Skip to content

Dumbbell Good Morning Exercise Guide

The dumbbell good morning is a great posterior chain exercise and also a fantastic hip-hinge exercise. It will train almost all of the muscles on your rear side both actively and isometrically. With the main focus going on your hips, hamstrings, and your back muscles.

Muscles worked by the Dumbbell Good Morning

The dumbbell Good Morning is a great exercise to target your hips, back, and hamstrings. It’s both a hip-hinge movement and a posterior chain exercise, meaning it will target the muscles on your backside.

Because you are holding the weight on your backside while doing the Good Morning, it will train and target both your upper and lower back at the same time.

Dumbbell good morning exercise muscles worked

Also, the exercise will recruit a lot of your core and stabilizer muscles.

Primary muscles worked:

  1. Upper back
  2. Erector Spinae (lower back)
  3. Glutes
  4. Hamstrings

Secondary muscles worked:

  1. Scapular stabilizers
  2. Core muscles

Benefits of the Dumbbell Good Morning

It’s a great posterior chain exercise. The dumbbell Good Morning is a great exercise to train all the muscles in your posterior chain (all the muscles that are on your backside). 

It can do wonders for your lower back health.  Often one of the main causes for back pain are weak back muscles and weak stabilizer muscles. The exercise will strengthen your lower back and all the stabilizer muscles on your backside.

It will help you improve your posture.  It can be a great exercise to improve your posture. 

Teaches the hip-hinge movement. The hip hinge is part of many big lifts (the biggest is the deadlift). The dumbbell Good Morning is a great movement to learn proper and optimal hip hinge mechanics and form. It will teach you to initiate the hip hinge with your hips and to really sit your hips back. 

It will improve your other big lifts. It’s a great additional exercise for both deadlifts and squats. Because it will help you develop your upper back isometric strength and your lower back stability.

It’s a great warm-up exercise. When done with lighter weights, it can be a great posterior chain and hip warm-up exercise. Because it incorporates a lot of the muscles on the back of yourbody. 

How to do the dumbbell good morning exercise:

Dumbbell good morning exercise

Step-By-Step exercise guide

  • For the first thing, assume a shoulder-width stance. 
  • Next, pick up your dumbbell.
Dumbbell good morning
  • There are three different ways to hold the weight
    • You can hold a single dumbbell with both of your hands on your chest at about shoulder level high. 
    • You can take two smaller dumbbells and place them on your shoulders or hold them at your shoulder level (with your palms facing you). 
    • And for the last option, you can place a single dumbbell behind your neck. In this exercise guide, we will be focusing on this method. 
  • Place the dumbbell behind your neck and hold it tight there. It should rest on your trapezius muscle. 
  • Now brace yourself for the exercise. To do so, tighten your whole midsection, aka your core muscles. 
  • Roll your shoulders back a little bit and engage your upper back muscles. At the same time, push your chest slightly up. 
  • While keeping your back flat (do not arch it or let it round) and your head in a neutral position (do not look up nor down), start to push your hips backward.
  • Keep your knees relatively straight ( you should have a small bend in them) and still.
  • Keep moving your hips back and let your upper body naturally hinge forward. It’s very important to let your upper body hinge naturally and let your hips do all the work.
  • You should lower your torso until it’s either parallel with the floor or until you feel a strong stretch in the back of your legs (your hamstrings). How low you can go will depend heavily on your mobility and your flexibility. Just don’t push it too far and listen to your body.  
  • Now pause for a second and after that start reversing the movement. 
  • To do so, push both of your feet into the ground and drive through your hips. Completely extend your hips.
  • Repeat the movement for however many repetitions you wish to perform. 

Tips and recommendations

  1. When choosing how you are going to hold the dumbbell, keep in mind the following:
    1. Never place the dumbbell directly on your neck because that would put a lot of strain on it and can cause a lot of harm.
    2. Holding the dumbbell behind your neck on your trapezius can be dangerous if it’s not placed or held correctly or when you are using too much weight because it can easily roll or move on your neck.
    3. Just holding the dumbbells at your shoulder level will limit the weight you can use.
    4. Holding a single dumbbell on your chest will let you use the most weight safely, but it will shift the main effort on your lower back muscles rather than your mid and upper back, and it will also start to mimic deadlifting more. 
  2. Always do a proper warm-up before starting the exercise. 
  3. Remember to keep your entire midsection and your core tight and engaged throughout the dumbbell Dood Morning exercise. This will help you avoid any potential injuries and will help you maintain proper exercise technique. This is especially important if you are loading the weight in your front side rather than keeping it on your back because it’s very difficult to keep a flat back with the weight in the front. 
  4. Do not let your back round while doing the exercise. If your back rounds out, it will start to place a lot of strain and pressure on your lower back and on your spine, which can damage both and lead to some serious injuries. 
  5. Also, do not forcefully arch your back while performing this exercise. It will just place unnecessary strain on your spine. 
  6. Always initiate the Good Morning exercise with your hips rather than your upper body. 
  7. Don’t start off too heavy! Before you move on to heavier weights you should learn the proper form and technique.
  8. Avoid completely locking your knees. Keep a slight bend in your knees. It will help with your hip hinge, will let you go a bit lower down, and overall it will stress your spine and lower back a little less.
  9. The best repetition range for this exercise would be 8-16, depending on your goals and the weight you are using. 
  10. Light dumbbell Good Morning is a great warm-up exercise to do at the beginning of your workout routine or before other heavy lifts like the deadlift for example. 
  11. You can play around and change the width of your stance: 
    1. If you want to target and train your hamstrings and adductors more, you can try to widen your starting stance. Doing so will help you activate both your hamstrings and your adductor muscles more.
    2. If you want to target your glutes more, you should try a narrower stance. 

Dumbbell Good Mornign variations


Seated dumbbell good morning

Compared to the standing version, the seated dumbbell Good Morning will focus more on strengthening your lower back and core isometrically. Because of that, it’s a great additional exercise for both squats and Olympic weightlifting exercises like the snatch and the clean. Also, it’s a great tool to help you improve your hip flexibility and mobility.

How to do:

  1. Start by sitting on a bench. You should straddle the bench with your feet on either side of it. 
  2. Your feet should be flat on the floor and a little more forward than your knees. 
  3. Place the dumbbell behind your neck on your trapezius muscle. Or place two smaller dumbbells on the back of your shoulders. 
  4. Tighten and engage your whole midsection and keep it tight for the entire exercise.
  5. While keeping your back flat, your chest up, and your shoulders back, start to push your hips back and lean your torso forward. 
  6. Go as far down as you can. The actual distance you can lower your upper body will depend a lot on your flexibility. Make sure you don’t round your back while doing this. 
  7. When you have lowered yourself down, hold the position for about a second and then lift your torso back up.

Tips and recommendations: 

  1. Start with lighter weights and work your way up from there.
  2. Keep your midsection tight for the entire lift.
  3. If you want to stretch your hamstrings and work on your flexibility more, then perform the exercise with straight and extended out legs. 

Liked this article? Share it on social media!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *