Basic Cues for Starting the Good Morning

hi all - i just did good mornings today, first time ever. i handled the olympic bar okay for 2 sets of 12 reps, added 10lbs on third set. not much of a burn but no pain either.

anyone have good basic cues for form? i squeezed the bar hard and contracted my lats and dug my feet in the ground.

It depends on the type of goodmorning.

An arched back goodmorning (this is the defaut GM is only “goodmorning” is written) is basically a Romanian deadlift with the barbell on your shoulders. So the key is to keep your core tightly braced, upper back tight and think of the movement as “pushing your hips back” NOT as bending forward.

In a rounded back goodmorning the hips actually do not move as far back and you bend at the waist… for the first half of the ROM your back stays straight, but then you round it up (imagine trying to give yourself a blow job) … this is movement done with very light weights.

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great thanks CT, probably wont bother with the rounded back version and just work on form and work up the weight slowly. Thanks!

:joy: Best coaching cue ever.

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coach I have a question regarding good mornings if I may:

When I perform the movement, my ROM isn’t huge, probably get down to 45 degrees or so. Am I better off strengthening the ROM I have by adding weight, or working on improving the ROM and keeping the weight the same? I have a history of back pain, if that matters, but so far have been able to do GMs for high reps pain-free.


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That is fine, for now… it really is not about bending forward as much as possible but about putting maximum tension on the posterior chain.

From my experience (because I was like you in the GM) two things can cause this short range of motion:

  1. Hamstring tightness, or lack of extensibility (pretty obvious)
  2. Weak hamstrings… the body wants to protect itself… if it feels that the hams are weak it will not allow you to reach a stretched position under load because it represents a risk due to lack of strength.

So I’d definitely:

  1. Work on improving posterior chain extensibility

  2. Getting the hamstrings stronger with isolation exercises (leg curls) where you use a slow eccentric tempo

  3. Do GM with the ROM you can handle but pause for two second in the bottom position when you feel a maximum hamstring stretch/tension

Coach,I’ll grab the opportunity and ask a question about gm too

In regards to strengthening the low bar squat,do you think heavy good mornings(sets of 3-5 or 3-5 rep maxes) have their place,or would you rather seeing gm done only for reps higher reps,to build the posterior chain?

I like heavy arched back GM to improve the low bar squat BUT you must be able to keep tension on the posterior chain. If the tension shifts away from it (you don’t feel the hams being loaded and doing the work) then it’s too heavy and wont be that useful.

I did them yesterday and today my hams feel destroyed,so I’m most likely on the right path(although I rounded on the last rep)

Thanks for the response

Excellent dude! Always remember that the purpose of assistance exercises is to load a specific muscle or group of muscles… if you dont feel it there you are just wasting time and energy

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i was pleasantly surprised that i could feel my hams and glutes day after my first ever sets of GMs…

Brilliant, I’ll definitely get on that. One last thing:

Any special little tips for this? Or is it simply a case of spend the time stretching that we all know we should be doing anyway but none of us actually do…

what about doing hamstring curls prior to GMs to ‘grease’ the joints? i forgot the specific article, but i read somewhere on t-nation to do some curls before squatting to get things warm.

Well it can work. It’s what is called “pre-fatigue”. In this specific case it will have 3 potential benefits and 2 possible drawbacks.


  1. It will “wake-up” the hamstrings… “scientifically” what goes on is that isolating the hamstrings will activate them and make them more responsive to being recruited during a compound movement… I hypothesize that it’s due to increasing the sensitivity of the neuromuscular junction. In simple terms it means that you will be ale to recruit the hamstrings more easily.

  2. It can help improve mind-muscle connection. In simple words by creating a small amount of pump/local fatigue in the hamstrings you will be more aware of them when you do your GM (enhanced feedback) which also facilitate their proper use.

  3. By pre-fatiguing the hams a bit you will recruit the fast twitch fibers sooner in your goodmorning sets (if the hamstrings are fatigued a bit it means that they are not as strong. If they are not as strong they will have to recruit more muscle fibers sooner in your work sets to do the work… you will move less weight and/or do less reps, but for stimulating the muscle it wont matter)


  1. You will not be able to use as much weight (see point 3 above). For building mass in the hamstrings it wont matt3er because it simply means that you will take less reps or less weight to get maximum hypertrophy stimulation in the hamstrings. But the movement will become less effective at strengthening the glutes and lower back. So it’s a matter of what your priority is. Early in the training cycle doing leg curls as your first exercise, then GM is likely a good idea. But for the later phases I would reverse the order.

  2. Excessive local pump in the hamstrings might reduce the extensibility of the hams and make them more tensed, which could reduce your range of motion. So if ROM is not large to start with, it might not be the best idea.

How about seated GM’s?

By moving the feet out in front of the knees, or pushing the knees out Sumo style, can we increase ROM or hit the hamstrings better while still leaning just a little bit forward?

thanks CT, excellent advice as always. i am nowhere near as strong as you guys here on the board so i am not that worried about hypertrophy as i have a LOT of weight to shed and to be honest i am more interested in strength anyways. i did elevated hip thrust today, then hamstring curls THEN goblet squats - only 80lbs on the goblet even though i have squatted 3 plates in the past… i guess i will check in later when my numbers get higher or i get back under the bar for squats and then reverse the order… i read on of the articles on this website saying the opposite of your 2nd drawback saying pump will INCREASE ROM not decrease… let me find the article and post it again.

either way, thanks!