One of the best ways to burn major calories and hit your glutes and hamstrings?
Meet the Good Morning Exercise.
This is a hip extension movement that focuses much more on your glutes than the traditional Deadlift.
Last week I highlighted the benefits of Deadlifts and shared a variation to further challenge the Glutes and Hamstrings.
The Good Morning Exercise can be performed bodyweight and there are many ways to add resistance for increased challenge and muscle activation. If you haven’t tried this exercise yet, make sure to do so during your next lower body workout!
Good Morning Exercise
This exercise is a compound movement. Thus, almost every muscle in our body has to be activated to execute this exercise correctly. Especially the back and muscles surrounding the pelvis need to be tensed to stabilize the spine and hip-joint.
Thus, I do not recommend to use weights with this exercise right away. Practice the Bodyweight variation many times, until you can feel your Glutes and Hamstrings contracting to move your hips and your Abdominal and Lower Back muscles to keep your joints stable and save.
In fact, I implement the Bodyweight Variation of the Good Morning in my Warm ups, on Lower and Upper Body days. If you look at the position of the arms, you will understand that this exercise activates the Upper Back muscles as well as the Core and all Lower Body muscles.
The Good Morning Exercise is a posteriorly top loaded hip hinge.
The weight is loaded on the shoulders and does not hang in front of your body, as in a traditional Deadlift. This changes the loading vector and range of motion.
In fact, the movement is comparable to a Hip Thrust or a kettlebell swing. A kettlebell swing, a Hip Thrust, and a Good Morning are all hinge patterns, the only difference is the lever-action in relation to where the load is placed.
Good Morning Exercise: Proper Form
- Before you start the Movement, tilt your pelvis posteriorly and contract your entire Core (Abdominal and Lower Back muscles). If you are using weight, contract your Upper Back muscles tightly to hold the Barbell in place on top of your shoulders. You can also use a Dumbbell, holding it in front of your body. Always keep the weights close to your body.
- Start the Movement by hinging at the hips, just like in a Deadlift. You are not bending your Upper Body forwards, instead you are moving your hips backwards to the wall. Bend your knees slightly to put more emphasis on the Glutes and Hamstrings and less force on the spine.
- As your hips hinge backwards, your Upper Back will lean forward naturally. Keep attention to your Form here: All muscles are tensed and your back is in a neutral, position. Do not round your Upper Back, keep your chest expanded and try not to look at the floor in front of you.
- As you hinge backwards, breathe in.
- Only go down as much as you can hold the contraction in your entire body. Remember, this is not a Deadlift. With this exercise, your range of motion will be much smaller. Once you feel a slight stretch in your Glutes and Hamstrings, you have reached the maximal point of extension.
- Just like in a Deadlift, contract your Glutes and Hamstrings forcefully to bring your hips forward again. Do not do this in a fast, controlled matter. Once you are at the top, squeeze your Glutes and slightly tilt your pelvis posteriorly again. While pushing up from the point of extension, breathe out.
- To increase the gluteal activation, shift the weight to your heels and push your feet apart to opposite directions at all times. This will activate the Gluteus maximas, as well as minimus and medius (the side Glutes). In fact, you can put a Resistance Band around your knees and focus on pushing your knees apart. Only do this once you have practiced the movement pattern several times!
Good Morning Exercise Variations
Elevate the Toes
Just like with the Romanian Deadlift, you can elevate your toes to increase activation of the Glutes and Hamstrings. Remember, this will further decrease your range of motion, so don’t force your body to go down more than is needed.
Widen your stance
This is basically a Sumo Good Morning. With any exercise, a wider stance activates the inner thighs and outer parts of the Glutes to a higher extend. Also, this is a good variation for people with Back Pain, as it puts less force on the spine.
This variation is only for advanced trainees.
This is basically a Good Morning on one leg. The back leg is only there for balance, do not use it to push yourself upwards.
Whenever I implement this exercise in my routine, my hamstrings are sore for three days afterwards!
It is very important that you are already familiar with the movement pattern and contract your Glutes and Core muscles at all times.
If you are struggling with Muscle Imbalances, include this exercise in your workouts to work one limb at a time.
Benefits of the Good Morning Exercise
The Good Morning reinforces total body tension, big air, and proper loading of the whole posterior chain. If you have problems maintaining tightness in the upper back, it is very beneficial.
Also, it trains the entire length of the posterior chain and core. The synergistic reinforcement of the lumbar and gluteal musculature is crucial for power development and movement mechanics.
This makes the Good Morning a Functional Exercise, meaning that it will improve your overall posture during everyday activities and prevent lower back and hip-joint injuries.
Have you tried the Good Morning exercise before?
Comment if you liked this and share on your favorite social media, so others can benefit from this exercise too 🙂
Wish you all a great day!