Get a Bigger Squat and Deadlift with Split Kneeling Good Mornings for Posterior Chain

If you want a big squat or a big deadlift, you NEED a strong posterior chain. If you don’t have that, you won’t be strong. Simple as that.

The Good Morning exercise is often used to strengthen the posterior chain (the muscles that run down the back of the body, including the back, spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings) via loaded hip hinging.

And it IS an excellent exercise when used properly, however, when it’s NOT, you can run into serious issues because of the position the lower back is in during the exercise.

That’s where this new version of the Good Morning comes in. I call it Split Kneeling Good Mornings and it is EXCELLENT. I’ve incorporated it into my regular training twice a week now and I can really feel the difference in posterior chain strength.

When trying this exercise for the first time, use just the bar to get an idea of how it’s done, then increase in weight slowly. When you get into your work sets, make sure the bar is ALWAYS under your complete control during every phase of the movement and that you NEVER go to failure.


Just like with regular Good Mornings, there are a few keys things you need to be aware before you put any loading on your back in this position.

1. Brace your core.

This is not optional and the heavier you go, the more important it is. Brace your core like somebody was about to punch you in the stomach. This will create a strong, stable “air bag” for your body to work against. This is also what you absolutely NEED to have for a strong squat and deadlift, which is this exercise is so good for this purpose. Use your front-leg thigh as a reference…and push your abs against your leg.

2. Keep an arch in your lower back.

DO NOT allow the lower back to round over. We want to strive to keep the spinal erector muscles tensed and supporting the spine in that arched position.

3. Activate the glutes.

Once you have the core braced and the lower back tightly arched, start the movement by activating the glutes as though you were trying to push your heel down into the floor. This creates tension through the entire hip complex, which is exactly what we’re trying to work.

4. Do not allow the bar to rotate…keep it horizontal.

Because one leg is forward, it does introduce a rotary component to the exercise. Strive to keep the bar, shoulders and back leve, just as though it were a regular Good Morning.

I would recommend doing this one after your heavier squats and deadlifts because it will fatigue the exact muscles that you’re relying on for those exercises. I do this one twice a week, though you can work once a week, if you prefer.

Use this as an assistance/secondary exercise for developing the muscles of the posterior chain.

Aim for 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps (heavier weight = lower reps).

You can work up to heavy weight quite safely with this variation. I’m using 315 lbs quite comfortably in this one, which is something I would never do with regular Good Mornings. You’ll feel much more solid, stable and strong with this exercise than with the standing version, while still working the same muscles.

Using heavier weight with greater safety like this will allow you to really challenge the posterior chain and core, making this a very valuable exercise for building a strong squat and deadlift.

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Nick Nilsson
The Mad Scientist of Muscle

Music courtesy of Consinity


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