What’s so good about a Good Morning?

Generally used in Cross Fit as a warm-up exercise, the good ol’ Good Morning is a weighted hip-hinging movement that lengthens the hamstrings.

A true good morning is a posteriorly top loaded hip hinge. The movement is the same as a barbell hip thrust or a kettlebell swing the only difference being the hip range of motion and lever action in relation to where the load is placed.

Biomechanics

In a good morning, essentially the entire length of the body is acting as a lever arm—with the load being distributed throughout the entire posterior chain. This is an important concept to grasp. The good morning is not simply a “low back” movement. Done properly, the good morning works the entire length of the erector spinae:

  • It loads the deep core muscles in the lumbar region.
  • It trains correct hip hinging and requires proper firing of the glutes and hamstring.
  • It necessitates controlled belly breathing.
  • It trains the lifter to keep their lumbar spine in a controlled posterior tilt.

Key mechanical cues for lifting 

  1. Straight vs. bent legs There should be a bend in the knees as the lifter pushes the hips back. A straight legged good morning places unnecessary stress on the lumber spine and does not adequately train the hinge pattern (some varying opinions in this case).
  2. Upper back The lifter has kept their thoracic spine arched, his shoulder blades are packed, and we can see the muscles of the mid-back working to support the weight of the bar.
  3. Lower back In order to maintain a safe position the lifter needs to keep their lumbar spine in a strong, but not excessive arch.

As you can see a correct Good Morning depend on proper biomechanics to decrease unnecessary loads on the athlete, as well as reducing the likelihood of injury.

A basic hip hinge pattern needs to be mastered by an athlete before proceeding to more complex movements involving many muscles and joints.

Stay posted, next we will look at ways of simplifying the hip hinge exercise even further!