Good Morning Lift

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Good Morning Lift (Barbell Good Morning)

In this post you will find out how to perform the good morning lift. Read through the exercise description thoroughly so you know exactly what the exercise is going to accomplish, how to execute it properly and safely and how to best incorporate the exercise into your back workouts.

You can use this lower back exercise to prepare for squats and deadlifts. The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension. Other muscles are involved in stabilizing weight on the back and maintaining balance. As your flexibility increases, you may be able to lower your upper body so that is parallel to the floor.

How To Do The Good Morning Exercise?

How To Do The Good Morning
How To Do The Good Morning

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Rest a barbell across the back of your shoulders behind your head, as you would with squats. Hold a barbell with your hands slightly farther than shoulder width apart, palms facing out. It’s best to take a barbell off a rack instead of lifting it off the floor. Place your feet at shoulder width and keep your knees just slightly bent. Your upper body must be straight, your shoulders back, and your chest out.

Barbell Good Morning Lift

Barbell Good Morning Lift

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Make sure you have a firm grip on the bar, then bend forward from the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your knees locked and don’t let the barbell roll onto your neck. Keep your chin up (you should be looking forward) – it will stop you from rounding your back. Once you’ve bent over, pause, then straighten up (using your lumbar muscles) until you are standing erect again. Keep your head up and your eyes looking forward throughout.

Muscles Engaged

This lower back exercise works the hamstrings (back thigh), gluteal (butt), and all the back muscles, especially the erector spinae (lower back) muscle. This variation will target the lower body more while reducing the involvement of the upper-body muscles, especially the lats, the lower trapezius, and the arms.

Good Morning Lift Variations

  • Resistance Band Good Morning Lift. Instead of using a barbell, stand on exercise tubing and loop the other end behind your head as if you were holding a bar. Perform the good morning lift as described above.
Good Morning with Resistance Bands

Good Morning with Resistance Bands

  • Dumbbell good morning. Rest a light dumbbell on each shoulder with the weighted ends facing forward and backward and the bars sitting on your traps. Hold the front ends of the dumbbells. Perform the good morning lift as described above.
Dumbbell Good Morning - Lower Back Exercise

Dumbbell Good Morning – Lower Back Exercise

Replacement Exercises

If you don’t like this exercise, you can easily replace it with any other lower back exercise (erector spinae exercise) from the list below:

Good Morning Lift Tips & Tricks

  • Start with very light weight to get the feel of this exercise. You never want to bend over and find that you’re holding too much weight, which can cause you to lose your balance and fall. Use a spotter for safety.
  • Keep your spine straight and knees stiff (straight or slightly bent).
  • Bend forward at the hips without loosing the flat or slightly arched posture in your lower back.
  • As in a Romanian deadlift, described earlier, push your hips back, allowing your knees to bend slightly, as your torso bends forward.
  • Place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip to secure the barbell across your shoulders.
  • Avoid bending your torso below parallel to the floor. In order words, go down as far as you can while keeping your back flat.

Closing Thoughts

Good morning lift (sometimes called “barbell good morning”) is a compound lower back exercise that works not only the lumbar muscles, but also the buttocks and hamstrings. This oddly named exercise is a key part of many bodybuilders’ routine. The term comes from the “rising up” motion—as if you’re getting out of bed.

It is not recommended for beginners because it requires a strong lower back and good form. Therefore, the first time that you do good morning exercises, you should use an empty bar. The bar will provide enough resistance so that you can get comfortable with the exercise. Remember that this exercise can be even more dangerous than the conventional deadlift.

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