Seated Good Mornings: A Unique Exercise for a Stronger Back and Hips
Are you looking to add some variety to your posterior chain workouts? It’s time to try seated good mornings! When it comes to building a stronger back and hips, good mornings are a popular choice. Performed with a barbell, this exercise is so-called because, when you do it, you look like you are bowing, as you might have in past times to greet an acquaintance. However, as with most exercises, there is more than one way to do good mornings. While most people do standing good mornings, some opt for the seated version. Doing seated good mornings allows for a more controlled range of motion, making it potentially safer and better for those with poor flexibility. Plus, many lifters welcome the variety that this exercise provides, as it’s an excellent alternative to the standing version.
In this article, we reveal the muscles worked by the seated good morning, explore its benefits, and provide alternatives you can use to keep your workout routine fresh and challenging. So, whether you’re a novice bodybuilder or a seasoned powerlifter, keep reading to discover how to make the most of this unusual yet effective exercise.
Seated Good Mornings – Muscles Worked
Whenever you do any exercise, you should always know its purpose. That way, you can be sure it matches your training goal. So, with that in mind, these are the primary muscles developed by seated good mornings.
Located on the backs of your thighs, the hamstrings are a group of three muscles – the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. The term “hamstrings” originates from the Old English word “ham,” meaning the back of the thigh, and “string,” which refers to the tendons that are prominent at the back of the knee. The functions of the hamstrings are knee flexion and hip extension. However, seated good mornings only involve the latter.
Known as the glutes for short, this is the most significant muscle in the human body. It’s located on the back of your hips, and you are probably sitting on yours right now. The primary function of the glutes is hip extension, which it does in combination with your hamstrings. In addition, the glutes also play a part in: Hip Abduction: Moving the leg away from the midline of the body. Hip Adduction: Bringing the leg toward the midline of the body. Medial Hip Rotation: Rotating the hip inward toward the midline of the body. Lateral Hip Rotation: Rotating the hip outward away from the midline of the body. These different movements are the result of the direction of the muscle fibers that make up the glutes.
The Erector Spinae is a group of muscles that run the length of the spine, from the sacral region to the base of the skull. The main muscles that comprise the Erector Spinae are: Iliocostalis: Further divided into iliocostalis lumborum, iliocostalis thoracis, and iliocostalis cervicis. Longissimus: Subdivided into longissimus thoracis, longissimus cervicis, and longissimus capitis. Spinalis: Includes spinalis thoracis, spinalis cervicis, and sometimes spinalis capitis. These muscles work together to extend, laterally flex, and rotate the spine. During seated good mornings, their primary function is keeping your spine straight and stable. As such, they work isometrically, i.e., statically. That is to say, they generate force without changing length.
Please Note: The glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae are often referred to as the posterior chain and typically work together. While each muscle is independently important, together, they make up one of the most critical muscle groups in the human body. The posterior chain is involved directly or indirectly in almost every movement you perform, both in and out of the gym.
Core is the collective term for the muscles that comprise your midsection. These include the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and the aforementioned erector spinae. When they contract, these muscles squeeze inward to increase intra-abdominal pressure, or IAP for short. This increases stiffness and stability in your lumbar spine, preventing it from flexing.
Trapezius and Rhomboids
The trapezius is a large diamond-shaped muscle that covers much of your upper back. In contrast, the smaller rhomboids are located between your shoulder blades. These muscles work together during seated good mornings to stabilize your shoulder girdle, which is the collective name for your scapulae and clavicle bones.
Now you know what muscles seated good mornings work, it’s time to move on to how to do this potent posterior chain exercise.
How to Do Seated Good Mornings
Get more from seated good mornings while keeping your risk of injury to a minimum by following these guidelines:
Start by sitting on an exercise bench or box with your feet flat and legs straddled. Plant your feet firmly on the floor.
Position the Barbell:
Hold a barbell across your upper back, resting it on the top of your traps. Brace your core and draw your shoulders down and back. Pull the bar down onto your shoulders to keep it secure.
Perform the Movement:
Slowly hinge forward at your hips while maintaining a solid back arch. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back. Descend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
Return to the Starting Position:
Engage your glutes and hamstrings to raise your upper body back up to the starting position. Do not round your lower back, as doing so could lead to injury.
Get even more from this exercise with these tried and tested insider tips!
Experiment with different tempos to challenge your muscles in new ways. For example, try a 4-1-1 tempo where you take 4 seconds to lower, pause for 1 second at the bottom, and take 1 second to rise.
Add a 2-3 second pause at the bottom of each rep. This eliminates momentum and increases time under tension for the hamstrings and glutes, making the exercise more challenging.
Attach resistance bands to the barbell and anchor them under your feet or to the base of the bench. This adds…