Banded Good Morning

I was teaching a seminar at Shire Speed and Strength in my first weekend in Australia when Shannon Green started talking about the banded good morning. He was suggesting them to an attendee who competed in MMA. In a world of deficient posterior chains, I fell in love with this movement immediately.

The banded good morning is done by wrapping a band around the base of the neck (not on the front, you can do it that way when you’re in your bedroom) while the other end is attached to the bottom of a rack several feet in front of you. It’s also possible to place both feet on the band, yet I think they are less useful this way. The exercise works the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and adductors), lumbar spine, upper back, and cervical spine. The only other neck assistance work specifically targets the area (neck harness extensions and neck bridges on a bench), so this is an excellent way to work the neck while training the posterior chain. After your first exposure, you’ll be sore in most of the area above the scapulae. I’ve pre-measured my neck to see if it increases the thickness over time.

When the band is on a rack, the force vector is downward and forward, which changes the trainee’s balance forward. The hips are pushed back with a neutral lumbar (this would be “extension” for tight people, “neutral” for very mobile people) to place tension on the hamstrings. Regardless of band loading, the trainee shouldn’t bend down so far that their lumbar unlocks or flexes; if the lumbar flexes, then the hamstrings slacken. This is a common error in the barbell GM or RDL; the trainee lowers the back below horizontal and flexes the lumbar or knees. In the banded GM on the rack, the trainee will only need to achieve a 45 degree back angle (or slightly more) to achieve good hamstring tension.

Also notice the emphasis on speed out of the bottom by driving through the band with the base of the neck. This can add an explosive component to the exercise — one that is also severely lacking in most trainees. This exercise can be used as a strength movement to increase the size, speed, and explosiveness in the posterior chain, but can also be used as a finisher to help aid recovery and improve muscular balance. Use 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps for strength, power, or muscle development. They are an excellent rehabilitation tool when used with lighter bands and higher reps (i.e. 3 to 5 sets of 20 to 30 reps).

Trainees can benefit from varying the GM’s in the same way that Westside Barbell varies their lifts. Use wide stance, close stance, point the toes out, change the speed (but do them explosively at least 75% of the time) and use different band tensions and placements. My only criteria would be to maintain band tension at the bottom of the movement. If you’re in a pinch, or want a variation, try the version in which you stand on the band. I’ve done them this way, but I think they are better when attached to a rack because it provides a unique angle of tension.

Again, this is an excellent exercise that I am in love with. If I could marry and divorce an exercise, this would be it. It can be thrown in at the end of any type of training day. They are perfect for CrossFitters given that CF often results in a very anterior dominant trainee (developed quads, no posterior chain). I would suggest their inclusion at least once a week, but they can be done up to 3 times a week (depending on when/if you pull). If you don’t regularly deadlift, then use a higher frequency. Lastly, the balance is weird when performing them, so be careful that you don’t do a fucking header into the rack. I’d like 70’s Big to remain death free.

25 thoughts on “Banded Good Morning

  1. I’ve used the version where you stand on the band as a good warm up before squatting. I will also walk sidways, essentially spreading the band apart with my feet back and forth to open up the hips as well before squatting. I use a very light band for it as a warmup and will try it with one of my heavier bands as a finisher.

  2. I always feel really paranoid when doing something like this with a band, because I worry it’s going to snap and take my eye out. Thoughts?

    Make sure your equipment is good (check it before and after use, purchase new stuff if you’re worried, test it, etc.). Wear goggles and a cup if that doesn’t work. Be sure to send a picture.


  3. Any reason not to do barbell GM’s instead? What’s the benefit of the band over a barbell which can be more precisely and incrementally loaded.

    That aside, one obvious advantage to this seems to be the neck work– pretty cool.

  4. Would you recommend a certain brand of bands Justin? I’ve been meaning to buy some, and was looking at the Rogue ones, since K-star uses those. Thoughts?

  5. This is NOT a replacement for the BB Good Morning.

    They have greater utility than the BB version. One reason is that they are constantly loading the hamstrings whereas the vertical position with a barbell doesn’t (since gravity just pushes the bar straight down on the back instead of still trying to pull the torso forward). The only thing the barbell version has on the band is that it can be loaded heavier. GM’s are great, as Westside has shown, but for less advanced people (i.e. a typical reader of this site), they’ll get a lot of benefit from banded GM’s and RDL’s to supplement their pulling (whether it be deadlifting or Oly).

    The banded version is also harder to fuck up, which is important when a lot of readers are CrossFitters or less experienced lifters.


  6. I can see someone with those big fraking safety goggles, compression shorts and their jockstrap/cup on the outside of the shorts. Throw in some berkenstocks and white tube socks too.

  7. Justin,

    I was wondering if you could do an article about lifting and alcohol consumption and what the effects might be if you like to party hard.


  8. @oldmansquatting – its an assistance exercise so incremental loading is not an issue.. as your just looking to get extra volume through the muscle adding sets or reps…

    its not a replacement for BB gm’s, its a variation. the band gm hits the thoracic part of your upper back quite hard due to the angle of loading (its also a portion thats quite hard to train any other way).

    a barbell gm is not the same as it does not hit this part of the back in this way.. neither would an RDL. there is some upper body movements that hit the area but you cannot load the erectors to the same degree as a band gm and you don’t get the added bonus of yokedness..

    if you haven’t dine them then you most likely need to because you will be deficient there and it will only improve everything else.

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  10. Anyone else realize that the kid who plays Joffrey is the same one from Batman Begins who sees Batman on the balcony in the Narrows.

    Knowledge dropped…

  11. changed to the more explosive version on more of an angle today. Definitely feels different to the ‘stand on the band’ version.

    On Monday morning I did about 40 total reps with a green band. My hamstrings are pretty sore Tuesday morning.


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  13. Helpful movement, will have to get it a try soon. I have been wondering about neck assistance work, its utility, and what goes into it. Having seen grayskull using neck harness, it made me curious.

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