[Photographer: Edgar Artiga]

Underappreciated and often misunderstood, the good morning is a strength move that doesn’t often get the respect it deserves. “This classic exercise is a great way to start building the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back,” explains Rachel Mariotti, a personal trainer at Equinox in New York. That’s important for more than just looking good in some booty shorts. “Having a strong posterior chain can assist with lower-back issues while also helping to balance out the front of the body, which is often worked disproportionately,” she says. Good mornings can also help you progress to doing deadlifts from the ground up.

Because they load the upper back, good mornings are controversial.But with proper mechanics, they can actually improve back health by strengthening weak links, including the lower back and core. Start with very light weight and gradually increase the load over time.