Tip: The Zercher Good Morning

Try this spin on a classic exercise. It's even better than before.


The standard good morning helps strengthen and build your hamstrings, lower back, upper back, trunk, and glutes. It's a good one. Here's what it looks like:

Good Morning

But despite its benefits, there are some drawbacks to doing it with a barbell across the back. A lot of people make these mistakes:

  • Poor hinge pattern
  • Poor spinal position (not neutral)
  • Poor barbell positioning (when it rolls up or down the back)

The Zercher Solution

A safer and more efficient alternative is to do your barbell good mornings from the Zercher position. That's a front-loaded position where you hold the barbell in the crook of your elbows.

The positives include:

  • Same benefits for the posterior chain with more activation in the upper back because of the location of the barbell.
  • Easier to maintain a neutral spine. If you round too far over, you'll be able to drop the barbell from your elbows without having to raise it over your head the way you might with a traditionally loaded good morning.
  • Holding the barbell in front creates a counterbalance making it easier to push the hips back.
  • The Zercher position puts a greater focus on total-body tension through irradiation. You must remain uncomfortably tight throughout the movement and you'll receive even more gains.

Give the Zercher position a try. You may even prefer it over the traditional way. With the benefits being higher, risk of injury being lower, and technical execution being easier, it's a win-win-win.

Brandon Holder is the strength and conditioning coordinator of the Fairfax County Police Department. He has a diverse coaching experience working in the private sector, along with stops in the collegiate setting. He's competed in powerlifting and strongman competitions and holds certifications through US Weightlifting and US Track & Field. Follow on Instagram