T Nation

good mornings bad?


i just started doing good mornings a few weeks ago and they've become one of my new favorite lifts. however, today when i finished up my last set, this guy came over and told me that good mornings are really bad for your back. he said he had some friends who had messed up their backs doings GMs and he just prefers to do back extensions while holding a plate. i asked him how much weight they were using and he said 'about a plate--plate and a half.' has anyone else had any bad experiences with GMs even while doing them correctly? is this really something to be concerned about?


Well, Louie Simmons broke his back doing GMs, but he was using over 400 lbs. So until you get to that stage, I wouldn't worry. However, if your form is bad, and if you aren't concentrating, you may hurt yourself. But the same is true for any lift.


No, use good form at all times and you'll be fine. I can good morning about 350 and my back is fine. And I'm a chiropractor. Those guys are weenies as we say in da hood.


bad form = injuries. Tell your friend he is an idiot for having bad form.


IF your keep you back arched there is no way you can injure your back doing good mornings. They work the hams more then your lower back (if i am correct.)


Oh yeah, I would be really worried.

good mornings are just terrible, almost as bad as squats, and the worst lift of all is deads, bar none.

Doing any of those lifts may result in actual gains in strength and size, so as you can imagine you want to avoid them like the plague.

Best to stick with good stuff like curling machines.


Where do I start with this. GMs are good. The only problem I have with my back is that its thick, rock solid and strong. I currently work up to 4 plates per side and have no problems. I think the operative words are "work up to". Make sure you warm up before doing heavy weight. I start with just the bar. Check out the various articles on Westside training. GMs are the bread and butter of ME-Squat/DL days.


Hello Powergrudge,

So long as GM's are performed correctly I don't think there is a problemwith doing them unless you already have a "bad back" i.e. bulging discs in your lower lumbar region.

Aaron M


it's possible that you could hurt your back doing a good morning, jsut as you can hurt yourself if you do any exercise with poor form or too much weight, or if you have certain undiagnised pre-existing conditions. However if you use proper form and use an appropriate progression in load and are a healthy individual, you really shouldn't experience any problems, no matter how heavy you go with good mornings. good luck, hope this helps.


He's an idiot. Tell him that. It's like people who say I don't know how to squat because I squat below parallel.

If they injured their backs, it was no question a matter of awful form.

Goldberg has done some serious weight on this exercise and hasn't been injured.


Hello Powergrudge,

So long as you are performing them correctly and you don't have a bad back - i.e. bulging discs in your lower lumbar vertebrae - you should be alright.

Aron M


This is yet another example why you shouldn't pay attention to 99% of the people in your gym. Of coure if you're doing them incorrectly they could screw up your back, but so could back extensions(as well as anything else that you do).


Oh my God I hope there not bad I just did a good morning-sq with 500 pounds tonight, I hope I dont die in my sleep or worse off end up with a bad back....Big Martin



Look, the fact remains that simple, compound exercises as well as the good isolation exercises can be dangerous. People hurt themselves squatting. People hurt themselves deadlifting. One of the hazards of the endeavor. Sorry, if you want something "safe" try X-box and wait for the congestive heart failure.

I don't mean to bash you, but if I listened everytime "some guy" came up to me and told me something was dangerous, I would have given up weight training all together.

Seriously, ignore "some guy". That guy doesn't know anything.



I've only done them with light weight, but I've read of people doing them with extremely heavy weight (like 800 lbs--does this sound right to anyone else???).

From my experience, they're far better for your hams than for your low back. For LB, I like deads and different extention variations.

I don't believe they're a dangerous exerices in and of themselves. Any exercise can be bad if you do it wrong or carelessly.


I have not had a problem with GMs but I suppose you can get hurt doing ANY exercise if not done correctly.

For all you know these guys could have been doing their GMs while wearing 6 inch high heels. I prefer 4 inch with that kind of strappy look.


I have a spondylilolithesis (translation = broken spine) so I know what exercises really screw up the lower back.

GM's are great for lower back strength, while hyperextensions are the worst for aggravating a lower back problem. I stay away from them like the plague, and I've never felt better.


800 lbs good mornings? What on earth is that? That must be a mistake.


louie once told me when i told him that i had indeed hurt my back doing goodmornings, "heh- yeah they will either make you or break you." i dont think it can be said better than that.

i have not tried goodmornings since my back injury last march, but i intend to start, very light and work my way up. i have done 495 for a triple before, but that was with the assistance of the bottom half of a snug power-suit and a few "chemicals". untill i injured my back recently, i could still do 405 for 1-3 reps "raw".

i feel that they are a moderatley dangerous exercise, with great benifits if done correctly and with a little luck. as louie said: "any exercise totally safe is totally worthless!"

thunder: 800lb goodmorning? my best comp squat was 640, and i did 500 goodmorning. if your back is up to par, you(so sais louie) you should be able to good morning about 70% of your best power squat. so those monsters at westside who squat 1000lbs plus, an 800lb goodmorning does not seem that far out.


"any exercise totally safe is totally worthless".
What a great quote. I've never met a truly large dude with big numbers who hasn't suffered an injury here or there. You get it taken care of and get back on the horse.