The Many Ways To Say Good Morning

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There is a certain saying in some strength and power circles…”You can have a bad day but always have a Good Morning!” This little phrase shows the respect that powerlifters have for the Good Morning exercise. I would even say the Good Morning is probably the most important auxiliary exercise a powerlifter can learn. Good Mornings are so important to some powerlifting gyms, no matter how their training changes some form of Good Mornings are always included. At one of the most elite powerlifting gyms, Westside Barbell, they are used in some form in about 40% of their training.


So why so much respect for the Good Morning?  Fact is when a person put hundreds of pounds on their back; they need a pretty strong set of glutes, hamstrings, and lower back  to support that. The same rule applies when they’re trying to pull hundreds of pounds off the floor also; no back, glute, and hamstring strength, no pull. The Good Morning may also have a very important second benefit, besides helping someone greatly improve their posterior strength; it may save their life one day! One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a person is falling forward during a squat.


Having a strong Good Morning helps safeguard them in the event of falling forward. The last thing anyone wants is to be stapled to the ground with a barbell crushing them. If their Good Morning is strong they will be able to keep a strong arch and not fall forward, and in the event that they do lean forward too much, a strong Good Morning will let them arch the bar back into position without even thinking about it.

Is It Safe

One concern people always seem to have with the Good Morning is the belief Good Mornings are bad for the back. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. The Good Morning is a very effective and safe exercise when done correctly.

One thing to understand with the Good Morning is just because you can put hundreds of pounds on your back and squat, it does not mean you will be able to do the same right away with the Good Morning.  The Good Morning is a prime example of the saying “Learn how to crawl before trying to run!” Generally it is not the guys and girls who can do hundreds of pounds with the Good Morning that are often getting hurt. People who tend to get hurt the most doing Good Mornings are people trying to use too much weight too fast or people using bad form because they have not developed those posterior chain muscles to a level that can handle the weight they are trying to do. If a person is just starting out with the Good Morning learn to do them in the safety of a squatting rack with pins first. Powerlifting is all about piling on the plates but if a person trys to pile on the plates with Good Mornings before they are ready, it is one of the quickest ways to take a nice long vacation from moving the heavy iron.

Here are some tips to master the basic technique of the standard Good Morning.

         Keep feet about hip to shoulder width apart.

         Place the bar just above the shoulder blades

         Always look ahead when performing the Good Morning. Make sure to keep the head in line with the torso when bending forward.

         Inflate your chest and keep it puffed out as you lower your torso.

         Push back with the glutes and hips as the torso is lowering

         Be sure to drive forward with the glutes and hips when coming back up

Chain Strength

One of the main reasons Good Mornings are so effective for improving the squat and deadlift is because of the strength they build in the posterior chain. The Good Morning works the posterior chain like no other exercise by building tremendous strength and stability. The Good Morning simultaneously builds the spinal erectors, lumbar region, hamstrings, and glutes all at once. 


Without doing some form of squatting of deadlifting, the Good Moring is probably the most bang for your buck when it comes to working the entire posterior chain. Since the goal of the Good Morning is to build up the posterior chain strength the goal should be to have a Good Morning that is roughly 60-70% of a person’s one rep squat. In other words if someone has a 500 pound squat, their Good Morning should be somewhere between 300-350 pounds for the standard good morning.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Anyone who has done some serious powerlifting will tell you that the central nervous system takes a beating after a few weeks of heavy hard training.  A good way to help combat this is through rotating exercises every few weeks. The Good Morning is no different. Since the Good Morning is such a valuable exercise, a person wants to use it and use it often.  Repeatedly doing the same type of Good Morning a few times every week, will have the same effect on breaking down the central nervous system. The key is to continuously use the Good Morning throughout training but rotating how the Good Mornings are done every 2-3 weeks and using different types of Good Mornings at different training sessions.  Like all good exercises the Good Morning comes in many varieties. When you get into rounded back vs. arched back, foot placements, and types of bars used there can actually be hundreds of variations on the Good Morning. Here are just a few variations of the Good Morning that someone can use:

         Standard Good Mornings

         Straight Leg Good Morning

         Bent Leg Good Morning

         Rounded Back Good Mornings


         Seated Good Mornings

         Arched Back Good Mornings

         Straight Arm Barbell Good Mornings

         Good Morning with Chains

Seated Good Mornings

         Safety Squat Bar Good Mornings

         Concentric Good Mornings

         Banded Good Mornings

         Single Leg Good Morning


         Cambered Bar Good Mornings

         Good Morning Squat


         Zercher Good Morning

         Buffalo Bar Good Mornings

Zercher Good Mornings

         Suspended Good Mornings

         Partial Good Mornings



The Good Morning is one of the most valuable exercises that can be incorporated in a powerlifting routine. The Good Morning will do wonders for not only improving a squat but also a deadlift. Although Good Mornings are hard and brutal, done correctly they are a safe and very effective exercise to use. Good Mornings also come in many variations so different variations can easily be cycled in and out of training cycles. If you are not currently using Good Mornings but are serious about improving your squat and deadlift add them in. If you are already using Good Mornings in your training you could try some of the many different forms of Good Mornings. Either way in a few weeks time the results will prove themselves.

Want more variations on the Good Morning. (Click Here). This list has 100 variations on the Good Morning using different foot placements, bar placements, arched back, rounded back, standing versions, sitting versions, and different types of bars.

All articles on this site are authored or co-authored by Jarueba Taylor. They are the copy written  property of Taylored Nutrition.