Most of us go to the gym to become stronger and build muscle so that in turn we look and feel better. In order to do this on the most basic level we need to build a strong base and this all starts with our posterior chain. The posterior chain consists of muscles and tendons on the posterior of your body: from traps and posterior deltoids at the top, to lats and spinal erectors, glutes and hamstrings.
If you train specifically for powerlifting movements, then this is as important as the big three, if you don’t it is still vital to progress your weight lifting and avoid injuries. I am going to give you five exercises to add to your weekly gym schedule that will reap huge benefits when performed consistently.
5 Posterior Chain Exercises
1. Nordic Ham Curl
The Nordic Ham Curl is next on the list, you can perform this with your feet wedged under a machine, in the lat pull down seat or with a partner holding down your calves. Sit on your knees with your feet wedged or held down and simply lower your body as slowly as you can towards the ground and then give a quick push up to restart. Focus on controlling the decline as much as possible.
2. Back Extensions
Back extensions are next and they are a fantastic choice to add to your core training at the end or workouts. Perform them on either on a swiss ball or a back extension machine, which most gyms tend to have now. I recommend reps of 25-30 to begin and once you have mastered this you can begin to start holding dumbbells or plates to make them more challenging.
3. Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are fast becoming my go to exercise to condition my posterior chain. The effect of strengthening the glutes is highly beneficial to the core lifts. Touch the back knee to the floor, don’t let the front knee come over your foot and don’t stop.
I tend to do time limit lunges so starting with 5 minutes non-stop after your workout is a great way to ease into it without taking up too much extra gym time, I have worked up to 15-20 minutes, 5-6 times a week and the benefits have been huge for me. Weights can also be added using dumbbells, a weighted vest or a barbell in order to make it more power focused or bodyweight for longer time limits for conditioning.
4. Bulgarian Split Squats
My last exercise I recommend is Bulgarian Split Squats. These can be done with just bodyweight as part of a dynamic warm up or as a weighted accessory exercise. One foot planted in front of you, the other raised off the ground and balanced on a bench behind you, simply lunge downward as far as you can without allowing the front knee to come over the toe and back up. These will isolate and work your glutes like no other exercise out there.
5. Glute Ham Raise
The first exercise is the Glute Ham Raise. Some gyms may not have the GHR machine but usually you can adapt another machine and use it. Basically with your feet locked in place you support your body weight on your upper thighs and lower your torso towards the floor and raise back up. These are seriously challenging but once you build up the strength you should be able to hit sets of 10 on these or even hold a weight – dumbbell or plate – across your chest to increase difficulty.
Importance Of Training Your Posterior Chain
Your posterior chain is an absolutely key group of muscles for almost every weightlifting move. Developing and strengthening your posterior chain well not only help you avoid injuries but help you to progress your gains and reach new PBs. Do not neglect this area as you will reap huge benefits down the line.