including the exercise in their training.

Suppose you are still learning your deadlifts and squats. In that case, you should first focus on improving your fundamentals before affecting the more advanced moves.

Last Thoughts

Good mornings are not the best choice for building muscle mass or strength. These are great, but there are many better or equally effective options, especially for beginners.

The good morning can be an excellent assistance lift, especially if you have trouble with deadlifts or squats.

Even if you aim for hypertrophy, athleticism, or general fitness, it is important to remember good mornings. These can be used to strengthen your lower back and stimulate your glutes.

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