Benefits Of Good Morning Exercise For Hamstrings, Glutes & Lower Back…

What are the benefits of the Good Morning (barbell) exercise?

Do you sit at a desk all day? Run? Play pretty much any sport? Strive for a perky behind? If you answer yes to any of those then you need to make posterior chain training a priority and one of our favourite posterior chain movements is the Good Morning exercise.

The posterior chain is the chain of muscles which run from your neck to the bottom of your calves, in particular the Glutes, hamstrings and erector spinae. These muscles are the prime movers for pretty much all movement, in particular forward propulsion; so a weak chain can result in inefficient movement, imbalance and, therefore, injury. The Good Morning exercise is an excellent posterior chain exercise which heavily target your hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae whilst also working your calves, core and upper back.

Good Morning form:

To perform the Good Morning exercise:

– Set up with the bar across the shoulders, slightly lower than you would for a back squat:

– Squeeze your shoulder blades down together and fully engage your core;

– Hinge forward, driving the hips back as far as you can with a soft bend in the knees so that you can feel the stretch through the hamstrings;

– Go as low as you can whilst maintaining a neutral spine;

– At the bottom point, drive your hips forward and return to the start position, squeezing your glutes to finish the rep.

Dumbell Good Morning Exercise

If you do not have access to a barbell, or you’re struggling with mobility for the Barbell Good Morning, the DB Good Morning is a fantastic alternative that you can work into your training programmes. Similarly to the barbell variation, the DB Good Morning will help you to develop a strong and powerful lower back whilst working on your hamstrings, thighs, hips and glutes, and help to build dynamic flexibility in your legs.

To perform the DB Good Morning:

– The DB Good Morning can be peformed with a single, or two dumbbells. Either lift one dumbbell behind the head and position it on your shoulders, holding each end of it, or rack a dumbbell on each shoulder with your palms facing inwards;

– Then follow the same cues as above for the Barbell Good Morning exercise.

Deadlifts vs Good Mornings

The Deadlift and Good Morning are both excellent posterior-chain exercises which build strength, muscle and power in the lower back, hamstrings and glutes, but there are some key differences to the movements.

With the Deadlift, the weight is lifted concentrically upwards from the floor so that the lower body stays stable throughout and can support the weight as you lift; whilst with the Good Morning exercise, the weight is supported by the upper body and moved eccentrically forwards and down so that your centre is gravity is moved off-balance. This shift in balance means that you will not be able to lift as heavy with a Good Morning as with a Deadlift, a general rule of thumb, your Good Morning weight should be 50-60% that of your Deadlift.

Whilst both the Deadlift and Good Morning are compound movements, using multiple muscles across multiple joints, the Deadlift does recruit more muscle fibres across a wider range of muscles, such as the quads, traps, lats and forearms; meaning it is better for overall muscle gain, or fat loss, depending on what you’re training towards.

It should also be noted that the Good Morning requires a greater level of mobility, and since the weight is supported by the shoulders, more strain is placed on the spine. This means that the Good Morning is a more advanced movement than the Deadlift and is potentially more risky for anyone training with pre-existing back problems.

These differences mean that, when it comes to raw strength, power and overall hypertrophy; the Deadlift is a more effective exercise than the Good Morning and it should be prioritised earlier in your workout (we would normally recommend the Deadlift is your first exercise). However, the Good Morning is a really valuable accessory exercise that will isolate the hamstrings more than the Deadlift and will also strengthen the core significantly, which will have big transference over to your other compound movements, including the Squat and Deadlift

Ultimately, both the Deadlifts and Good Mornings are important exercises for the lower body with huge benefits, so it’s important to mix up your routine and include both in your programmes.

For an even more advanced movement, why not try the Seated Good Morning exercise!

Good Morning exercise safe practice…

Since the Good Morning is a fairly advanced movement that requires a decent level of mobility, we recommend getting professional guidance when trying for the first time.