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How To Do Good Mornings Correctly, For A Stronger Core & Lower Body

Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor By Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career.
Bored With Squats? Try This Exercise To Fire Up Your Glutes & Core Instead

One of the best ways to optimize your workout routine is by including compound movements that target several areas of the body at once. Good mornings are one such exercise that not only fires up your glutes but also activates your core and back for a full-body workout that does double duty.

While this exercise requires dumbbells to be most effective, it's easily modified at home to work for all fitness levels and tone your booty, back, and abs. Good mornings can also be used as a mobility exercise to increase movement in the hips, making it a multifunctional asset to your full-body routine.

We chatted with Sara Angle, ACE-CPT, to find out how to safely do this move (demonstrated below by certified personal trainer BB Arrington, CPT) in order to engage your entire body, along with the best variations to try as you improve your strength and confidence in the gym.

How to do good mornings.

good mornings

Image by mbg creative

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward and knees slightly bent, with a pair of dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Rack the dumbbells on your shoulders, with one end of the dumbbell at the base of your neck and the other end back toward your shoulder blade. (Alternatively, you can do this as a front-loaded move: Hold a single dumbbell at shoulder height, one hand on either side of the dumbbell.)
  3. Keeping your core engaged and spine in a neutral position, hinge at your hips, bringing your torso nearly parallel to the floor.
  4. Return to start. That's one rep. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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Form tips.

Thinking about the muscles you're targeting as you work out (otherwise known as the mind-muscle connection) will make a world of difference in the effectiveness of each move. "You should practice mastering the hip-hinge movement with a flat back before adding weight to this move," suggests Angle. "This is a great exercise to progress through because you can add variations like a front-loaded good morning and good mornings with a barbell to get more advanced," she adds.

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Additionally, making sure to keep your core engaged for the entirety of the movement will protect your back and leg muscles, as your abdominals will help maintain stability in your body. "The key to this exercise is to really focus on form so you don't use your back. It all depends on your knee bend and engaging your abdominals so you don't use your lower back muscles," adds Jason Williams, NASM-CPT and well-being coach.

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Modifications and variations.

Changing the weight you're using is the biggest modification at your disposal. Angle notes that you can even include good mornings as a bodyweight movement during a warmup, before adding heavier dumbbells. "When you begin adding weight, start with 5 to 10 pounds and slowly work your way up," she suggests. "For an added challenge, you can also perform this move with a barbell."

Resistance band good mornings

If you don't have dumbbells available to you, using a large resistance band will target the same muscles, making the movement accessible for a home workout.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the resistance band pinned to the ground beneath.
  2. Loop the resistance band over your body so the top of the band is resting behind your neck and draped over your shoulder.
  3. Complete the exercise with the same movement as with a dumbbell, hinging at the hips and making sure to keep your back flat and core engaged until you're parallel with the floor.
  4. Return to a standing position to complete one rep.
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Add it to your routine.

Good mornings don't have to be isolated simply to your leg-day workouts. They can be a great combination with a yoga flow, to help stretch out your hip flexor muscles. Or, try including this move as a warmup for an at-home, full-body workout, like this one from Arrington:

Bottom line: Good mornings fit effortlessly into any workout routine to help strengthen your core, wake up your glutes, and promote better mobility.

vitamin D3 potency+
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(68)
vitamin D3 potency+

vitamin D3 potency+

Supports bone and muscle health.*

vitamin D3 potency+

vitamin D3 potency+

Supports bone and muscle health.*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(68)
vitamin D3 potency+

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