Train Your Posterior Chain Muscles for a Stronger Back
What looks and feels like a full body workout may actually only be paying attention to the front of your body while you ignore the back, or the posterior chain. It makes sense when you consider that it’s the front you see when you look in the mirror. The issue here is that you can create an imbalance that can have a negative effect on future workouts.
What you need to remember is that your spine and the back of your legs are home to the posterior chain muscles, which are among your largest and strongest. These muscles include the glutes, the hamstrings and calves in your legs, the erector spinae, which sit on either side of your spine, and the latissimus dorsi in your upper and middle back.
The good news is that these muscles can be easily targeted. Whether you are into strength training or yoga, you will already have some moves in your arsenal that can be performed more frequently to help target and shape the back of your body. Here are some tips to follow to upgrade your workouts to include the posterior chain.
Benefits of Training Your Posterior Chain
- Increased mobility. Working on your quadriceps generally means making them stronger than the surrounding muscles. This means that the quads start doing work that should really be assigned to the hamstrings and glutes. Balancing your leg muscles helps with your hips and your stride, which is important for comfort as you age.
- Improved sports performance. Strength and speed are improved when you have a strong posterior chain. Jumping higher and running faster is also a bonus.
- Help prevent injuries. If your glutes are weak, your posture is affected. Sticking out your rear end when you are upright, it can cause pain in the knees and lower back.
- Remove stress from sitting. Sitting for extended periods puts a ton of stress on the posterior chain. To relieve pressure from your back and glutes, get up and walk around a little every 30 minutes.
- Calorie burner. Posterior chain exercises are extremely efficient for those of you looking to shed excess pounds. These exercises involve compound movements that work large areas of the body at the same time, which rapidly burns calories.
How to Train Your Posterior Chain
- Deadlifts. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder to add this exercise into your routine. Place a barbell on the floor in front of you, grip and lift with your knees bent. Maintain a straight back as you lift and as you lower it back to the floor.
- Squats. These can be done with or without weights to work on your legs and glutes. There are different variations you can use to mix things up.
- Calf raises. A great way to work your lower legs. Stand on the edge of a step and slowly lower your heels before rising back up to your toes.
- Downward dog. There are a lot of yoga poses designed to help shape the back of the body. This pose strengthens the back, glutes, and legs.
- Try backbends. You don’t need to be a yoga expert or be able to complete the full pose to see the benefits from backbends. Ask your yoga teacher about easier forms, such as the baby cobra or sphynx.
- Get rowing. Rowing motions, either with weights, a boat, or a machine, are great for the back muscles. Experts believe that a simple rowing machine can in fact work 84% of the muscles in your body. Now that is a complete workout.
Don't Ignore What You Cannot See
We all have a tendency to address the things we can see. Exercise is no different. We tend to work most on the parts of the body we can observe in the mirror and gauge the improvement as a result of our work. It's a tendency we need to overcome. The posterior chain muscles are important, so be sure to give them the attention they deserve when you work out. Improved strength and mobility will be the result.
Let RX Fitness Equipment Help
If you're thinking about adding some posterior chain exercises to your fitness program and you'd like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists. We'd be happy to refer you to one who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by our store in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
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