Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredBarbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeHinge (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Hamstrings, Lower Back, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Glutes Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Good Mornings Overview

The good morning is a variation of the hip hinge and an exercise used to target the glutes.

Some may choose to utilize this exercise to target their lower back. However, for optimal health and maximum benefits, it is best to think of this exercise as a glute exercise.

Good mornings can be included in your leg workouts and full body workouts.

Good Mornings Instructions

  1. Set a bar just below shoulder height in a rack and adjust the safeties to just above hip height.
  2. Set your hands equidistant apart, step underneath, and position the bar on your traps (or slightly below if you prefer a low bar version).
  3. Begin the movement by unlocking your knees and hinging back into the hips while keeping your spine neutral.
  4. Drive through the whole foot as you extend the hip back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Good Mornings Tips

  1. Range of motion in the lift will largely be determined by an individual’s mobility as well as their ability to maintain a neutral spine.
  2. Experiment with a “false” (i.e. thumbless) grip as this helps to eliminate elbow and wrist issues in some folks.
  3. Neck position is highly individual - Some prefer a neutral neck position (i.e. keeping the chin tucked throughout the lift) while others do well with looking slightly up. Here’s some factors to consider:
    • If you’re someone who is more globally extended (i.e. athletic background), then you will likely be able to keep a neutral position more effectively by packing the chin.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you tend to be more flexion dominant (especially in your thoracic spine - upper back) then it would behoove you to look up slightly as this will drive more extension.
    • Experiment with each and see which one works best for your individual anatomy and biomechanics.
  4. Your weight will naturally shift to your heels as you hinge; however, it’s important that you keep the weight distributed over your whole foot and don’t allow the toes to rise. To combat this, you should focus on maintaining 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 16:08

Is there any upper limit to the weight I should use on this exercise? I’ve added weight incrementally with each set over a few weeks. I’m doing the 8 week super strength building workout and it’s low reps. I want to put enough weight on so that feels like strength work. People here seem to be advocating restraint in the weight. Is there an upper safe limit, if I’m not straining or loosing form?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 10/18/2023 - 10:55

I wouldn't do any weight over a five rep max with these, David. Going heavier than that without a superior comfort level doing them could lead to injury. Spotters are also highly advised as well. That said, they are great for the entire posterior chain, so they are worth the time it takes to mastering them.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/23/2023 - 20:41


David Boals
Posted on: Wed, 10/18/2023 - 23:25

Just for clarification, any weight that I can manage for five or more reps is appropriate?

Posted on: Sat, 09/09/2023 - 17:55

I heard that this exercise has been forbidden ,
Is that true and if so what should I do instead?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 09/11/2023 - 21:23

Forbidden by who? Never heard of such, and I love Good Mornings. They are great for the posterior chain. Could be used for strength or size.

If you have medical issues, talk with your doctor about this before doing it, but if you're overall healthy, I see no reason why you shouldn't do it.

Posted on: Tue, 07/19/2022 - 15:59

Any alternates for it i have also seen people do it on hack squat machine.and im also doing hyperextension in the same day if there is any good alternate please tell or if it can be done on hack squat?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/28/2022 - 08:34

They can be done on a hack squat machine, Nomi, but there are so many different versions that it would be hard to offer specific instruction. If your gym has a reverse hyper, I actually feel that is the best for lower back.

Posted on: Thu, 01/27/2022 - 17:37

Is there an alternative to this exercise? Maybe hyper extensions?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/28/2022 - 10:03

Hyperextensions would work as well as reverse hypers.

Posted on: Fri, 01/28/2022 - 10:09

Thank you! :)

Posted on: Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:07

You can also do them one legged where you raise one leg
As parallel as you can get it with your back with a lot lighter weight and it's very beneficial and
With not only hamstrings and backs but with core and balance .

Posted on: Sat, 04/26/2014 - 20:53

wouldn't it be better to do hyper extensions? Just wondering.

Posted on: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 14:54

Just trying out exercise. Is it normal for the legs to be so incredibly static? This guy is bending purely at the waist, where other videos show the form more like a squat, where your butt juts out. Tried both forms (just the bar) and having a hard time getting comfortable. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted on: Wed, 02/17/2016 - 15:24

I bend my knees a little bit, but not far enough for it to become a squad. Just enough to have my back parallel with the ground. Hope this helps

Posted on: Thu, 02/21/2013 - 14:22

I can't stress enough how dangerous and unneeded this exercise is. Ergonomically, it puts an excessive amount of strain on the cervical, thoracic, AND lumbar disks because of the weight being localized directly on the upper spine. I strongly recommend other lower back/hamstring exercises as there are plenty out there that are much more beneficial than this one.

Posted on: Sat, 03/30/2013 - 20:37

This exercise is not very dangerous if you know what you are doing. If you just throw some heavy weight on the bar and start repping out with bad form you will get injured. This is an exercise designed for people looking for serious strength gains not for beginners without any experience in lifting heavy weights. This exercise is very beneficial if done right but is not for want to be power lifters.

Posted on: Fri, 01/03/2014 - 12:23

dude, you're not putting 100 pounds on the bar you only need a barbell with 5 pounds on it for this exercise to be effective try it and you will have a different outlook stop trying to read into something that is not needed

Posted on: Mon, 12/03/2012 - 14:13

Is there a slight bend in the knee? Also is it possible to do this with dumbbells?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:33

Yes - a slight bend is recommended. You could use a dumbbell by holding it close to your chest. 

Posted on: Mon, 07/30/2012 - 19:28

is it possible to do this with a smith machine?

Posted on: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 23:59

Its most likely possibly but i wouldnt recommend it. Smith machine limits your movement. Its an easy workout. Start off with lighter weight to get the form down.

Posted on: Tue, 02/26/2013 - 05:08

Hell... NO! take a look at video and ask yourself why not.