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How to Do the Good Morning Exercise Routine

The good morning exercise is a popular workout move with several unique variations. Learn all about how to include a good morning exercise routine to your daily lifestyle.

What makes a good morning exercise routine? How about a unique workout move that engages your knees, hips, hamstrings, glutes, and your lower back? A workout literally called “the good morning,” this exercise wakes up your body at any time of day.

What Is the Good Morning Exercise?

The good morning exercise is typically performed with a barbell, but there's a bodyweight version of the move as well. The move involves bending over with a barbell balanced behind your shoulders, then quickly standing up straight again.

While this move might sound a bit uncomfortable – and potentially even bad for your spine when done wrong – it's a great addition to your workouts when done correctly.

Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts love to use this move as a substitute for squats or a deadlift, and it's easy to see why – you'll stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your lower back, making it an ideal move for just about anyone.

How Do I Do the Good Morning Workout?

There are several variations of the good morning workout: the classic, a seated version, and front or back loading.

The Classic

A classic good morning rep can be performed with or without a barbell. Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of the move.

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and sticking straight ahead. Bend your knees slightly to help you maintain balance while performing each rep. If you are using a barbell, situate it at the base of your neck. Make sure the barbell is centered – otherwise, you'll have a hard time balancing.
  • If you are doing the bodyweight version of the move, stand with your hands crossed over your chest. Make sure to keep your back flat, bending your knees instead of your spine. That way, you'll make the most of the workout and avoid getting hurt.
  • Bend straight forward, flexing at your hips instead of with your back.


This good morning variation is a great move for your gluteus maximus and lower-back muscles in particular. However, sitting makes this a more isolated version of the exercise – it doesn't target your legs as much as the other variations.

To perform a sitting good morning rep, make sure you're sitting with your feet shoulder-width apart. Flex your core, bending straight over until you are parallel with the ground. From there, move back up to your starting position.

The seated good morning exercise is ideally performed with a barbell resting on your traps. Because this version of the exercise is meant to primarily engage your glutes and lower back, adding some resistance is ideal.

After all, this move targets some of the biggest muscle groups in your body – and they can handle some weight.

Front- or Back-Loaded

Two of the most popular ways to practice good morning exercise involve weights. These are the front-loaded and back-loaded versions of the move. Adding one of these variations of the good morning exercise routine into your workouts is a great way to progress when you've hit a plateau with the bodyweight version of the move.

> Front-Loaded

The front-loaded good morning exercise is perfect for you if you don't have a barbell but do have a one-handed weight like a dumbbell. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are all perfect for the front-loaded good morning.

To do this version of the exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart while gripping your weight goblet-style. That means you'll hold the weight by one of the sides if it's a dumbbell or by the handle if it's a kettlebell.

To perform the move, flex your abs and gently bend your knees, flexing with your hips and leaning all the way forward. Make sure to keep your back straight!

Finishing the move is simple: reverse what you did to get into the bent-over position, pushing back upwards as soon as you start to feel your hamstrings stretching.

> Back-Loaded

The back-loaded version of the good morning exercise requires a barbell. However, if you're at the gym, you can use a Smith machine with a squat rack for added stability.

The starting position for the back-loaded good morning exercise is standing with the bar resting on your traps and rear deltoids. These muscle groups will support the bar and keep it stable.

With your feet hip-width apart, bend straight forward while pushing your butt backward. Your torso should be parallel with the floor once you're finished with the move.

Similar to a back squat or deadlift, your stance, grip, and the amount of weight you use can all make a big difference in how well you perform the back-loaded good morning exercise.

While high weight loads might seem like the best choice for this workout, too much weight can easily put a strain on your spine and upper back, and that's the opposite of what you want.

In addition, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart isn't quite the right stance for the move – stick with hip-width apart for optimal balance.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Made with the Good Morning Exercise?

While the good morning exercise is a super simple move, there are still a few ways to inadvertently mess up the workout. Here are some of the most common mistakes made while doing the good morning exercise – and how to avoid them.

Not Warming Up

A good warm-up routine is essential for any workout. You'll be engaging a lot of muscle groups with the good morning exercise, so making sure that your muscles are actually ready is essential.

Many lifters warm up using some light aerobic exercise. That might mean some light jogging on the treadmill at the gym or even a walk around the block. Low-impact exercise helps to get your heart rate higher and loosens you up before you get into the rest of your workout.

Not Focusing on Form

Powerlifters, bodybuilders, and just about any athlete in the world will tell you the same thing – form is essential when it comes to weightlifting. You can make or break your workouts with your form, so it's worth the extra time and effort to get it right and maintain it.

Some of the best form tips for the good morning exercise include:

  • Making sure you stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Bending over at your hips, not with your lower back
  • Fully bending over, not just doing a slight bend

Not Taking Modifications

Every lifter gets to a point where they hit a plateau with their workout routine. When you hit that point, it's time to up the intensity and shock your muscles with some extra resistance.

That might mean switching up the version of the good morning exercise that you do, or just adding some more weight to the current version of the move. It's entirely up to you!

Make Your Good Morning Better With ivee

At ivee, we're big fans of a good morning workout, and we think you will be, too! And if you need a little recovery boost, The Athletic Recovery IV wellness therapy contains our essential amino acid blend along with hydration and other powerful nutrients so you can have good morning after good morning.

Following a good morning exercise routine makes a perfect addition to any workout, whether you're at home or in the gym. You can do it with or without weight, which makes it accessible to anyone, and there are plenty of ways to switch things up and increase the difficulty of the move.


Electromyographic activity in deadlift exercise and its variants. A systematic review | NIH

Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis | NCBI

The Importance of Proper Technique and Form to Your Workout | A Healthier Michigan


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