Top of the morning to ya. Word around these parts is that your lower back isn’t so pleasant to look at in the morning. Heck, it doesn’t look good when you’re posing at any time of the day. Perhaps it’s time to get serious about your back training, and really challenge that area to grow. You use your deadlifts for pure mass, and you know the hyperextensions you’ve been using are helping with detail. However, you have been searching for a third exercise which can help deliver detail and mass to the lower back – and you don’t mind a challenge. Well, let’s hope you rested well last night. Good mornings have arrived, and you’re in for a very rough day!
Completing good mornings is simple. Begin with a very light barbell on your back. The pre-fitted barbells in ten-pound increments work best for this exercise. Stand with the barbell on your shoulders, and then bend over to the point where your upper body is parallel to the floor. You never want to go below parallel with this exercise, or the barbell may just roll down to the floor. Once you bend over, slowly return to the standing position with the barbell on your back. This is a reverse deadlift in that the weight is above you, not below you, and the mechanics behind the movement are remarkably similar.
A belt should always be worn when completing good mornings. This exercise places the lower back in quite the vulnerable position, and the added support of a ‘second spine’ can be the difference between a great lower back pump and 6 months out of the gym following surgery. Never train to failure with this movement, and never go above a weight that you can move for at least 8 repetitions (and preferable ten!) You may need to insert a towel between your neck and the barbell if pain occurs, or employ the use of the “Manta Ray” or similar pad on the squat bar. The heavier weight you lift, the more risk that will be posed to the neck and upper back.
If you have experienced injuries to the lower back or any place on the spine, you will want to consult with your physician before plunging into the world of good mornings. They’re very effective, but are considered by some trainers to be a “young man’s movement” in that older trainers with more back issues and less flexibility may have a difficult time completing the movement.
Set and repetition range will vary based upon your needs and level of overall development. Four sets should be fine for most bodybuilders, but a limit of two may be used if the lower back is already experiencing a major pump when arriving at this exercise. Your reps should always be in the 10 to 15 range. Going too heavy can lead to serious risk of injury.
Start or finish your lower back days with good mornings, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results!