The Good Morning is not just a lovely sentiment to hear paired with the sound of crackling bacon. It is also a very effective exercise to promote a proper hinging pattern and build up the low back, hamstrings and glutes. While fairly straightforward, it is imperative to have this movement pattern down before adding load on the back with a barbell. Fortunately, if you have a mobility cane, broomstick or PVC pipe, you can easily practice this move.
The Good Morning is essentially a hinge at the hips with a bar on your back. So start with your cane or whatever else you are using behind your neck across your shoulders. Be sure it is below your last neck bone. With nice proud posture and keeping your abs nice and tight (remember our article on a neutral spine?), push your butt back and let your shoulders come forward to counterbalance it. Notice this will bend you at the hips and knees but not the ankles. Your shins should remain vertical this whole time. When you get your glutes back as far as you can before rounding your back or shooting those shins forward, stomp through the floor, push your hips through and stand tall again.
Some common faults with this pattern are rounding the low back, pushing the shins forward which turns it into a squat pattern, and keeping the knees locked out. Rounding the back will come as a result of losing core tightness and leave you open to injury, especially at higher loads. Not allowing the knees to bend as you try to push your butt back will turn the move into the same pattern as a toe touch which leaves a huge portion of the load on your low back and limits the involvement of the glutes.
Utilize the tool you have handy to practice this exercise so you can use it with more load in the gym or transfer the hinging pattern into other activities like deadlifting or merely picking up something you dropped.
Bonus exercise: Kang Squats
For an added little twist, you can work up to Kang Squats. This is a combo squat and good morning movement to work your ability to hinge well as well as sit into a deep squat. To start the Kang Squat, perform your Good Morning to the bottom of the movement. Now, instead of standing, sit your hips in between your ankles and allow your shins to travel forward. This will sit you into the bottom of a squat. Next, reverse that sitting movement to get back into the bottom of your Good Morning. Then simply stand up like the lifting portion of a Good Morning. Rinse and repeat. This move is kind of confusing initially. I love breaking it down into what joint is mainly moving. First is the hips for the good morning. Then it’s the knees flexing to sit into a squat. Next, it’s the knees again, this time extending to get to the bottom of the good morning. Last, it’s the hips to finish upright. So hips, knees, knees, hips!
Just remember that you should be used to the good morning and squat before the fun of Kang Squats.
As always, keep working hard and enjoy!