Do Good Mornings Help Deadlifts? (Yes, Here’s How)

Do Good Mornings Help_Deadlifts

Increasing your deadlift is going to require relevant exercises in your training routine. 

Some exercises are better than others in improving the deadlift.

But do good mornings help deadlifts? Yes, good mornings do help deadlifts. They help the deadlift by strengthening the hip and other posterior muscles including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. If these muscles are your weaknesses, good mornings will be most effective at increasing your deadlift performance.

In this article, we are going to break down exactly:

  • How good mornings help the deadlift
  • Who should and should not do good mornings for deadlifts
  • How to perform and program good mornings in your routine to increase your deadlift strength

Let’s dive in!

How Do Good Mornings Help Deadlifts? (4 Ways)

The good-morning helps deadlifts by doing the following:

  • Helps cue the hip hinge
  • Maintain a flat back posture
  • Increase the strength of hip extensors 
  • Increases work capacity of the posterior muscles

1. Helps Cue the Hip Hinge

The good-morning is effective at cueing the hip hinge, which is an important component of good deadlift technique.

In order to balance properly during good mornings, you need to push your hips backward to hinge properly.

When you perform a good morning, you start from an easy position of being stood upright before you transition to hinge through your hips to reach a range of motion you feel comfortable with. 

You can improve your range of motion in the hip hinge during good mornings over time by going further after every set or every rep.

How does this benefit the deadlift?   This will benefit your ability to start in a good bottom position with the deadlifts as you need to hinge properly at the beginning of the movement.

2. Maintain a Flat Back Posture

The good-morning is effective at teaching you to maintain a flat back during lower-body movements so that you can deadlift safely.

When you perform a good morning, you keep your shoulder blades pinched back. This is useful for reinforcing the need to keep your back flat or extended.

Also, when good mornings improve your ability to hinge well through your hips, it will also support your ability to keep your lower back flat.

Check out some of the following resources to learn more about keeping your back flat in the deadlift: 

3. Increase the Strength of Hip Extensors

The good-morning is effective at training the hip extensor muscles, which are also primary muscles used in the deadlift as well. 

The hip extensor muscles are:

  • Glutes 
  • Hamstrings 
  • Hip Adductors (inner thigh)

All of these muscle groups are important for being able to deadlift. So when these muscle groups become stronger, your deadlift will become stronger.

The hip extensors are used throughout the entire range of the deadlift, but they are relied on particularly at the range of motion from just below the knees to lockout. 

If you struggle with specific ranges of motion throughout the  deadlift, check out:

4. Increases Work Capacity of the Posterior Muscles

The posterior muscles of your body i.e. the back, hips, and hamstrings, are used as the main muscles or muscles that stabilize posture during the deadlift. The good-morning is good for improving work capacity in these muscles.

Improving work capacity in these muscles can increase the number of reps that you can perform during deadlifts. They can also help you maintain good posture for longer so you can perform more consistent reps.

In other words, you’ll be able to perform more deadlift volume before your technique breaks down, which will either cause you to reach failure quicker or put you at risk of a back injury

Another exercise that increases the work capacity of the posterior muscles is the Romanian deadlift.  Check out the differences between the Romanian Deadlift vs Good Morning.  

Want to improve your deadlift technique?

Who Should Do Good Mornings For Deadlifts?

Good mornings are ideal for people who struggle with the following issues:

  • If you round your lower back
  • If you try to “squat” the weight up
  • If you have a sticking point around the knees
  • If you have a sticking point at lockout

If You Round Your Lower Back

If your lower back rounds during the deadlift, it is an injury risk. 

The good morning helps you by improving your ability to hinge well so you do not over-rely on your lower back and reinforces more extension in your lower back.

If You Try To “Squat” the Weight Up

Trying to squat the weight up during the deadlift means your hips are too low, shoulders are behind the bar and the barbell is too far forward.

This often means that you have stronger legs but weaker hips. The good-morning solves this problem by teaching you to keep the pressure on your heels more, strengthening the hip extensor muscles, and keeping your shins closer to but not fully vertical.

If You Have a Sticking Point Around the Knees

If you are able to get the weight off the floor but struggle with a sticking point either just below, at, or above the knees, then your weakness is primarily your hip extensors.

The good-morning fixes this by replicating the position you would be in at the sticking point and focuses on strengthening your hip extensors at this position.

If You Have a Sticking Point at Lockout

If you are able to get the weight past your knees but you struggle with the final inch or two at the lockout and getting your shoulders back, you may have started with a slightly rounded position in your lower or upper back.

The back extensor muscles are generally quite weak at locking out the deadlift. The good-morning helps by reinforcing a bit more extension in your back so you can rely more on stronger muscles i.e. the glutes to try and lock out the deadlift.

Check out my ultimate guide that covers 18 Exercises To Improve Deadlift Strength.

Who Should Not Do Good Mornings For Deadlifts?

Good mornings are ideal for people who struggle with the following issues:

  • If you hyperextend your lower back
  • If your hips rise too quickly

If You Hyperextend Your Lower Back

If you hyperextend your lower back, you are either thinking about sticking your hips back too much or you are sticking your chest up too much.

Performing good mornings will reinforce this and make the problem worse. Overextending your lower back puts your glutes and hamstrings in very weak positions and causes you to have a sticking point below the knees.

Rather than arching your lower back, focus on keeping it neutral.  Check out my other article on Deadlift Cues to help reinforce proper lower back positioning.  

Related Article: 12 Best Compound Glute Exercises For Muscle Size & Strength

If Your Hips Rise Too Quickly

If your hips rise too quickly during the initial few inches off the floor or your hips rise up before the barbell leaves the floor, you are avoiding loading your leg muscles, specifically your quads, and putting more loading demand on your posterior muscles.

People who suffer from this problem should not do good mornings as this continues to make your posterior chain muscles stronger. What you need to do instead is focus on the quad or knee dominant exercises such as leg press and front squats.

Other resources to check out regarding your hip and back position in the deadlift: 

How To Perform Good Mornings (5 Steps)

To perform the good morning, you will need the following: (1) a barbell with weight plates, (2) a squat rack.

The 5 steps to performing a good morning are:

  • Step 1: Unrack the barbell
  • Step 2: Breath and brace
  • Step 3: Hinge through hips 
  • Step 4: Extend through hips 
  • Step 5: Extend through hips 

Step 1: Unrack the Barbell

First, you need to set a barbell on a squat rack at about armpit level. 

You need to walk underneath the barbell while holding it with a wider than shoulder-width grip. 

Place the barbell on your upper back and shelf it above the rear delts. 

Stand up with the barbell and walk it out of the squat rack.

Step 2: Breath and Brace

Maintain a shoulder-width stance with your feet. 

Take a deep breath into your core, hold onto your breath and perform a Valsalva maneuver to brace.

Step 3: Hinge Through Hips 

While keeping your shins somewhat vertical or slightly leaning backward and knees slightly bent, you should push your hips backward as much as you can. 

Maintain a flat back and stay evenly balanced on your feet with a slight preference towards your heels.

Step 4: Extend Through Hips

When your back reaches about parallel or wherever you feel like your range of motion limit is, push your hips through and push back into the barbell until you reach upright. 

Perform as many reps as is prescribed in your program.

Step 5: Rack The Barbell 

Walk the barbell back into the squat rack when you complete your set and rack the barbell.

Useful Technique Tips and Cues For Good Mornings

To make the most out of good mornings for helping deadlift performance, good technique is important. 

It is not a movement that you want to push to failure or perform with poor technique as you could risk injury.

Here are some tips and cues you could use to reinforce good movement:

  • Start with an empty bar. As you load this exercise more and more, it changes your overall difficulty of keeping balance on your feet. When you descend during execution, you might find that a heavier barbell will try to tip you forward.
  • Keep your head in line with your body. You do not want to overly tuck your chin or cock your head up too much. Overly tucking your chin could make you round forward in your back. Cocking your head up too much can strain your neck and cause discomfort.
  • Stay grounded on your heels. When you descend during the execution, you need to make sure that you are feeling your heels to make sure that you are loading your hips as much as possible.
  • If you seem to topple forward – cue “push your butt to the wall behind you”. This is to encourage the more backward movement of the hips to keep your center of gravity back more. It should also make you feel your hamstrings stretch more.
  • If you seem to over-extend in your lower back – cue “bring your chest to the heels/knees”. This reinforces more abdominal engagement to counter the overactive lower back during the exercise.

Related Article: Can You Just Do Deadlifts For Back? Yes, But It’s Not Ideal

Sample Program Good Mornings For Deadlifts

Here is a program for good mornings that you can add to your training days at which you perform deadlifts:

Once Per Week

Follow this if you want to perform good mornings once per week. 

Week 1

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 5 reps Light-moderate load OR 5 reps in reserve

Week 2

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 6 reps Same load as the previous week

Week 3

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 7 reps Same load as the previous week

Week 4

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 8 reps Same load as the previous week

Twice Per Week

Follow this if you want to perform good mornings twice per week. 

Week 1

Day 1

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 5 reps Light-moderate load OR 5 reps in reserve

Day 2

  • Good Morning 
  • 2 sets 5 reps Same load as Day 1

Week 2

Day 1

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 6 reps Same load as the previous week

Day 2

  • Good Morning 
  • 2 sets 6 reps Same load as the previous week

Week 3

Day 1

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 7 reps Same load as the previous week

Day 2

  • Good Morning 
  • 2 sets 7 reps Same load as the previous week

Week 4

Day 1

  • Good Morning 
  • 3 sets 8 reps Same load as the previous week

Day 2

  • Good Morning 
  • 2 sets 8 reps Same load as the previous week

Further Resources


About The Author: Norman Cheung ASCC, British Powerlifting Team Coach

Norman Cheung

Norman Cheung is a powerlifting coach and an accredited strength and conditioning coach under the UKSCA. He has been coaching powerlifting since 2012 and has been an IPF Team GB coach since 2016. He has experience with coaching a variety of lifters from novices to international medallists and international university teams. Along side coaching, he takes interest in helping powerlifters take their first step into coaching. He currently runs his coaching services at strongambitionscoaching.com