Why You Need to Train Your Posterior Chain

This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.

You hopefully try to avoid playing favorites in your workouts, but odds are you give the muscles on the front of your body more attention than the ones to your rear. That isn’t surprising, considering that your pecs, biceps, abs, quads, and front delts are the muscles you see in the mirror, and thus offer the most obvious reflection of your training efforts. But there’s a good reason to shift more attention to your backside. That’s where you’ll find the seat of athletic power, and as such, the key to unlocking greater performance in everything you do.

Many of those muscles you can’t see in the mirror are known collectively as the “posterior chain.” The posterior chain runs from the back of your shoulders all the way down to your heels. The most notable members include your rear delts, traps, erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings, and calves—and while they all act independently to flex, extend, or rotate different joints or vertebrae, they also serve a common function that elevates their communal importance: they help you generate and apply explosive power.

That makes your posterior chain essential to both athleticism and everyday workout performance. Regardless of whether you’re driving for a layup or going for a max deadlift, your posterior chain is what delivers success—or not—so make sure it’s as strong as possible by emphasizing it in your training plan.

Your move: You likely already have a workout program that includes deadlifts, rows, calf raises, hip thrusts, pullups, and other exercises that strengthen and define the backside of your torso and legs. But if you’re like most guys, you don’t do enough of them. In fact, if you take an objective look at your workouts, you’ll likely realize that you do more for the front of your body than you do for the rear—so work to change that.

Start by skewing your workouts in the other direction, doing two exercises for the back of your body for every one you do for the front. But after about one or two months, strike a more even balance. Here’s a five-move posterior chain workout to get you started.

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