Seated Good Mornings

Here is an exercise that you probably have not tried before that will help you improve your bench press. Serious trainers would be familiar with Good Mornings, but if like me you hadn’t tried doing them seated, you will be pleasantly surprised at how beneficial they are.

I’d like to call myself a competitive Powerlifter, even though I compete at bench only events. I know being one dimensional lifter is lame, but I am good at it and I want to accomplish a couple of things before I switch my training focus to all the powerlifting lifts.

At 23 I am still eligible to compete in juniors. So, I really want to have a good crack at chasing some Australian records. To do this I need to focus on bench press specific training.

My training is mostly focused on upper body exercises, although I still do squats. There is loads of bench pressing – sometimes twice in one workout! Although there is a heavy focus on chest, shoulder and triceps exercises, there are many other muscles that need to be worked on to shift heavy weight.

stronger lower back

In the past I used to suffer from lower back cramps after my bench press sessions. I thought it was because of my arch. Little did I know that I had a weak lower back. I started performing hyper extensions and stiff legged deadlifts in order to get a stronger back.

The program which I was following during my preparation for World Bench Press Championships introduced seated good mornings. This was the first time I was exposed to them, and as an experienced bench presser, questioned why they were included.

Traditional Good Mornings are a common accessory exercise for powerlifting programs. This is where it is important to follow the program. Don’t be stubborn and do them standing, because that is what you are familiar in – have faith in your program or get another program!

At first the Seated Good Mornings felt slightly uncomfortable, but that was mostly because my body was not used to this particular movement.

Initially I didn’t find doing them with a straight barbell very comfortable. The bar would roll unto my neck and I would waste too much energy trying to keep the barbell in the correct position. This is when I tried them with the Safety Squat Bar.

how to avoid lower back cramps

The Safety Squat Bar enabled me to focus solely on my form. Which is important. This exercise is all about form.

What I try to picture in my mind when doing Seated Good Mornings is that I am working the muscles inversely when arching for my bench press. Hope that makes sense!

When bench pressing you are pressing with the arch of your back. With Seated Good Mornings, you are using the arch of your back to pull your torso up. I recommend just starting off with the bar. Just the movement alone activates and stretches the muscles in your lower back.

This alone will help reduce spasms when arching during bench pressing.

Once you start adding weight, don’t go overboard. Small increments are fine. For the first few reps don’t do full range of motion. Progressively increase your depth as you work through the reps. By the fourth you should be doing full range.

Make sure you tense your core and maintain your arch during the exercise. To maintain your arch really push your chest out and shoulders back. If you lose your arch you are using too much weight. Remember nobody cares what you do for Seated Good Mornings!

Keep your feet in front of you. I try to extend them so I could also stretch my hamstrings when I am performing this exercise. Have them firmly planted. You will notice that when you start adding weight that you will engage some leg drive.

Now don’t turn this into a leg exercise, but some leg drive is beneficial. Just like we are working the same muscle groups for bench press inversely, we are also engaging the ancillary muscles used in bench pressing.

By using these muscle groups in unison, but still applying the resistance primarily to the target muscle group (the lower back), we are strengthening the chain of muscles used for bench pressing.