June 6, 2023

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Have you seen lifters turn a barbell squat into a good morning by losing upper back tightness? Now the problem isn’t that the good morning exercise isn’t a great exercise, but the issue here is placing the lower back in a risky position. A squat is a squat, and good mornings are good mornings, and don’t confuse the two.
By regularly performing barbell good mornings, you’ll strengthen your entire back so your squat will never look like something in a workout fail video. Plus, it will give you some pop in your posterior. Here we’ll dive into what a good morning is (which includes coffee), how to do it, benefits, common mistakes, and some alternatives and variations if the barbell variation isn’t for you.
Get your coffee and get ready for a few good mornings.

The barbell good morning is a pure hip hinge exercise that trains the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. By placing a barbell on your upper back and hinging, you’ll take your hips, lower back, and hamstrings through a large range of motion to add muscle and strength. But if shoulder mobility or lower back pain is an issue, it is best to go with an alternative or variation below.
Barbell good mornings need to be mastered with lighter loads before increasing intensity. When you’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s a fantastic exercise to build posterior muscle and strength.
The barbell good morning is a predominately lower-body exercise but due to the barbell being on your back, the upper body is involved too. Here are the major muscles trained by the barbell good morning.
Upper body
Lower body
This back-loaded hip hinge, although tricky to perform well and the hip and shoulder mobility requirements are huge, the barbell good morning has five notable benefits.
The good morning exercise goes a long way in building back got back. But you need to pay attention to details to get the best out of this exercise and not hurt yourself.
You can load up the good morning exercise but don’t mistake it for an absolute strength exercise. No cares what your one-rep good morning max is except maybe your dog. Here make sure to use good form as your guide for load and not your ego. Use these recommendations as a guide and they can be tweaked to suit your fitness goals.
For Hypertrophy: Performing three to four sets of six to 12 reps and pairing it with another glute or hamstring exercise works well to add muscle. For example
1A. Barbell Good Morning: six to 12 reps
1B. Hamstring Curl variation: 12 reps
For Strength: Three to five sets of four to six reps work well here. Because you’re training for strength, it’s best to pair it with a mobility exercise for recovery and technique purposes. For example
1A. Barbell Good Morning: four to six reps
1B. Passive Leg Lowering: 10 reps per side
Not everybody has the shoulder or hip mobility for barbell good mornings but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train this valuable movement. Here are a couple of variations and alternatives to keep building your posterior of steel.
Skipping breakfast is not an option if you want to have enough energy to maximize your early-morning…
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Resistance Band Good Morning
All the benefits of the good morning but without the barbell on your back and the shoulder mobility requirement to keep it there, pain-free. Although the resistance band may feel uncomfortable on your neck, this variation is easier on your upper back and shoulder joints.
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Back Extension
Back extensions performed from either a 45- or 90-degree angle train similar muscles from a different angle as the barbell good morning. They are effective alternatives and can be loaded in various ways to strengthen the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
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Dumbbell Good Morning
If you have shoulder or hip mobility issues, the dumbbell good morning is a viable option. The anterior load puts less stress on your shoulder joint and encourages you to sit back into your hips more. Load is an issue here, but you can perform higher reps for a wicked muscle pump.
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Reverse Chinese Plank
The reverse Chinese plank is an advanced isometric exercise that will light up your entire posterior chain. Using only your upper back and heels for stability and support, it’s entirely on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings to keep you in a solid plank position. Now if you don’t do that, you and the floor become one.
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