Good Mornings Exercise Guide

The Good Mornings exercise is a compound movement that primarily focuses on the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. Beginning with a barbell placed across the shoulders, much like a squat, the movement involves hinging at the hips and leaning forward, keeping a neutral spine throughout. As you return to an upright position, you'll engage the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. The exercise not only strengthens the posterior chain but also promotes better posture and flexibility. Variations might involve using resistance bands or holding a dumbbell. It's crucial to keep a tight core and straight back during the movement to ensure effectiveness and safety.

Target Muscle Group
Exercise Type
Strength, Balance and Stability
Equipment Required
Force Type
Experience Level
Secondary Muscles
Hamstrings, Lower Back, Upper Back, Abs

Step by Step Guide

Set Up and Position the Barbell

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Position a barbell across the upper part of your shoulders, similar to the setup for a back squat. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, ensuring your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand tall with a neutral spine and brace your core.

Hinge at the Hips

Initiate the movement by pushing your hips backward, keeping a slight bend in your knees. Lean your upper body forward by hinging at the hips. Ensure your back remains straight and your head stays aligned with your spine throughout the motion. Lower your torso until it's nearly parallel to the ground, or as far as your flexibility allows.

Return to Starting Position

Engage your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back to lift your torso back to the starting upright position. Push through your heels and maintain a tight core. Once you're standing tall again, that's one repetition. Complete your desired number of repetitions, ensuring to prioritize form over weight to prevent injury.

Here are a Few Tips to Keep in Mind When Performing this Exercise.

  • Maintain a Neutral Spine: The most crucial aspect of the Good Mornings exercise is to keep your spine neutral throughout the movement. This ensures that you're activating the right muscles and greatly reduces the risk of injury. Avoid rounding or excessively arching your back as you hinge at the hips.
  • Drive the Hips Back: The primary motion in Good Mornings is a hip hinge. Ensure that you're driving the movement by pushing your hips back, rather than just bending forward at the waist. This targets the hamstrings and glutes more effectively and alleviates strain on the lower back.
  • Engage Your Core: Tightening your core helps in stabilizing your spine and provides added support during the movement. By keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise, you not only protect your lower back but also ensure better muscle activation in the target areas.

Exercise Benefits

  • Enhanced Lower Back Strength: Good Mornings primarily target the erector spinae muscles in the lower back. Regularly performing this exercise can bolster lower back strength, which can be beneficial for other compound lifts and daily activities.
  • Stronger Hamstrings and Glutes: As you hinge at the hips and maintain a straight back, the hamstrings and glutes are heavily activated. Over time, this can lead to increased strength and muscle definition in these areas.
  • Reduced Injury Risk: When performed with proper technique, Good Mornings can fortify the posterior chain, which in turn can reduce the risk of injuries related to weak back muscles or imbalances between the front and back of the body.
  • Improved Postural Awareness: By emphasizing a neutral spine during the movement, individuals become more aware of maintaining proper posture, which can be beneficial in daily life and other exercises.
  • Boosted Hip Mobility: The hip-hinging action in Good Mornings promotes better hip flexibility and range of motion, aiding in tasks that require bending or lifting and in other athletic movements.