THE SUPERIOR POSTERIOR
Most gym-goers, especially guys will judge their progress in the gym by what they see in the mirror. Big pecs, well-developed biceps, defined abs and bulging quads are usually the order of the day. Hit these on the head and you will be looking great right? Well no, not really. Think about it, this is only half of your body. Because this is all you can see staring back at you in the mirror, this is all you focus on; the mirror muscles.
Well everybody else is seeing 50% more of you. A great physique from the front is quickly rubbished if the view from behind is lacking. The muscles on the rear of your body are also important not only from an aesthetic perspective, but they are also vital for functionality and athletic performance.
Enter the Posterior chain.
The muscles on the rear of your body work together in sequence, a chain if you will, and if one is lacking, you will not only be underperforming, you will also be at a much higher risk of various injuries. So stop ignoring the other 50% of your body and get to work and have yourself looking and performing 100%! Below is a breakdown of the muscles that comprise the posterior chain, of which the primary function is hip extension i.e: pushing your hips forward, and the best exercises to develop them.
Your back is capable of dealing with heavier loads if in an arched back and this is what the erector spinae helps to achieve.
Primary function – back and spinal extension (leaning backwards)
Exercise – Back Extensions, Romanian Deadlifts
There are 3 gluteal muscles – Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus – which function as a connected group playing a major role in the movement of the hips.
Primary Function – hip extensors, femoral rotation (rotating upper leg)
Exercise – Glute-Ham Raise, Squats, Dealifts, Lunges
This is a series of muscles attached to the spinal column so that our body weight can be distributed along the spine by taking the pressure off the vertebral disks.
Primary function – spine support
Exercise – Deadlift, Good Mornings
These run diagonally downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis each side of the six-pack muscle (rectus abdominus).
Primary Function – back and spine support
Exercise – Side Planks, Cable Twists, Bicycle Crunches
There are 3 hamstring muscles – Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus – made up of predominantly fast twitch fibres.
Primary Function – hip extension, knee flexion (bending knee)
Exercise – Glute-Ham Raise, Romanian Deadlift, Squats
The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus help elevate the heel and stabilise the knee.
Primary Function – plantar flexes ankle, knee flexion
Exercise – Standing calf Raise, Seated Calf Raise
A strong posterior chain will make you a strong person. You will not be jumping as high or running as fast with weak or inhibited glutes which, if they stay underdeveloped, will also result in lower back and hamstring problems. The main causes of lower back pain and poor performance is commonly caused by 3 main problems:
Shortened Hip Flexors
Lack of Core Stability
Poor posterior chain strength
Balance is key. The muscles of your posterior (the rear of your body) and anterior (the front of your body) work like a married couple – they collaborate to create balance, strength, stability and power. They function best when each work proportionately, so if your body is very developed from the front but lacking from the back, not only are you going to look disproportionate, you will not be allowing your body to perform anywhere near its potential.
So don’t disregard what you can’t see; it may just make you what you want to be.
For more information on training for a strong posterior chain, feel free to contact me via my contact page. For quick results, get yourself booked in for some Personal Training sessions and discover the body you have always wanted!