Best Posterior Chain Exercises | Build a Better Butt

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.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please remember to subscribe and follow me on any of my social media channels.

Best Kettlebell Workout | Taming The Russian Beast

When not on tour, I’m either training or stuck behind my laptop catching up on emails. Now and then I attempt to organize, file and clear up my desktop from the endless clutter. During my recent clear-out, I came across an old kettlebell workout video from a year ago. filmed on Christmas day in the gorgeous Mijas hills of Marbella, at Mikes Gym.

If you love hardcore Crossfit workouts, brutal assault courses and consider yourself a badass. Definitely check out Mikes Gym in Marbella.

Kettlebell Fitness

If I had to choose one piece of training equipment to purchase, it would be kettlebells. This is because they are extremely versatile and can be used for all aspects of fitness, flexibility, strength, hypertrophy and all round conditioning. More females should workout with kettlebells, as conditioning workouts is the fastest way to obtaining a hot toned beach body.

Personally I like to program kettlebells into my current workouts, and create a sort of hybrid kettlebell program. kettlebell training helps me with my conditioning. In other words cardio, which in turn increases my endurance for wrestling! I also like to be an all rounder, adding variation to my training and not just being a one trick pony.

Top three reasons why you should workout with kettlebells

Diversity
 : From cleans to swings, to press, pull and lift movements. You will never be short of exercises, nor have any excuse to be bored with the endless choice of exercises for complexes and workouts. If you have an at home gym, kettlebells are money well invested if they are used correctly of course.

Challenging : 
How do you do cardio? I say lift weights faster. Training with kettlebells incorporates, strength training and cardiovascular endurance simultaneously. A sequence of kettlebell exercises similar to a circuit is usually the best way to achieve this desired effect. If you have ever heard the term HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), kettlebells are a perfect training tool for HIIT training. Shorts bursts of high intensity exercise followed by a low intensity period.

Effective : Kettlebells reduce the risk of injury, by stabilizing the joints and elongating the muscles. They also strengthen the core due to the constant need to engage these muscles during many movements. Explosive power, strength, improvements in coordination and flexibility can all be contributed to working with kettlebells.

Below I have designed a kettlebell program a hybrid, incorporating a mix of kettlebells and body weight. The benefits of such a workout is that it increases strength, stability, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. The best kettlebell workout will only take a maximum of thirty minutes to complete depending on the number of rounds you complete.

Best Kettlebell Workout

  1. Heavy Kettlebell Swings x 30 secs
  2. Double Kettlebell Row x 30 secs
  3. Double Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift x 30 secs
  4. Deficit Kettlebell Reverse Lunge x 30 secs each side
  5. Single Leg Burpee w/Press x 30 secs each side
  6. Prone Bridge x 30 secs

Take a 2 min rest after completing all exercises. Try to move from one exercise to another without resting, complete 3 – 5 rounds in total. You might find it helpful to time each exercise using an interval timer or app. If you find the first round easy, increase the time to 45 secs on each exercise, however be warned, you might regret this decision!

I hope you enjoyed the best kettlebell workout, please remember to subscribe for further updates. View more strength workouts by Sara.

Rack Deadlifts Harder Faster Stronger

My latest workout Rack Deadlifts Harder Faster Stronger, involves just ONE exercise – The Rack Deadlift. I absolutely love deadlifts. There are many versions of the deadlift, Sumo, Jefferson, Hex Bar, Romania, Standard Deadlifts and Rack Deadlift.

All deadlifts are excellent for strengthening the posterior chain, which is advantageous for performing lift and carry and wrestling. The posterior chain includes the, biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, erector spinae, trapezius, and the posterior deltoids. All of these muscle groups play an essential role in lifting movements.

Most people think that when lifting something heavy, you need to bend at the knees, when in actual fact hinging at the hips with slight knee flexion is the correct position. This allows the muscles of the  hamstrings to contract taking the load.

This technique is referred to as the hip hinge. Once perfected, allows huge poundages to be lifted safely, eliminating the pressure from the lower back.

This was my first time performing Rack Deadlifts in months. I felt strong and the rack was free, so what waste the opportunity of testing my strength. I maxed out at 120kg for 2 reps, I had been hoping for more since I had lifted 135kg using the Hex bar, I was therefore a little disappointed.

Rack Deadlifts Harder Faster Stronger

Thankfully my new gym, Marinasenses in La Marina, Spain has everything I need. It is surprising how many gyms do not have a power cage or squat rack. These are in my opinion essential pieces of equipment every gym should have.

I am very excited to be in the early stages of planning my first ever US tour, for hopefully around September/October time this year. New York, California and Las Vegas are all areas I want to visit. So, I want to be in the best condition I can be for you guys and of course summer here in Spain. Hitting the gym hard with a combination of strength training and conditioning work.

More new tours are in the pipeline for Europe also, I am certainly a busy girl at the minute, maybe superwomen does exist- just kidding. I just want to say a thank you to all who have contacted me to book sessions, expressed interest, paid deposits, bought custom videos, donated or even dropped me a line to say you like my work!  If you are not sure where I will be heading to next be sure to check out my tour page.

Chest and Triceps Routine | German Volume Training

You might notice in my new workout Chest and Triceps Routine that the gym I am training in has changed. During my monthly visit to my beautician Karen In Quesada, it came to my horizon that there is something I have been missing out on – right on my door step!

While filling Karen in on my travels from Marbella to Alicante, she asked me on how I found life on the Costa Del Sol and what it was like being back up on the Costa Blanca, where I consider “home”. Training off course sprung to mind, and I naturally mentioned that the new gym Quesada Fitness Boxing for me seemed to be a bit of a let down…. She too was in agreement having remarked, its as if they have the facilities but forget about the most important part, the equipment!  It was her next piece of information that interested me.

She informed me that most of her clients go to a gym in La Marina, by the Campsite. Now I know what your probably thinking and it was exactly what I was thinking…

Knowing where this place is, having cycled past it numerous times in summer ram packed, Bultins style…. I was thinking “you are kidding me right?” Roll eyes, I’m sure that place is great, with a sarcastic element to.

My nose got the better of me however, and I was not long home till I found myself on goggle checking it out. And after a fifteen minute journey, I was soon eating my words.

Chest and Triceps Routine

As I walked through the warm, friendly and inviting campsite, across from the outdoor swimming pool. Which resembles that of an aquatic park and would certainly put you in holiday mood, something I must resist. There it stood, Marino Senses.

I asked to look round the facilities, which I was pleased to be allowed to do so by myself without the need for annoying sales staff. To find all the equipment was of excellent standard. Mostly free weights, plate loaded machines and a mixture of cable equipment. I have only used the brand Body Tone once back home, but I have to say it is an excellent manufacture.

Spa facilities to suit a Queen

The bit I could not believe however, is that they have the most amazing Spa facilities on the lower level. An indoor pool, plunge pool, jets, saunas, hot tubs and different kinds of fancy showers. Heaven on earth comes to mind, it wasn’t too long before I was hitting it in my two-piece bikini, right after the workout.

Tour season is coming upon me very soon, starting off with London April 6th-9th. I always like to be in good shape not only for you guys, but also because it makes me feel good. There is nothing sexier than a woman comfortable in her own skin I was always told.

I have been focusing more on volume training, lots of exercise variations for the same muscle group. With a minimum of twenty sets per muscle. This kind of training allows me to increase muscle mass so I can overpower you guys and throw you about like rag dolls if permitted to do so in sessions :-p

I have also been throwing in conditioning work to increase my fitness level and all round stamina. Roll on London Baby.

O Brother Where Art Thou Shoulders

O Brother Where Art Thou Shoulders,  is what I felt like crying when filming this workout! Its a toughie 🙂

It was a long drive at almost 5 hours for my relocation from the Costa Del Sol, but I am now back where I consider home on the sunny Costa Blanca. Once settled,  I was itching to get to the gym however was in a bit of a pickle about where to join! As, the gym I had been a member of and usually trained at in Santa Pola is now a bit far from where I live to travel to for frequent training.

Before I moved down to Marbella though, I had heard a new building and facilities where under way for a local gym to me in Ciudad Quesada. Luckily the facilities are now finished also and not too bad either.

I must say I am a bit of gym snob and find it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to gyms.

The new gym I would say is still a work in progress and I am sure in time will improve. It has more of a community feel about it and is quite old school so back to basics for me! The machines are still old despite in a brand new building! It’s all about good technique and effort though when it comes to training not machines!

This workout involves pretty much just shoulders apart from some core work towards the end. Below the video, I have detailed below the exercises performed and the muscle groups targeted.

O Brother Where Art Thou Shoulders

Press Behind Neck (smith machine ) : Normally I would not recommend this movement to a novice  as it has a higher risk of injury due to the rotator cuff in the shoulder. As long as you don’t go too heavy and decrease the range of movement, the risk should be greatly reduced. The muscles targeted within the press behind neck are the medial deltoid (middle of shoulder). This is one of my favourite exercises.

Parallel Press : The parallel press can be either performed on a machine or with free weights. The machine simply ads stability to the movement. Both have there pros and cons, so for variety its good to mix up free weights and resistance machines. The parallel press works mostly the anterior deltoid (front of shoulder) and triceps.

Pike Press (bodyweight) : You might notice these are more so “attempted” in the video, as this is exactly what they are. If you are ever feeling confident in what you are lifting, try switching your training up a bit as there is nothing harder than a simple bodyweight exercise to bring you crashing back down to earth!  These are so hard and work the anterior deltoid and triceps. Practice makes perfect as the saying goes…

Cable Face Pull : What looks as if it should be simple is not. The name describes the movement, which is to pull the rope towards the face keeping the elbows high. Muscles worked in this movement are the posterior deltoid, upper trapezius, rhomboids.

Cable Upright Row : The beauty of using cable movements is the tension created as it is constant throughout the movement. I initially found these okay and kept increasing the weight with each set. Again this is a favourite of mine. The exercise can be made harder by adding in iso holds. The muscles groups worked are the medial deltoid and upper trapezius.

The reason for the mixture of exercises is because the shoulder comprises of three deltoids – the anterior, medial and posterior. The anterior is worked in most pressing movements, it is therefore beneficial to work the medial and posterior deltoids along with work to the trapezius for all round shoulder development. So many times I have seen guys with over developed anterior deltoids, from too much pressing. Don’t be that guy.

Crusher Leg Workout Feel My Pain

Welcome today’s workout, accordingly named Crusher Leg Workout Feel My Pain. My legs are one of my strongest body parts, so I love to prove this to you guys by practising what I preach and giving you a sneak preview into my style of training!

On average our legs make up near half of our bodies muscle mass. It is therefore important that they receive just as much attention in regards to training as our upper body. I am afraid, guys are sometimes too often guilty corporates to under training legs- with most of us having seen a robin ? in the gym at some point in our lives!

Below you will find a more in depth explanation of each exercise performed, as well as the muscle groups the movement targets.

Crusher Leg Workout Feel My Pain

Wide Stance Squat (smith machine) : Here I use a wide stance when squatting to emphasis the inner part of the thigh more. By simply changing your foot position from Wide, Neutral and Narrow you can determine what part of the leg is targeted more.

Back Squat : The traditional back squat is the KING of all squat movement patterns. It is also usually performed badly. Before I perform any leg exercises,  I try to spend at least ten minutes foam rolling. Otherwise,  I simply would not be able to squat as low due to tightness in certain muscle groups. The Back Squat hits everything, Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Lower back. There is more work through the lower back in this variation compared to those carried out on the smith machine, as the bar is not supported.

Bulgarian Split Squat : These are brutal and very deceiving, however are an excellent exercise to add into any leg workout! As we move from one foot to another when we walk, run, you name it! it is therefore a good idea to ensure single leg movements are incorporated into your training regime. When performing single leg exercises, It is not uncommon to find that you may have a more dominate/stronger side. This can lead to imbalances especially as the weight increases. Adding single leg movements help by focusing on one leg at a time, strengthening any weaknesses that are apparent by working the leg interdependently, Bulgarian split squats primarily hit the quadriceps, yes thats right quadzilla! ?

Reverse Lunge w/ Knee Raise : Another great single leg movement with the addition of a knee raise. Both single movements are excellent at targeting the glutes and quadriceps.

Narrow Stance Leg Press (high reps) : I used the leg press as a finisher today. Here, I made the exercise harder by keeping the repetitions high and using muscle control- i.e not locking out the knees, but rather keeping them soft.  Getting more of a pump in the quadriceps, it was pretty intense, as you can see in the video my thighs are quivering towards the end!

I like to train legs hard, however, I would only consider this to be me training part legs. I would still have posterior leg work to cover in another workout, consisting of various hamstring exercises, isolated glute work and calves. We can’t forget about those babies…Move over thigh gap, big bulging, toned strong and athletic legs are here to stay.

Top 3 Core Exercises for Wrestling

In today’s blog post I demonstrate my top three core exercises for wrestling. Core strength is a fundamental part of competitive sport and should not be over looked.

What is your Core ?

Your core musculature is a circular band of muscle also refereed to as an internal girdle. This circular band of muscle attaches to your pelvis and rib cage giving support to the body. Without your core, you would simply fall over. Below is a description of the exercises featured in the video below.

1) Hollow Hold

Originally this exercise comes from a gymnastic background and these guys have phenomenal amounts of core strength.

Start by engaging the core muscles and lifting the shoulders upwards. Compress the lower back tight to the floor, by pulling the core inwards. Now lift the legs a few inches of the floor, your lower back must stay in contact with the floor. The exercise is over when the lower back starts to leave the floor.

2)  Side Plank

Universally renowned exercise for strengthening the oblique muscles that are located at the side of the body. Plenty of variations on this one !

The objective in performing a side plank is to elevate the hips into the air to engage the oblique muscles located at the side. The body should be in a position where all joints from the ankle, knee, hip and shoulder are inline.

3)  Band Pallof Iso Hold

This exercise looks simple, but hold that thought, it is extremely difficult as you have an external force (band) pulling you in the opposite direction while you try to resist against it.

Tie the band onto an object that is not likely to move. Kneel down a few feet away from the band, so that the band is next to your side. Grab hold of the band with both hands. Pull the band into the center of the body, engage the core muscles and squeeze the glutes. The arms should remain straight and in the center of the chest. Ensure your core remains contracted and glutes are tight. Maintain this position for 30 – 45 sec each side.

Strengthening the core muscles is an essential part of trunk stabilization. Not only will a strong core protect the spinal column, but improve your stability for competitive sport.

Core Exercises for Wrestling

Badass Exercises For Females

It may seem like everyone is taking about free weights these days, with gyms popping up left right and center. But, can you perform these badass exercises for females ?

The new craze of strength = sexy is refreshing and highly encouraging, especially when I see women taking it upon themselves to enter the free weights room alone!

We all have been there and know how daunting the “first time” is,

1) Not having a freaking idea of what to do…
2) Being eyeballed by that dickhead who thinks you are hogging the squat rack

Badass Exercises For Females !Well ladies if you really want to show them who’s boss a day, step away from the squat rack and knock out a few of these deadly bodyweight exercises. You will have gained respect in no time.

Once more you don’t have to be ripped or competing in a figure or bodybuilding competition to demonstrate these exercises. Strength is a beauty of its own – accomplished by hard work, determination and time and time failure before being able to say I’ve mastered it!

Here is my ultimate list of bodyweight badass exercises for females…

1. Push- ups

And I mean real push-ups right from your toes military style- none of those sissy bitch push-ups from your knees! I am talking about full range of motion (chest to floor) with full extension of arms at the top x10 reps per set. I can remember learning proper push up’s for the very first time and with me not exactly being light it was a challenge to say the least… These are probably one of the hardest exercises for females to master due to little upper body musculature compared to men. With perseverance though they are pretty impressive when a female can do 10 in a row without her back arching or dipping or even more so can perform them with a weighted vest on J

2. Dips

One of my all time favorites, if you can do 10 dips your BADASS! As well as being on you way to rather fetish looking shoulders in your tank tops and triceps to die for! Bingo wings move over… The only down side to extra chest development is lower body fat = smaller boobs L

3. Chin-ups

Meet you at the bar? LOL One of the hardest exercises of all time to accomplish, though ultimate for knowing your strength in proportion to your bodyweight. The first time you ever master a full repetition you will get a MASSIVE sense of achievement and look around the room as if you own the place. Thinking, “did anybody see that?” to realize no one did… Once you start hitting the 8-10 repetition range the real fun can start with pull-ups!

4. Pistol Squat

Not forgetting about lower body strength the pistol squat is one of the hardest but coolest bodyweight exercises. It tests single leg strength and flexibility, the latter of which guys generally suck ass at! The pistol squat requires excellent dorsi flexion, muscle control, balance and strength. Once you can do 3-5 repetitions each leg ASS TO THE GRASS high 5 sister!

Badass Exercises For Females !

Can you do all four?

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