Explore our comprehensive guide on Zercher good mornings, a powerful exercise for enhancing posterior chain strength, with tips on technique, benefits, and variations.

Zercher Good Mornings are a unique and effective exercise that combines strength, stability, and mobility work into one powerful movement. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Zercher Good Mornings, covering everything from their origins to the best practices for incorporating them into your fitness routine.

Table of Contents

  • What are Zercher Good Mornings?
    • Understanding Zercher Good Mornings
    • Historical Background
  • Proper Technique and Form
  • Benefits of Zercher Good Mornings
  • Common Mistakes and Corrections
  • Programming Zercher Good Mornings
  • Advanced Variations
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

What are Zercher Good Mornings?

2.1 Understanding Zercher Good Mornings

Zercher Good Mornings are a variation of the traditional Good Morning exercise. They involve holding the weight in the crook of your elbows, a position known as the Zercher hold, named after strongman Ed Zercher. This exercise targets the posterior chain muscles, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, while also engaging the core and upper back.

2.2 Historical Background

The exercise is named after its inventor, Ed Zercher, a renowned strongman in the early 20th century. Zercher was known for his innovative approaches to lifting, and the Zercher Good Morning was born out of his experimentation with different ways to load and challenge the body.

Proper Technique and Form

Performing Zercher Good Mornings with correct form is critical for maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risk of injury. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Starting Position: Begin by setting a barbell at waist height in a squat rack. Position yourself so the bar is resting in the crook of your elbows with your hands clasping each other for support.
  2. Foot Placement: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointing outward.
  3. Hip Hinge: Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back, bending forward at the waist while keeping your back straight.
  4. Range of Motion: Lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor, or as far as your hamstring flexibility allows.
  5. Return Phase: Reverse the motion by extending your hips and waist, returning to the starting position.

Check out the video below:

Benefits of Zercher Good Mornings

Zercher Good Mornings offer several benefits:

  1. Posterior Chain Development: They effectively target the back, glutes, and hamstrings.
  2. Core Engagement: Holding the weight in the Zercher position demands significant core strength and stability.
  3. Upper Back Strength: The unique loading position strengthens the upper back and improves posture.
  4. Versatility: They can be modified for different skill levels and goals.

Common Mistakes and Corrections

Avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Rounded Back: Ensure your back stays straight throughout the movement.
  2. Overloading Weight: Start with a lighter weight to master the form before progressing.
  3. Rapid Movements: Perform the exercise in a controlled manner to engage the target muscles effectively.

Programming Zercher Good Mornings

Incorporating Zercher Good Mornings into your routine:

  1. As Part of a Leg Day: It can be a great secondary movement after squats or deadlifts.
  2. Frequency: Include them once or twice a week, depending on your overall program.
  3. Reps and Sets: Begin with 3 sets of 8-12 reps, focusing on form over weight.

Advanced Variations

For experienced lifters:

  1. Pause Reps: Add a pause at the bottom of the movement.
  2. Eccentric Focus: Slow down the lowering phase to increase time under tension.
  3. Combination Movements: Pair them with squats or lunges for a compound set.


Q: Can beginners do Zercher Good Mornings?
A: Yes, with proper form and a light starting weight.

Q: What equipment do I need?
A: A barbell and a squat rack.

Q: How do I avoid elbow discomfort?
A: Use a barbell pad or towel to cushion your elbows.


Zercher Good Mornings are an excellent addition to any strength training program. By following the guidelines on form, technique, and programming, you can safely incorporate this effective exercise into your routine for improved strength, stability, and muscular development.