T Nation

Good Mornings


Good mornings are the staple of a WSB max effort day. This is for several reasons:

1) Because they work your posterior chain in such a manner as to benfit both the squat and deadlift.

2) Are less demanding on your body than either squats or deadlifts and are easier to recuperate from.

This being said, it is imperative that one does these with proper form.

I was lucky enough to have a powerliftering coach at my old gym to show me proper form on these.

If you have access to one, this is the way to go. Even if you have to spend 40 or 50 an hour, it will be money well spent. This is your back that we are talking about here. Honestly, I would have someone teach you all of the big three and be diligent in trying to master your form in any lift.

If not, try to get a decent training video somewhere.

However, they are not rocket science and are less technical than either a deadlift or a squat.

Simply step up to the bar as if you are going to squat. I recommend starting off by doing wide stance arched back good mornings.

Set up with a wide stance which for me is with the front of my feet an inch from the bars of a power rack. I point my feet outwards, while arching my back while keeping my head straight.

Then push your ass back, straight back until you lower the bar; go down until you feel like you are going to lose the arch. All the meanwhile, do NOT look down and keep your eyes ahead; if you look down, you will start to round your back.

When you are ready to ascend, pretend that a blond with big tits and an ass that tastes like french vanilla ice cream is in front of you, and move your hips like you are trying to tap that ass.

Repeat the process for a 5 rep max.

Have a spotter watch you.

When you get your form down, try for a 3 rep max.

Things to watch for:

1) Losing the arch and rounding the back. While you can do round back GM's, I think that they are riskier than arch back ones.

2) Tilting to one side: this means that you have a weakness. Lower the weight.

You can also vary your stances. I usually do a wide stance because I pull sumo. If you pull conventional, you might want to keep your legs closer together.


I've never really liked the idea of doing good mornings for max effort. I just think it's too easy to break form. Perhaps I'm just not comfortable enough with them, but I only use them for RE.


Here is something from Dave Tate, but I have heard Louie Simmons say the same thing:The best max effort exercise for the squat and dead lift are Good Mornings, Low Box Squat and Dead lift. The good morning is probably the best overall exercise for strength development and should be utilized 70 percent of all Max effort days.

Actually, if you learn good form, like I said they are less techincal than either a dl or a squat.


Great post julius


I very rarely do them as my ME exercise, but rather hit them second as a heavy assistance exercise. I work up and do 3 sets at 3-5 reps usually. I probabaly do need to do them more often though.



As far as tilting to one side, is there any specific weakness that might be the cause, or could it be any number of weaknesses?


They also said that past a certain poundage on the lift, they actually drop it as a ME exercise and use it only as assistance.


Just to throw it out there, I prefer to do another form of Good Morning. I refer to as an "Olympic Good Morning", since I have seen olympic training hall tapes with europeans doing them, but i have no clue if people refer to them as with some different moniker.

I take a relatively narrow stance, about the stance that I would do an olympic-style backsquat with. I proceed down with a slightly arched back until a point where my back is about the same angle that it would be doing the pull phase of the clean & jerk. Then, you explode upward and finish on your toes. Obviously, you wouldn't be able to use quite the same amount of weight as the widestanced GM form described above, but i also find that it helps both my squat and dl immensely (as well as my power clean), without the same sort of muscle/body abuse that a dl or squat can do.


I remember reading that too, something like 500 or 600 pounds.


This is how I usually use them. I might give them a go as ME when I get back into a westside style routine.


I just started doing these too after seeing some OLY clips. In my workout log I just call them Russian GM's...my descent phase is probably a bit on the quick side too. I recently hit a recent PR on the GM @ 500 for 3 raw - had more in the tank - I've gone heavier in the past but with a belt. I'm not sure I get the reference to dropping them as ME when they get heavy...I haven't seen it. I like the OLY variant though for explosion and think they are a nice assistance excercise. I believe one of the Dimas clips showed them?


One of the coaches I used to work out with (John Coffee) said that the Bulgarian lifters placed such an emphasis on maintaining strict form that they never went above 100 kg. Does anyone know if this is true?


Everyone has a dominant side. If you tilt, you are probably just stronger on your right or left side. On any sort of barbell movement, your strong side will try to dominate. It's more obvious with things like the bench or military press, but it is everywhere where you use a barbell as opposed to dumbells.


I am pretty clueless when it comes to Olympic Lifting. The only snatch that I know about I usually have my tongue on and clean and jerk is what I used to do when I was in high school and didn't have a girlfriend.

Seriously though, do you have a video of this?


I don't think that unless you are an elite powerlifter that you can do a triple with 6 or even 500 pounds.

I know when I started doing them that the gains came fast and furious, and when I got into the upper threes they slowed down to maybe 5 pounds a month on my max triple.


Here is an ironmind training hall video. After the few sets of squats he does some oly good mornings. This might be what was refered to.


Here is the video. At the beginning of the video, the guy is squating 295kg raw, then switches to some lighter OLY good mornings. Enjoy.


I have heard this. This is a coincidence though, as their were no definite, its just they coaches never felt anyone was strong enough to NEED to do more. However, they are not training to move weight the same way you are moving a deadlift. They are focusing on speed, like you would with any oly lift, so you can get the same kind of effect with a lighter weight.



As a relatively new lifter (<1yr), I switched to Westside and followed the 70% rule of thumb for goodmornings on max effort day- got my GM up into the high 300s, doing medium stance arched back, and from chains. My squat stalled in the low 300s, and I made little progress until I dropped GMs as a max effort exercise, spent more time squatting and started using GMs (alternated with RDLs) as an assist exercise, sometimes going down to sets of heavy triples, sometimes doing sets up to 15 (re work).

I put about 60lbs on my squat in about 8 months with this switch. As a relatively new lifter, I think the extra work on the squat is more valuable.



I think this is an excellent point. When you're new to powerlifting and the movements, it's important to train them more frequently.

I'm not knocking GM by any means, I just think that if you're new, frequency of the squat is important.