Good Mornings Are an Excellent Auxiliary Movement

Good Morning Exercise: An Excellent Auxiliary Movement?

The first time I heard the term “good morning” was when my friend told me she had been doing them all her life. She said they were so much fun! That’s what I thought too until one day while working out with some friends, it dawned on us that we were actually not enjoying ourselves very much. We started getting sore and tired pretty quickly after just a few sets of these exercises. So much for having fun!

We tried other movements like pull ups or dips but none of those worked quite as well. Then it hit me…I knew how to do good mornings! They are an excellent auxiliary movement that can really increase your strength and endurance without adding any weight. And they don’t require any equipment either!

You just stand up straight and bend over (or squat if you prefer) with your hands behind your head.

So why aren’t everyone doing them?

Well, there are several reasons. First of all, most gyms have no place where you can practice them. Second of all, many people think they’re difficult and don’t want to bother with them because they feel intimidated by the idea of standing up straight and bending over. Finally, most people aren’t even aware that they exist!

In fact I’m going to tell you right now that if you haven’t done good mornings yet then you need to start immediately! If you’re already doing them then great, now you have a reason to keep doing them and you can impress all your friends. Here are some of the benefits of good morning exercise:

They are also called glute ham raises or GHRs. They target the hamstrings and glutes which are two muscles that most people ignore or don’t pay enough attention to. Strong hamstrings can improve your squat by getting you low enough to start building up momentum. Strong glutes can help you jump higher and run faster.

They strengthen the core by requiring you to hold a straight-body position as you bend over. This is more difficult than most people think. It also helps if you keep your head up throughout the entire movement rather than looking down at the floor. If you feel your back arching then it’s a good idea to put a pillow or a shirt on the floor so you don’t put too much stress on your back.

They improve balance. This is especially true if you do them with your eyes closed or blindfolded. Just be careful!

They can help improve your posture. Many people have poor posture and this could be due to weak muscles in the lower back, hamstrings, adductors or glutes. These muscles need to be strengthened in order to support the spine. Good mornings will help you with exactly that!

As you can see, good mornings are definitely an exercise everyone should do! The reason why most people avoid them is because they find the position difficult to maintain and they don’t know how to go about performing the movement correctly. I’m going to show you exactly how to do a good morning so you can get started right away.

Good Mornings Are an Excellent Auxiliary Movement - gym fit workout

The initial position is exactly what it sounds like: you stand up straight and bend over until your hands touch the floor. There are a couple of things to remember here. First of all, make sure you bend your knees very slightly and keep your back straight. Don’t bend over at the waist because that can be potentially dangerous for your lower back.

Second, make sure you don’t round out your back like you’re trying to touch your toes. You should maintain a straight line from your head all the way down to your legs.

Third, don’t point your toes forward. Turn them slightly outward so that all the weight moves gradually onto the sides of your feet. If you point them forward then all the weight will be on your big and second toe which takes the pressure off your legs and puts it all on your tiny little toes.

You should also make sure that you keep your arms behind your head as you bend over. If you let them dangle in front then every part of your body except for your legs will be taking part in the movement. If this happens then all you’re really doing is stretching your hamstrings which isn’t the point of the exercise.

If you’re really flexible then you can put your palms flat on the floor at the bottom of the movement. This is a GHR! Otherwise, you can start with your fingers on the floor and slide them forward as your hamstrings become stronger.

The first few times you do this exercise, it’s a good idea to have a pillow or a shirt to put under your head so that it doesn’t hit the floor too hard.

There are two ways you can go about lifting yourself up from the bottom position. First of all, you can bend your knees first then lift your head up. Or you can roll onto your shoulders and then lift your head and torso up at the same time. Either way works.

Remember to keep that natural arch in your back for the whole exercise. You don’t want to end up doing useless crunches!

Good Mornings Are an Excellent Auxiliary Movement - GYM FIT WORKOUT

One more thing to remember: form is important so don’t be too macho! Go slowly and do not bounce at the bottom of the movement.

To get the best results from this exercise, you need to use good form. It’s very important to keep your legs and back straight. Do not bend over at the waist; keep a natural arch in your back at all times. Also, do not point your toes forward; keep them turned out slightly.

If any of these form pointers are a problem for you, then it might be a good idea to put a book under your feet until you can do the movement properly.

As you get stronger, you will be able to do this exercise without props. Just remember form is most important!

The Proper Way To Do A GHR

Starting Position: Lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched straight out in front of you and your palms flat on the floor. Your legs are straight and your toes are pointed straight ahead. Make sure your hips are not raised too high in the air. You should be lying flat on your stomach with your body making a straight line from your head to your knees.

This is the starting position.

Tip: It’s often helpful to use a pillow or a shirt to put under your head so it doesn’t hit the floor too hard. Also, you may want to use a timer or have a watch with a second hand so you can time each rep. Each rep should take about four seconds to complete.

Good Mornings Are an Excellent Auxiliary Movement - GymFitWorkout

Tip: If you can’t do any of the other tips then at least make sure that your legs remain straight and your toes pointed. These are the most common mistakes that people make when doing this exercise.

Exercise: Slowly bend your legs and bring your knees up towards your shoulders. When your knees are as high as they can go, pause and then lower back down to the starting position over a period of four seconds. Make sure to keep your back and legs straight while doing this.

Note: Each set should consist of repetitions. Start out by doing three sets. As you grow stronger, you can gradually add more sets. You want to wait at least one minute in between each set.

Also, make sure you wait at least two minutes before starting the second exercise in this routine.

Variation: You can also do this exercise with one leg at a time. This is called a single leg grapling hook and is much harder to do because you’re unilaterally flexing your hip flexors. So if you start doing this exercise with one leg at a time, make sure you also do the other exercises in the program for that day.

Is A GHR Machine Better?

A lot of gyms have what’s called a GHR machine. It stands for glute ham raise. Basically, it does the same movement that you do except that it takes some of the pressure off your body by using a special device.

The problem with this piece of equipment is that most gyms don’t have them and even if they did, you still need to use good form or you can hurt yourself. The best way to do GHRs is to use a technique called contrast training. This means that after you use the machine, you immediately do a set of body weight GHRs. The raised heart rate caused by the machine makes the body weight GHRs easier to do.

The main advantage that this piece of gym equipment has over doing them with your own body is convenience. It’s fast and you can easily do an entire GHR workout in less than five minutes. Plus, you don’t have to wait for your muscles to warm up.

The main disadvantage is cost. A good GHR machine costs $700 or more. This cost can be greatly reduced if you buy used but it’s still more expensive than doing body weight GHRs, even if you buy the equipment needed to do them properly.

What Muscles Does The Glute Ham Raise Work?

The glute ham raise primarily works three of the muscles in your leg (the hamstring group). These are the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. It also works your gluteus maximus (your buttocks) and your calves.

The GHR is a fairly difficult exercise. Even if you have pretty good flexibility, it’ll still take some time to get used to this movement. Be patient and don’t try to rush through the progressions.

Here’s an example of a good GHR program.

The Best Glute Ham Raise Program

If you want to add some extra muscle to your legs, the GHR is an excellent exercise to add to your routine. Be sure to start slow and only increase the weight or the number of reps when you can maintain perfect form.

Good Mornings Are an Excellent Auxiliary Movement - GYM FIT WORKOUT

For the best results, you may also want to combine your GHR routine with other leg exercises such as squats and lunges. Always remember to warm up properly before doing any leg exercises.

If you are new to this kind of exercise, don’t add the GHR to your routine until you get a little stronger, do at least three months of basic weight training and have a solid understanding of how to do the exercises properly.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact a trainer at your gym or look online for extra information on the subject. The better your technique, the less likely you are to get hurt which will allow you to enjoy your new routine for years to come.

Sources & references used in this article:

Which Deadlift is Right for Your Body Type? by M Gedge – breakingmuscle.com

Is chloral hydrate/hydroxyzine a good option for paediatric dental outpatient sedation? by V Avalos-Arenas, D Moyao-García… – … medical research and …, 1998 – Taylor & Francis

momentuHMM: R package for generalized hidden Markov models of animal movement by BT McClintock, T Michelot – Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2018 – Wiley Online Library