If you're looking for an effective weightlifting exercise to strengthen your back, legs, or the entire back of your body (aka your posterior chain), look no further than "good morning" (aka "hip joints"). Good mornings in training are completely underestimated. The move is a great bodyweight warm-up exercise before compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bent-over rows. Alternatively, you can load up a barbell with some plates and indulge in a good morning in your back or leg day session.
However you choose to incorporate a good morning into your exercise routine, it's important to first understand what it is, its benefits, and how to perform it with proper form to avoid injury. Luckily we've got you covered below. We'll also give some variations on Good Morning to keep the practice fresh and exciting until it becomes a regular part of your practice.
what are good mornings
Good Morning is a weight-bearing exercise that resembles something between the deadlift and the squat. They engage multiple muscle groups, including hamstrings, glutes, calves, upper back, lower back, and core. While you can use a good morning to build strength and muscle, it's not necessarily a strength exercise like traditional muscle-building exercises, as it improves hip mobility and flexibility. Also, using too much weight on Good Mornings can strain your lower back, so don't expect to put a ton of weight on the bar when you do it.
How to do Good Morning Exercise
To start, place a barbell of the appropriate weight across your upper back/shoulders like you would do a squat. Consider using an empty barbell until you perfect the movement with proper form, then add weight as needed. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Inhale while engaging your core, and then rotate your hips, sending your butt back and leaning your torso forward until it's almost parallel to the floor. Next, exhale and reverse the movement to return to the standing position. This is a repeat. Remember to keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the movement.
Do 3 x 10-12 reps for 1 minute. pause between sets. Be sure to use a weight that allows you to maintain good technique on each rep.
Benefits of Good Morning
Once you've heard the many benefits of a good morning, adding it to your strength training program is a snap. Because a good morning engages different muscle groups, they're a great way to improve leg, hip, and back strength, as well as hip mobility. For example, good mornings primarily target your hamstrings, but they also work your glutes and adductor magnus (inner thighs), using them as synergists (meaning they help facilitate movement). Other muscles that activate during a good morning are your erector spinae (which runs the length of your spine), lower back muscles, and abs. As a result, a good morning can increase your overall back and leg strength when done with proper technique.
Good Morning can also improve your hip joint shape by increasing hip extension and mobility, allowing for improved performance for other hip joint exercises like deadlifts, squats, barbell presses, and kettlebell swings. In addition, a good morning can improve your posture by strengthening the muscles along your spine. Good posture minimizes stress on your body, improves balance, helps you breathe better, and improves your ability to perform everyday activities.
Banded good morning bed bishop
Good morning variations
Unlike other traditional weightlifting exercises, there are several variations of good morning exercises that allow people of any ability or fitness level to perform them. Once you've mastered the basics of a good morning with a barbell, switch things up and try the following variations. Aim for 8 to 12 reps.
1. Dumbbell Good Morning: This is a nice variation for beginners or those with back or shoulder problems because it puts less stress on your lower back and doesn't have a barbell resting on your shoulders. Instead of a barbell, use light dumbbells and perform the exercise as above while holding them in front of you and letting your arms hang.
2. Good morning resistance band: Another excellent variation for beginners as no weights are required. Stand with both feet on one end of a resistance band and wrap the other end around your neck. Go through the full range of motion and work against the resistance of the band to strengthen your back and legs. Use a lower resistance band to avoid excessive strain and injury and to maintain good technique.
3. One-Legged Barbell Good Morning: This variant is for advanced exercisers who want to make the traditional Good Morning more challenging. Perform the movement as above, but use only one leg. This requires more strength, balance, stability and focus. If you attempt this, be sure to lower the weight so you can maintain proper form and reduce your risk of injury.
4. Chest-Loaded Kettlebell Good Morning (See above): This causes the body to engage the core and maintain a neutral spine while moving at the hips. Stand hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell against your sternum. Maintain a high, neutral spine, shoulders back, and knees soft, hanging at the hips and keeping shoulders over hips. Reverse the movement by engaging the hamstrings and pushing your hips forward, fully extending your hips and squeezing your glutes to finish the rep.
5. Change your attitude: It might sound minor, but small adjustments like changing your posture can vary a lot of exercises nicely. Adding a good morning to your workout, some days place your feet in a narrow position to target your hamstrings or wider position to work your glutes harder.
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