Fitness tip – Good mornings

Fitness tip – Good mornings

by Evigan Xiao 1 week ago

It’s hard to dispute the importance of posterior chain training. When it comes to the hamstrings, glutes and lower back, having a strong set of all three is what sets the all-stars apart from the novices. Any physical therapist will attest to the importance of training these so-called “hidden” muscle groups – not only are they key to athletic performance, but also injury prevention as well. And while deadlifts, glute-ham raises and kettlebell swings are all well-respected for their ability to build rock-solid behinds, it’s the raw simplicity and effectiveness of good mornings that keep the iron addicts coming back for more.

 

The barbell good morning only shot to fame when Louie Simmons popularised it with its inclusion into his Conjugate Periodisation System at Westside Barbell, and it has since become a staple in many strength and weightlifting training programmes worldwide. Done properly, the good morning works the entire musculature of the lower back while reinforcing proper hinging mechanics by recruiting the hamstrings and glutes to a significant degree.

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

Performing the barbell good morning starts with taking the bar out of the rack like how you would with a regular high-bar back squat, but with a much wider grip. By retracting your shoulder blades, you create a meaty “shelf” out of your lower traps for the barbell to rest on. Keeping a strong arch in your lower back (but not hyperextending), sit back with your hips and unlock your knees slightly, lowering your torso as you do so. Reverse the motion by squeezing your glutes and bringing your hips back into complete extension.

 

While some may worry about the barbell rolling on to the neck, this shouldn’t be the case as long as it’s resting securely on your “shelf”. It also goes without saying that it is especially important to keep your scapula retracted throughout the entire movement. Some may find that their range of motion might be hampered by tight hamstrings; this is OK. As long as you’re able to achieve tension in the lower back, hamstrings and glutes without rounding your lumbar, there shouldn’t need to be any worries about this exercise. Your range will improve as you get stronger and more mobile.

 

Different variations of the barbell good morning can also be employed to great effect: knees straight (more hamstrings), wider stance (more hamstring and adductor), narrrow stance (more glute). It can also be done from a seated position for a slightly different training effect.

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

Good mornings work very well when done with moderate loads for higher reps (up to 10). However, those familiar with Westside-style training will remember that heavy good mornings can be terribly effective at building a strong posterior chain as well. While it is arguably one of the best in its class, the good morning must be performed with pristine technique in order to minimise injury and maximise effectiveness. So take the time to get it right before slapping some weight on!