Wellness Wednesday: What Is The Posterior Chain?

The actual definition of the posterior chain is a group of muscles located on the back of your body.  These muscles include the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, calves, and posterior deltoids. Unfortunately, for the athlete that is just beginning strength training, these muscles that are not easily seen in the mirror are frequently neglected.

For the most part, people with desk jobs rest on their glutes all day which eventually leads to them becoming reliant on their quads or becoming ‘quad dominant’. Here the glutes have lost their prioritized role of generating hip extension and stabilization.

Within these muscles the most common movement is the hip extension. Developing a poor posterior chain can eventually lead to the following injuries/health scares;

  • Lower back pain
  • Shortened hip flexors
  • Weakened core stability
  • Less effective general athletic function

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A STRONG POSTERIOR CHAIN?

BALANCE
The opposite muscles to your posterior chain are those of the anterior chain, specifically your quadriceps and hip flexors. If you spend all of your time working on your anterior chain, and your glutes and hamstrings strength will be compromised and could lead to some of the injuries and issues previously mentioned. So, it's vital you balance your posterior and anterior workouts. When performing explosive exercises such as jumping, both chains have a role to play and an inferior posterior chain will have a negative impact on your power and performance.

INJURY PREVENTION
Stronger glutes and hamstrings prevent knee injuries, strong quads coupled with weak glutes and hamstrings can put additional stress on your knees which can heighten the risk of knee injuries. A dedicated posterior chain strengthening program is crucial for injury prevention.

OVERALL STRENGTH & POSTURE

Many athletic and sporting movements such as jumping forward, backwards or side to side, sprinting, leaping and even decelerating relies greatly on an effective posterior chain. The posterior chain is a major weakness for many athletes, particularly beginners. Neglecting exercises like the deadlift, kettlebell swing and back extensions could be detrimental to your strength, performance and even posture. A weak posterior chain will overload your lower back and abdominals, which as mentioned above can manifest itself as lower back pains. Keep your posterior chain strong to avoid this.


THE THREE BEST POSTERIOR CHAIN EXERCISES


Deadlift

Deadlift


Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing


Hyper Extension

Hyper Extension


MEET JEAN TITUS

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!