How to Do the Good Morning Exercise With Barbell

The good morning strengthens the lower back, but only if done correctly.

good morning exercise

The good morning exercise gives your hamstrings a workout, as well as your lower back and abs

The good morning exercise requires excellent form to prevent injury to your lower back. It is a great exercise for strengthening your lower back, making it more resilient, but only if done correctly.

Proper form and execution is vital to weight training safety in any exercise, but your lower back is particularly susceptible to injury if an exercise that focuses on it is performed incorrectly or with too much weight.

Be very mindful of your capability, and do not progress too quickly to higher weight as you train. For beginners, start with an empty barbell to practice the correct form.

Here is how to do the Good Morning exercise. It works best with a barbell rather than dumbbells:

  1. Place a barbell of appropriate weight on the shoulders. The bar should rest on the trapezius muscles of the upper back in the shoulder area. Start with a light weight until you get familiar with this exercise.
  2. Position your feet  shoulder width apart.
  3. Brace the abdominals and remember to breathe normally—out with exertion and in on recovery.
  4. Bend at the hips until the hamstring muscles at the rear of the thigh start to limit your movement. Bend a little further to give them a stretch, but not so that you feel pain or discomfort. Keep the back straight. The knees can bed slightly to relieve pressure on them, but do not squat. All of the action is in the hips. 
  1. Maintain the straight back with the tight arch in your lower back as you would when lifting from the floor. Keep your head and chest up. Do not curl your back forward.
  2. Return to the starting position.

How low you can go with this exercise depends on your flexibility across the posterior chain of muscles including the hamstrings, gluteals (butt) and lower back.

Don't push this exercise too far beyond your inherent capability.

You can see a video of the exercise at EXRX.

Find out more about weight training fundamentals if you need background information before you try this exercise.

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