Muscles Used • Exercise Type • Form Instruction • Tips and Techniques • Recommended Reps • Common Variations • Substitutions • Equipment Needed
See all the exercises at the:
Weight Training Exercises Database
– Good Mornings –
Isolated Exercise, Pull Movement
With barbell positioned on the back and legs shoulder width apart, bend at waist taking your torso down until parallel with the floor. Slowly raise back up until vertical.
Tips and Techniques:
The positioning of the barbell on the back is the same as with squats. Check the Squats page for tips on positioning. Like with Squats, the lower position will be easier and allow for a greater load while the higher position, due to leverage, will be more difficult and require less load.
There are two basic ways to do Good Mornings. The first is with your legs straight and the second is with a slight bend in the knees. With straight legs you emphasize the hamstrings more and with a bend the glutes do more of the work. When the knees are locked you can put strain on the knee joint so keep that in mind.
Feet are about shoulder width apart. The back is straight throughout the exercise with a slight arch. The hips move back as you lower and forward as you raise in order to balance the weight. Focus on using the glutes and hams to do the work.
Good Mornings aren’t a universally accepted exercise. Just looking at the motion can tell you that the risk to the back is significant. In addition to that risk, trainers have been known to lose balance with greater loads and fall forward which can make for a dangerous fall.
Therefore, many trainers recommend avoiding them altogether. There are good alternatives.
They can, however, be a very effective exercise. If you choose to do them start very light. And be very careful with greater loads (better to stay with higher reps). Also be very careful to avoid momentum which can increase the risk of injury.
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion
- Seated Good Mornings – Seated with legs spread out and moving the body down between the legs
- Machine-Based Good Mornings – A variation can be done on the Smith machine.
For hitting the hams, Stiff-Leg Deadlifts make an excellent substitution. Hyperextensions can also hit the hams and Hamstring Raises and Glute/Ham Raises (similar to Hyperextensions except the legs break at the knees on the bench) can be great exercises. Lying Leg Curls can also offer some benefit to hamstring development.
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