The Good Morning exercise got its name because it resembles bowing at the waist as if to say, “good morning.” You begin with a barbell across your upper back and bend your hips similar to a Back Squat, but finish with your torso nearly parallel to the ground.
This is why the exercise gets a bad rap. Some think it’s just a Squat gone wrong. Others cringe at the thought of what holding a heavy bar with your torso nearly parallel to the ground is doing to your spine.
No doubt, these are legitimate concerns. The move does resemble a Squat with brutal form and it can cause injury if you’re not careful. However, it could be the missing link to busting through a strength plateau in Squats and Deadlifts if you find yourself failing to get stronger.
But before we learn how to perform this exercise, let’s look at the benefits of the Good Morning and whether or not you should give it a try.
Benefits of the Good Morning
The Good Morning is a hip hinge exercise, meaning the movement comes from hinging your hips, or bending at your waist. This puts it into the same category as a Deadlift and Squat. If you look closely, it’s almost identical to a Romanian Deadlift except for the position of the bar.
The exercise primarily strengthens the muscles on the backside of your body, or what’s referred to as your posterior chain. Your glutes (butt muscles) and hamstrings (backs of your thighs) drive the movement. These muscles are involved in the vast majority of sports skills, such as sprinting, jumping, throwing a ball and others, so strengthening them is essential.
However, Good Mornings are so valuable because of the way it challenges your back. Even though your back is only supporting a barbell, it’s incredibly demanding on your entire back and core.
“It really creates strong engagement of the entire posterior chain, all the muscles of the back, all the spinal stabilizers that prevent spinal flexion,” explains Joel Seedman, an exercise physiologist and owner of AdvancedHumanPerformance.com.
Better yet, 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 your back has a tendency to give out, Good Mornings are one of the best exercises to address that.”
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