Our Personal Trainer’s at FitnessBells are always working on strengthening your posterior chain, perhaps without you realising. It’s one of the most important areas to strengthen and can help explain our programming.
What is the posterior chain?
The posterior chain is one of the most important muscle groups in the body and includes some of the strongest and biggest muscles. The posterior chain is essentially the back of the body and is primarily made up of your calves, hamstrings, glutes, latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoids and your lower back. All these muscles combined play a huge part in your every day, they contribute to you jumping, pushing, pulling, running and even simply standing up from a sitting position.
We’re not saying having a strong anterior chain (chest, core, quads etc.) isn’t important however today’s lifestyle where we sit down the majority of the day means we have an anterior chain-dominant body. Some of the most popular exercises today like running, walking and yoga continue to strengthen the anterior muscles. This can lead to an imbalance between the two.
So, why is it important to have a strong posterior chain?
1) Plays a huge role in your posture
Imagine, you’re sat at your desk for the eighth hour of your working day, you’re likely to find yourself slouching and rounding your shoulders. Being in this position all day can lead to a tight chest and if you haven’t got strong back muscles to re-correct (pulling your shoulder blades down and back), then this will reflect in your posture. It’s not just the upper body it can have an effect on either, a weak posterior chain can also mean you have an anterior tilt of the pelvis and more pronounced curve at your lumbar spine (lower spine) which can cause lower back pain.
2) Reduce injury
If you have a strong anterior chain and weaker posterior chain this can lead to an imbalance. For example, an imbalance between the quad and hamstring strength can mean that the knee is susceptible to injury due to instability. The same can be said of your hip stabilisation and extension too.
3) Run faster and better
Weak hamstrings and glutes mean that you are missing some of the power from these big and strong muscles. Adding extra power to your stride can make your strides longer and more powerful. As above, it can help stabilise your knees and calves too.
4) Lift heavier
If you strength train and love lifting heavy then improving your strong posterior chain can help all your lifts. By strengthening your hamstrings you can really improve your explosive movements like your snatch, cleans, kettlebell swings and jumps. Your glutes and hamstrings have far more fast-twitch muscle fibres than your quads meaning you can gain a lot more power in your lifts if these are strong.
5) Increase your metabolism
If you have a greater muscle mass your resting metabolic rate will be higher. Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you need to function (ie. breathe, digest your food, think etc.). The posterior chain is such a large muscle group it’s a great place to start increasing your metabolism which can only mean one thing.. that extra bit of cake!
How do you improve your posterior chain?
Train with one of the Fitnessbells Personal Trainer’s in South West London, of course! All of the trainers will be able to help you make small changes to your workouts to make sure you’re doing the right exercises to improve your posterior chain.
Here are a few exercises that we would recommend including within some of your workouts to start improving your posterior chain:
- Back squats
- Calf raises
- Glute bridges
- Pull ups
- Lateral pull downs
- Romanian deadlifts
- Kettlebell swings
We need balance in life, we need balance in our bodies. To achieve a beautiful posture and to lose all those aches and pains caused by a build up of bad habits start to incorporate more posterior chain exercises. Our personal favourite is a deadlift.