So what exactly is the posterior chain? Its only one of the most important sets of muscles you have and run right up the back of your body including the lower back, the glutes, the hamstrings, and also the calves. Unfortunately the Posterior Chain is all to often neglected, why? Simply because none of them are mirror muscles. This is not only a shame but it can lead to various aches and pains plus a poor posture. Once you start stregthening the Posterior Chain you can expect:
- Faster Running Times
- Lower Back Pain Banished
- Improved Posture
- Easier to Stand for long periods
I first came across the posterior chain a few years back when getting into crossfit as a lot of their workouts are based around strengthening the rear set of muscles as they correlate directly with improved athletic performance. So lets have a look at some of the best Posterior Chain Movements.
KettleBell swings are awesome they not only work the front muscles like shoulders, chest and biceps but give your lower back, hamstrings and hips a really good workout.
Lance Armstrong was using KettleBell swings as preparation for his recent 3rd place in the Tour De France and it seemed to do him pretty well, improving his rear body strength and endurance. When doing KettleBell swings I would suggest going lighter with good form for about 20-30 reps per set this is the best way to train the lower back as they can be a delicate set of muscles when first trained so take it easy, nail the form and don’t strain.
The grand daddy of exercises and probably the most effective thing you can do at the gym. They are not only the best muscle building exercise but are superb for strengthening the hamstrings and lower back plus improving posture by enforcing your rear delts and traps.
As with all exercises start light and nail the form. A few sets of 8-12 rep deadlifts and you will have a superb workout and really feel the soreness the next day. Its a shame that deadlifts are often neglected in the gym these days when they should be a cornerstone of weightlifting.
Glute Ham Raises
These are by no means an easy exercise and can be subbed for simple lower back extensions if you can’t so them yet. If you can though they are amazing at building your hamstrings, hips and lower back.
Again do these in fairly high reps with a light or no added weight due to your posterior chain being fairly delicate to start this will avoid any injury.
No Equipment No Problem
If you don’t have any equipment not to worry training your posterior chain can still be done easily and effectively. Check out some of these…..
- Sprinting – This is the best natural one as it trains not only the whole body but focuses on the hamstrings and hips to propel you.
- Swings With Anything – Basically pick something heavy instead of a Kettlebell this maybe a Log on a run or a bottle of water, just use it in place of the kettlebell.
- Body Weight Good Mornings – As Featured Here…. Just do them with your hands clenched behind your back and keep reps high
Strengthening the Posterior Chain will not only make you feel better it will improve your performance in any sports you may participate in thanks to its role in supporting muscles. Whatever you do stay away from too much running on treadmills as they disengage and weaken the posterior chain as they allow your hanstrings, thighs and buttocks to relax while running which is very unnatural. If your going to do cardio in a gym go for the bike, cross-trainer or the stepper machine all good alternatives to outdoor running/sprinting.