The Posterior Chain is something you’ve most likely heard thrown about at some point if you have ever been in a gym or spoken to a fitness expert. It is talked about anywhere from general fitness to elite sport and everywhere in between.
So what is it?
And why is it important?
Let’s have a closer look at what the Posterior Chain is.
Your posterior chain is the muscles on the back of your body, but more specifically it consists of your erector spinae (a group of muscles which more or less run along the spine), glutes, hamstrings and calves. It also includes muscles in your upper back, like your traps and delts, as well as the backside of your obliques. These are referred to as a “chain” of muscles because they all form a chain that works together to support almost every movement you make in and out of the gym.
Why is it important?
In essence, your posterior chain is what propels you forward. If you want to run faster, jump higher, or pivot and rotate more smoothly (and without causing injuries), you need to develop this string of muscles.
Your posterior chain also helps you maintain your balance and posture, which becomes crucial when you start working with any type of weight. A strong posterior also helps prevent injuries in day-to-day activities, including moving furniture or any other movement that requires rotation and pushing or pulling.
Simply put, a strong posterior is your stabilising and coordinating force, as well as power source for any movement. The stronger it is, the surer and stronger your movements will be in (and out) of the gym.
How to train the Posterior Chain.
How you train your posterior chain really depends on your goals and physical capacity. An elite sportsman will train their posterior chain slightly different to the average gym goer, however the exercises used may be similar if not the same. So how you go about performing the exercises really depends on who you are, your current physical ability, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
The posterior chain can be trained every day. The key is to train it in a way that limits overtraining and allows you to adequately recover before your next training session. This can all be achieved through the use of programming, varying sets, reps and intensities, and potentially splitting upper body and lower body posterior chain exercises into different workouts.
When it comes to exercise selection, there are hundreds of exercise variations that will allow you to build a stronger backside. Here are a few of my staples:
Deadlifts / Romanian Deadlifts
Glute Ham Raises
The exercises listed are my “go to’s” for posterior training, but they aren’t the only options. Every one is different and everyone essentially has a unique goal on what they’re trying to achieve. Understanding the use of each exercise can help determine how you would fit it into your program and how you would go about performing it.