One of the best exercises for strengthening your hamstrings, glutes and lower back, while also helping to improve your squat and deadlift, is the good morning. It will even hit your adductors, so you can leave those silly machines alone! I believe it is called a good morning because it mimics the action of bowing to someone in greeting.
Purpose: Good mornings will teach you how to perfectly master the hip hinge, which is a crucial part of the deadlift. They will also improve your depth for squats. It is my all-time favourite exercise for hitting the hamstrings, and it will help to sculpt that perfect shelf booty.
Note: It is extremely important to warm up properly before attempting good mornings by first performing at least two or three hamstring-specific exercises. Because the exercise is so intense and the range of motion is quite deep, I have slightly pulled my hamstring a number of times using only an unweighted bar. Always start with light weights to avoid injury to both the hamstrings and lower back.
Set-up: Place a barbell on a squat rack just below shoulder height. Come underneath the bar with bent knees, rest it on the back of your shoulders and place your hands on the outside of your shoulders with an overhand grip as if you were preparing to do a back squat. Lift the bar off the rack by straightening your legs and take a couple of steps backwards. Stand upright with your feet hip width apart, slightly bent knees and eyes looking straight in front.
Execution: Keeping your legs as still and straight as possible, hinge your hips backwards (stick your butt out) while lowering your torso until it is parallel with the floor and you feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the starting position by bringing your hips forward and lifting your chest. All the movement should be coming from your hips. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the exercise by avoiding looking down.
I love doing these in really tiny shorts ala Erin Stern and watching the reaction from the guys in the gym! Just don’t do what I saw a girl do last week and wear really cheap tights so every time you bend forward, the entire gym can see your flowery granny panties!
(If you can’t see the video, here is the link to Erin Stern performing good mornings! Still having technical difficulties…)
Booty blasting workout:
Back squats: 2 x 12, 2 x 6-8
Alternate barbell lunges: 3 x 16 (8 per side)
Lying leg curls: 2 x 15, 2 x 12
Single leg Romanian deadlift: 3 x 10 (per side)
Barbell hip thrusts: 4 x 10
Good mornings: 3 x 12-15
Have you tried good mornings? What’s your favourite hamstring exercise?