Good Morning Exercise: How, Benefits, Variations


Have you seen lifters turn a barbell squat into a good morning by losing upper back tightness? Now, the problem isn’t that the good morning exercise isn’t great exercise, but the problem here is putting your lower back in a risky position. A squat is a squat, and good mornings are good mornings, and don’t confuse the two.

Regularly performing good mornings with dumbbells will strengthen your entire back so that your squat never looks like something out of a workout fail video. Plus, it will give you some pop in your posterior. Here we’ll dive into what a good morning is (which includes coffee), how to do it, the benefits, common mistakes, and some alternatives and variations if the bar variation isn’t for you.

Grab your coffee and get ready for some good mornings.


The hello bar is a pure hip hinge exercise that trains your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. By placing a barbell on your upper back and hinging it, you’ll train your hips, lower back, and hamstrings in a wide range of motion to add muscle and strength. But if shoulder mobility or lower back pain is an issue, it’s best to opt for an alternative or variation below.

Good mornings at the barre should be mastered with lighter loads before increasing the intensity. When you get the hang of it, it’s a fantastic exercise for building posterior muscles and strength.


  1. Install the barbell in the squat rack as you would for your barbell back squat.
  2. Lower yourself under the bar and place the bar in your preferred position on your upper back.
  3. Unhook the bar and take two or three steps back. Spread your feet about shoulder width apart.
  4. With a slight bend in the knees, hinge the hips while keeping the chest up and the shoulders down.
  5. Stop when your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
  6. Then get into a standing position by contracting your glutes and hamstrings.
  7. Reset to neutral posture and repeat for appropriate reps.


The hello bar is primarily a lower body exercise, but since the barbell is on your back, your upper body is also involved. Here are the main muscles trained by the hello bar.

Upper body

  • Upper back (rhomboids, trapdoors)
  • slats
  • Posterior deltoid

Lower body

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Lower back (erector spinae)
  • Anterior nucleus


This rear-loaded hip hinge, although difficult to operate well, and the hip and shoulder mobility requirements are enormous, the hello bar has five notable advantages.

  • Improved squat and deadlift performance: Keeping your lower back strong and neutral is essential for a well-executed deadlift and squat. Any energy leakage there will result in loss of form and increased risk of injury. Because you are only as strong as your weakest link, please don’t let that be your lower back. Additionally, good mornings train hip extension lockout strength, which directly carries over to these two exercises.
  • Lower back strength and muscle: The spinal erectors are three long, thin muscles that run vertically from the pelvis and travel up the spine to your neck. They maintain spinal integrity under load and help resist spinal flexion that can occur with heavily loaded lower body exercises. Good morning dumbbells will add muscle and strength to those muscles so you can protect your lower back under heavy loads.
  • Injury prevention: When a tree becomes heavy, it leans to one side. Usually, to remedy this problem, you tie a rope and plant it in the ground on the opposite side to give the tree more stability. The spinal erectors play a similar role in maintaining spinal stability during loaded and unloaded movements. When you train hard and heavy, the lower back plays an important role in maintaining proper spinal alignment. This reduces compensations and reduces the risk of lower back injuries.
  • Building a steel posterior: The hello places the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings in a greater range of motion and provides a stretch during the eccentric contraction before the concentric contraction. Exercises that take a muscle group safely through a larger ROM are great for building muscle.
  • Improved posture: We live in an internally rotating society because we’re hunched over our computers and smartphones for hours on end. Strong erectors of the spine play an important role in maintaining good posture and by training them you are repairing some of the damage caused by sitting.


Good morning exercise goes a long way in rebuilding the back. But you have to pay attention to the details to get the most out of this exercise and not injure yourself.

  • You do not have adequate mobility: You need good shoulder and hip mobility to perform the hello bar. If you have trouble deadlifting from the floor or have pain in your front shoulder when the bar is on your back, refer to the variations and alternatives below and work on your mobility. Trying to insert a round peg into a square hole with this drill is a surefire way to injure yourself.
  • Do not progress too quickly: Good mornings are an incidental exercise and not suitable for a one-repetition type of maximum effort. Don’t treat it as an absolute strength exercise, progress slowly and let your guide guide you to increase the intensity. The wide range of motion is great for building muscle, but it also means there’s a lot more room for error. Be careful.
  • No rounding of the spine: If you become overconfident and use more weight than you can handle, you could round your upper back and collapse your chest near the bottom of your hinge. This can be catastrophic for your lower back because you shift the weight to your back and not to your hips and hamstrings. If this happens, drop the weight, slow it down, and focus on your hip hinge for protection.


You can load up the morning exercise, but don’t confuse it with absolute strength exercise. It doesn’t matter what your maximum hello is, except maybe your dog. Here, be sure to use good form as a guide for charging and not your ego. Use these recommendations as a guide and they can be modified based on your fitness goals.

For hypertrophy: Performing three to four sets of six to 12 reps and pairing them with another exercise for the glutes or hamstrings works well for adding muscle. For instance

1A. Barbell Good Morning: 6 to 12 repetitions

1B. Hamstring Bend Variation: 12 reps

For strength: Three to five sets of four to six reps work well here. Because you are training for strength, it is best paired with mobility exercise for recovery and technique purposes. For instance

1A. Barbell Good Morning: four to six repetitions

1B. Passive leg lowering: 10 reps per side


Not everyone has the shoulder or hip mobility for good mornings with dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train this valuable movement. Here are some variations and alternatives to continue building your steel posterior.

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Richard V. Johnson