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Exercise of the week: Good Morning


Initial position of Good Mornings. Personal Photo.

The Good Mornings lift is great for the working the lower back, hamstrings, and butt muscles.  There are two ways to do this lift and a couple fine details about it worth noting. 

The lift can be done with straight knees or with bent knees (pictured).  Both ways are good, but new weight lifters should first use the bent knee position to avoid accidentally locking the knees during the lift.  Locking the knees can lead to injury and should be avoided.  If the knees are bent while doing the lift, the hamstrings will relax and help with flexion in the hip.  If the legs are straight during the lift then the hamstrings will be fully lengthened, and the contraction will be easily felt.

The lift is executed as follows:

  • Stand with feet hip to shoulder width apart. 
  • Obtain a barbell of good weight and place it across the upper back while holding it on both sides (pictured).  It is important to note that the bar is not resting on the neck but across the back of the shoulder. 
  • Take a breathe in, bend forward from the waist.  Keep the back completely straight through out the exercise.  Continue to bend forward until the back is or nearly is parallel with the floor.
  •  Breathe out as you return to the initial position.

Good Mornings down position. Personal Photo.
  • Continue to do this motion for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.  Super heavy weights are not needed for this to be an effective lift.  Many women will use between 20-40lbs.  Many Men may use between 50-80 lbs. 

Since this is a lift that includes the lower back, always start with the lowest weight first when you are unsure of how much weight to lift.

If the barbell hurts to be placed across the back of the shoulders, place a towel between the bar and your back for cushion.

For More information:  Strength Training Anatomy 2nd Edition by Frederic Delavier

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