If you are like myself and frequent the gym on a regularly basis, you should be familiar with what posterior chain exercises are and their importance in building strength. If not, read on to find out some of best posterior chain exercises that you may be missing out on.
What is the posterior chain?
The posterior chain makes up a large group of muscles to the rear of the body. These are the muscles that you cannot visually see if you are standing facing a mirror. Muscle groups involved are the Scapula, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Spinea Erectors, Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves. There are other smaller supporting muscles groups too, but you get the general idea.
What are the benefits of a strong posterior chain?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, lower back pain is the second most common disability in the US. With an estimated 149 million days of work due to chronic lower back pain.The total expenditure on health care varies, but the general consensus is that approximately $90 billion dollars is spent on the diagnosis and management of lower back pain.
It could be argued that these astounding figures are contributed to by modern day life. In todays modern society, we drive everywhere, use escalators, lifts and spend numerous hours in a seated position. The human race has gotten lazy, and the outcome is weakness and poor posture.
If muscles are not used they become weak. Sitting for hours slouched over a desk, creates bad posture, combine gravity with bad posture and you have chronic back pain for life.
How do we combat chronic back pain?
Strength training, especially the muscles of the posterior chain, can reduce and completely alleviate the symptoms of lower back pain. This is because strengthening and correcting posture abnormalities by training the muscles of the posterior chain will keep you fit, mobile and functioning optimally well into old age.
Not only do the muscles of the posterior chain play an integral support system for the spinal column. The posterior muscles also increase the performance of athletes, protecting them from injuries. Pushing, pulling, punching, running, jumping all require the muscle of the posterior chain.
If I was to make one recommendation to people I often see training in the gym. I would advice them to pay more attention to the muscles they can’t see (posterior chain) over the ones they can see (anterior chain). Unfortunately in most gym settings, it is usually the opposite. The muscles that are visually noticeable, Pectorals, Deltoids, Quadriceps, Biceps, Abdominals are often the preferred muscle groups. Bench press lovers, you know who you are!
Best posterior chain exercises
- Romanian Deadlift x 5 sets
- 45 Degree Hyper Extension x 5 sets
- Lying Leg Curl x 5 sets
- Prowler Sled 3 sets
- Heavy Kettlebell Swings x 5 sets
There are many other exercises that work the muscles of the posterior chain. Good Mornings, Rack Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts, Reverse Hypers, Glute Bridge, Hip Thrusts, Box Squats, Glute Ham Raises, Nordic Curls. The workout above is one of my favorites, as I feel it encompasses as many muscles of the posterior chain as possible, in only five movements.
Want to increase strength, become faster, more powerful and most of all stay injury free.
Then I recommend training the posterior chain twice a week. This will help rectify any muscular imbalances, improve posture and strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the spine.
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