After close to 30 years of going to gyms, I’ve observed many people making use of the mirrors and looking at their reflection while they train. Maybe it’s to check form, or maybe it’s because we tend to focus on the body parts we see, like the chest, biceps, abs, and quadriceps. We’ve all observed those that look well developed and strong walking toward us, but when they walked away, it was like looking at a completely different person. The obvious reason for this is they’ve prioritized the front of their bodies, maybe without even realizing the imbalance they’ve created.
What is the Posterior Chain?
Simply put, the posterior chain is made up of the muscles from your lower back down to your ankles. The main muscle groups are the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
Why is it Important?
As far as sports performance, the often neglected posterior chain is crucial for power. It’s also important for injury prevention and making day to day activities easier . This is especially a concern since we’ve become more sedentary beings and spend much of our time sitting and inactive due to a lifestyle shift. Now, much time is spent online or desk bound. Having a fit backside will help you in your day-to-day tasks, protect you from injury, and will have you looking good coming and going.
Why Stop There?
Think of your body in half, the front – what you see, and the back – what everyone else sees. Even though the posterior chain is the lower back down, what about the lower back up? The rear deltoids (shoulders) are often under-developed compared to the front deltoids, creating an imbalance and a potential for injury and the upper back is overstretched and weakened from hours of sitting. So instead of doing an upper body or lower body workout, switch it up with a workout with the posterior view in mind.
Putting Your Posterior to Work
There are many exercises to choose from to blast your posterior side. Here’s a sample of effective exercises you can incorporate into your training. This is only a small example of the exercises and variations possible. Many of the exercises use multiple muscle groups at the same time. Always focus on form when first learning a new exercise and then add weight. And don’t forget to think outside the gym. You can make use of bodyweight exercises and alternate with outside activities like sprints, bleacher running, cycling, and jumping rope.
When adding these exercises to your training routine, start with the compound exercises in your workout first after a thorough warm up. Finish up with a smaller muscle group like shoulders, focusing on super strict form. Your smaller muscles were assisting your big muscles during the compound moves, and have already been worked indirectly.
The key is a balanced body that’s strong from every angle. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. When an area begins to lag, prioritize that area. It keeps things fresh, and you constantly learning about and listening to your body makes you an expert on what works for you.
Since there are many exercises for our posterior side, do you have any favorites? How do make sure you’re working the muscles you can’t see in the mirror?MUST USE FITNESS DEVICE: BodyMedia FIT Calorie Tracking Armband
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