Westside Barbell Good Mornings! (How To, Exercise Variations)


The Westside Barbell powerlifting team uses many different types of good mornings to build the squat and deadlift.

If you aren’t performing good mornings in your powerlifting program then you aren’t as strong as you could be!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Good Morning Max Effort Exercises
  • Part 2: Good Morning Accessory Exercises

In this comprehensive guide I will show you how the Westside Barbell powerlifting team uses the good morning to build the squat and the deadlift.

The good morning is a barbell exercise that trains your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. To perform this exercise you bend forward at your waist, lower your torso until it is almost parallel with the ground and then lift your torso back up by extending your hips.

Here is a perfect demonstration:

Louie Simmons says that good mornings are one of the best exercises you can use to build the lower back for a huge squat and deadlift. Check it out:

“Good Mornings can build great back strength or be used to prevent injuries or build flexibility”

Louie likes good mornings so much that he uses them as a heavy max effort exercise and as a lighter accessory exercise for high reps.

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team uses a good morning variation for their max effort lower body exercise about once every 4 weeks. Check it out:

Max Effort Squat / Deadlift Rotation

  • Week #1: Deadlift
  • Week #2: Squat
  • Week #3: Deadlift
  • Week #4: Good Morning

The Westside team also uses plenty of squats and deadlifts for their max effort lifts but the good morning is one of their classic max effort exercises.

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team likes to “max out” on many different types of good mornings. One of their favorites is the chain suspended good morning. Check it out:

Chain Suspended Good Morning

The chain suspended good morning is performed with the bar resting on a pair of powerlifting chains. The chains wobble forwards and backwards which makes it easier to get set up in the right starting position with the bar on your back.

Performing the good morning from a “dead stop” position is very helpful for building starting strength in the squat and deadlift.

Louie Simmons says there are two different ways you can perform a chain suspended good morning: with an arched back or a rounded back.

The arched back variation is much safer and has better carryover to the squat. The rounded back variation is much riskier but Louie Simmons says it gives you better carryover to the deadlift.

Another popular good morning variation is the good morning squat. Check it out:

Good Morning Squat

The good morning squat is a hybrid between a good morning and a back squat.

The first half of the exercise is just like a regular good morning. Once you reach the bottom position of the exercise you push your hips back to enter the bottom position of a squat. Then you squat the weight back up to lockout.

The good morning squat is so effective because you can use a heavier than normal weight for the good morning portion of the exercise. This means you can use this exercise to eccentrically overload your lower back! How cool is that?

If you are really creative then you can even perform the good morning deadlift as one of your max effort lower body exercises. Check it out:

Good Morning Deadlift

The good morning deadlift is basically a hybrid between a good morning and a deadlift. This exercise is usually performed with the safety squat bar because it rests on your upper back a little easier but a giant cambered bar can also be used.

This exercise will overload your posterior chain in a different way from a regular good morning or deadlift to stimulate strength gains.

Of course the good morning can also be used for your accessory exercises. In that case you would perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps or something similar.

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team really likes to use different specialty barbells for their good morning accessory exercises. One of their favorites is the giant cambered bar. Check it out:

Accessory Cambered Bar Good Morning

The giant cambered bar has a large bend in it which moves the weight plates lower than the rest of the bar. This lowers the center of gravity for the barbell and gives the exercise a completely different feel.

If you want to purchase your own giant cambered barbell then here is my top choice:

Rogue Giant Cambered Bar

Another great option is the safety squat bar good morning. Check it out:

Accessory Safety Squat Bar Good Morning

The safety squat bar is a really cool specialty barbell that you can use for exercises like the squat and good morning. This machine has a small camber which moves the center of gravity for the exercise forwards and down.

Your lower back and upper back have to work extremely hard throughout this exercise to prevent your upper body from falling forwards.

If you want to purchase your own giant cambered barbell then here is my top choice:

Rogue Safety Squat Bar

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team likes good mornings so much that they also use a special good morning machine called the “back attack.” Check it out:

Back Attack Machine

Louie Simmons says that the back attack machine is right up there with the reverse hyperextension for developing the lower back.

The back attack applies downward force in the bottom position and forwards force in the top position of the exercise. This gives the back attack machine a completely different feel from the regular good morning.

I highly recommend you use this piece of equipment if you have access to it.

Conclusion

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team loves to use good mornings in their workouts and it is easy to see why.

The good morning is easily one of the best exercises you can use to build the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.

If you want to use the Westside Barbell powerlifting program then I recommend you use good mornings about 25% of the time for your max effort exercises and your lower back accessory exercise.

It is a tremendous exercise that overloads your posterior chain in a completely different way from deadlifts, back extensions or any other lower back exercise.

Here is one more quote by Louie Simmons to pump you up even more:

“If you turn your car left all the time, some parts will be worn out and some won’t be touched. Your body is the same way.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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