Good Morning by Dan Bernardin

The Good Morning is a huge bang for your buck exercise that is generally under utilized in football. It is a hip hinge exercise that is similar in its kinematics (movement) to the Romanian Deadlift. However, just because an exercise is similar in its movement pattern does not make it equal.
There is a significant difference in muscle activation between these two giant posterior chain (muscles and tendons on the back of the body) developers. The key muscles of the posterior chain for footballers are the hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae (muscles that run along the spine).The Good Morning will bias the erector spinae whilst the Romanian Deadlift will bias the hamstrings within the posterior chain. This is due to where the bar is placed, the Good Morning sees the bar positioned on the shoulders creating an advanced lever length position and therefore the erector spinae has to work overtime to stabilize the spine and utilize the hamstrings and glutes around the fulcrum (the hip). The Romanian Deadlift sees the bar positioned in front of the body close to the fulcrum point, this reduces the lever length and therefore will stimulate the hamstrings and glutes more as the erector spinae is needed to a lesser degree.

The posterior chain is extremely important for almost all athletic movements especially sprinting! Every season the lower back is identified as a weak link in a footballers posterior chain, season after season this comes up in testing and is very noticeable during strength training sessions. The good morning is typically an assistance exercise and it should not be accompanied by squats or deadlifts in your programme. This will cause the lower back to be overloaded. Instead add it to split squats and step ups (knee dominant exercises), this reduces the amount of work produced around the hip reducing posterior chain stress.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Begin by placing the bar across the shoulders in the same position as a back squat. Keep your back tight by pulling the bar down into your shoulders, squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your elbows under the bar.
  2. The movement starts at the hips, moving backwards with a slight bend in your knees. Maintain a neutral head position, slight arch in the lumbar spine and keep your chest out whilst moving into a position where your chest is just off parallel to the floor.
  3. Reverse the motion by driving the hips forward utilising your lower back, glutes and hamstrings returning to the start position.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this exercise, it is not easy and we have both regressions and progressions