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Back Exercises

The Barbell Good Morning

Wake up the often-neglected posterior chain muscles with the good morning. We tell you why you should do it, how to do it and when.

The barbell good morning is a serious posterior chain movement that is too often neglected by the strength athlete. But if your goals involve getting stronger or attaining a more aesthetically pleasing backside, then the good morning is a lift you need to be doing. Unless, of course, you’re happy with your Miley Cyrus pancake butt. Then by all means, stop reading.

  • Place the bar on your back in the same position you use for squats.
  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly out.
  • Squeeze you upper back and set a good arch in you lower back (just like you are getting ready to squat).
  • Keep your knees slightly bent as you push your butt back (don’t do good mornings with straight legs).
  • Hinge at your hips and lean forward, pushing your butt back and maintaining your back arch.
  • Continue bending forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion by contracting your glutes, hamstrings and lower back.


The good morning can benefit everybody from the competitive Olympic lifter and powerlifter to the bodybuilder and the soccer mom looking to build a butt you could bounce a quarter off of. Anybody who is looking for serious back, glute, and hamstring development should have the good morning in his training arsenal.

For bodybuilders, the good morning will help develop the drainage ditch lower back that is a must for a spot on the podium. It will also develop big, thick glutes and shredded hamstrings.

The benefits for competitive Olympic lifters and powerlifters are even greater. The good morning forces your core and upper back to contract isometrically to maintain a good arched position with your chest up. This is the same position you want to be in while cleaning, snatching and squatting. It also strengthens the glutes and hamstrings and helps develop hip drive for the deadlift.

See Also Romanian Deadlift: The King of Posterior Training


Good mornings are a great addition to your deadlift and back day. Because of the large muscle groups used, limit the good morning to one day a week to start.

Depending upon your goals, the good morning can be implemented in different set and rep schemes. For the hypertrophy-seeking lifter keep it in the 3–5 sets of 8–12 repetition range. For the strength warrior, do them heavy for lower reps, although heavy singles should be avoided. Start out with 3–5 sets of 3–5 repetitions.


There a few variations of the good morning that can be done to slightly change the muscles worked:

  • Wide stance: This activates the hamstrings and adductors more.
  • Narrow stance: This will put more emphasis on the glutes
  • Deeper knee bend: This variation allows you to use more weight and stresses the lower back more.
  • Seated: This is done on a bench and requires less weight. It focuses more on the isometric contraction of the lower back and core.

The next time you are looking for a seriously effective posterior chain movement, put the bar on your back and give the barbell good morning a go!