Posterior chain muscles: what you need to know

Posterior chain muscles

4-week back muscle training program

To become faster, stronger, more explosive and look better, develop the muscles of the back of the leg.

  1. Perform exercises to develop the muscles of the lower body twice a week, paying particular attention to the muscles of the lower back, buttocks and back of the thigh.
  2. Use a 4-week blitz program that includes lunges, force-lifting on the chest, various variations in deadlift, leg bending, etc.

Posterior chain isolation Muscles: Why Are You Behind

If you are like most weightlifters, your back muscles are unlikely to be developed harmoniously. As a rule, the buttocks, muscles of the lower back and back of the thighs are “late” in their development.

As a result, you cannot properly perform barbell squats, deadlifts, and the Olympic spurt. In addition, you may even have problems with your knees, hips, or lower back. The speed and explosive nature of the movements? Forget about it too!

In fact, almost any muscle in this group does not receive proper development.

Focus on posterior chain muscles

Focus on posterior chain muscles

Why? The fact is that the authors of most training programs forget about these muscles. And bulking the muscles of the back of the legs is simply impossible. As Louie Simmons says, “A strong athlete is strong from behind.”

– To perform a barbell lift, you need to have strong buttocks, muscles of the back of the thighs and lower back.

– To move faster, your buttocks and hips must be strong enough. These muscles speed up movement! Strong muscles of the lower back will give your body harmony and reliability.

– In order to achieve good results in competitions, a bodybuilder needs developed rear hips. Well-developed muscles in the back of the legs will be your advantage, since few athletes have back muscles of the thighs that are as developed as the quadriceps. And if you want to get veins in the buttock area, you must first work on the buttocks.

Finally, it’s time to work out.

Best posterior chain exercises: Standard Lower Body Workout

Standard Lower Body Workout

If you look at the standard workout on the development of the lower body, which is performed by most gym goers, no doubt that posterior chain does not receive proper load. A typical workout usually includes the following exercises:

  • – Variations of squats
  • – Leg presses or hack squats
  • – Different types of lunges / separate squats
  • – Leg extension
  • – leg curl

Despite the fact that the squat with the barbell on the back is loading the lower body, the main load falls on the quadriceps muscles, and not on the muscles of the back of the legs, unless you practice a wide powerlifter squat or you have very long legs and a short torso.

And when you consider that some people perform squats very deeply, this gives an additional load on the quadriceps muscles.

Leg presses or hack squats are very important for the development of the quadriceps muscles, especially given the technique that most people use. If you seriously increase the range of motion with a leg press, an additional load is placed on the lower back.

Lunges and separate squats load the muscles of the back of the legs, especially the buttocks. However, if you do not put your legs wide, the muscles of the back of the legs can not be used much. Most athletes tend to spread their legs not too wide, so the main load again falls on the quadriceps.

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Leg extensions obviously load only the quadriceps. The back muscles of the thighs, fortunately, can be used when bending the legs, but the buttocks do not work.

As you can see, the standard workout loads mostly the quadriceps muscles of the legs, and the buttocks and back muscles of the legs play a supporting role.

But what about deadlift?

But what about deadlift

Deadlift usually appears on most bodybuilder programs on days devoted to back training. However, deadlift can help to properly load the muscles of the back surface of the legs, subject to a slight adjustment.

When performing a standard deadlift, the traction is carried out in an arc back and then forward, i.e. the knees are pulled back and the bar is in front of the body from the very beginning of the exercise.

However, most bodybuilders, and other athletes, with the exception of powerlifters, lift the barbell strictly up, as a result of which the main load falls on the lower back.

When performing deadlift along a direct path, the rear muscles of the legs and buttocks are not involved as actively as the quadriceps muscles, which as a result leads to an unbalanced development of the leg muscles.

The Roman deadlift and sumo deadlift, on the contrary, can be used just for more active development of our muscles of interest.

However, even this is not enough. Exercises must be done correctly. For example, when performing a Roman deadlift, many bend the body first, instead of focusing on pulling the hips back.

The distance the torso moves forward and down does not really affect the exercise. Tilting the body forward occurs in response to the movement of the hips back to maintain balance. You should not focus on how deep you can bend. Focus on the load on the muscles of the back of the thighs.

As for the sumo deadlift, many people think that it is a regular deadlift with legs wide apart. Those. traction is performed in a standard way, but the legs should be widely spaced.

This position of the legs transfers the main load when moving to the lower back. However, there is another important point that you need to pay attention to when doing the sumo deadlift: the movement should begin with the hips lowered, and when doing the thrust, the hips should be moved sharply forward when the legs are extended in the knees.

As you can see, a special deadlift technique will help develop the muscles of the back surface of the legs. But at the same time, it is very important to choose the right option and perform the exercise in a special way in order to load the necessary muscles.

Posterior chain workout plan to frame the back surface of the legs

Posterior chain workout plan

If you want to frame a “lagging” muscle group, you must load it at least 2 times a week. Since many athletes ignore the muscles of the back of the legs for years, 2 workouts per week will be enough.

Moreover, both workouts should be sharpened just under the muscles of the back surface of the legs. Keep on doing the different squats for your quadriceps, but most of the training should be about the back muscles.

If it is necessary to catch up with the development of a muscle group, it is best to maximize its load for 4 weeks, and then move on.

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First you need to reduce the load on the quadriceps. Do not worry: although the exercises you are doing are aimed at developing the muscles of the back of the legs, the quadriceps will also be involved and continue to develop.

Both proposed options will allow you to load the buttocks and muscles of the hips, but the first option loads the hips more, and the second focuses on the load of the buttocks.

Workout Plan A                      

Exercise Sets Repetitions
A Taking the barbell to the chest from a standing position 4 3
B Squat with a barbell behind your back 5 5
C1 Lifting the body with a load on the buttocks and hips 3 6-8
C2 Slipping push with high raised hips 3 3 x 30 m
D Leg curl 3 *

* Leg bending while lying on the stomach – 15 full repetitions + 15 repetitions with the movement halfway from top to bottom + 15 repetitions with the movement halfway from bottom to top

Workout Plan B

Exercise Sets Repetitions
A Taking the barbell to the chest from the floor 4 3
B1 Roman deadlift (heels raised) 3 6-8
B2 Pushing a sled with legs wide apart 3 30 m
B3 Sumo Deadlift (at the same weight as Roman Deadlift) 3 Max.
C1 Lunges with Kettlebells 3 15 m
C2 Lunges with lifting weights from the floor 3 15 m
C3 Roman deadlift with kettlebells (heels raised) 3 6-8

Technical Notes

Taking the barbell to the chest from a standing position

Taking the barbell to the chest from a standing position

When lowering the bar to a height just above the knees, imagine that you are doing a Roman deadlift, focusing on the muscle tension of the back of the leg. Then you need to focus on straightening the body, which needs to be done as quickly as possible.

Use the explosive force of the legs and hips to give the bar acceleration. The trapezius muscles and arms also participate in the push, but only at the last moment, when the muscles of the lower body gave the bar sufficient acceleration.

Avoid overuse of the hands, as the main load should be on the legs.

Squat with a barbell behind your back

Lifting the body

Spread your legs slightly wider than your shoulders and focus on the vertical position of the body (no need to tilt the body forward). Get down as quickly as possible, trying to keep the bend of your lower back.

If you feel that your pelvis has passed some point of balance, you have gone too low. Try to squat as low as possible, but not at the expense of the correct mechanics of movement.

Lifting the body with a load on the buttocks and hips

Hone Ben Bruno’s lesson technique for completing this exercise. There are many technical points, and they can help you to improve results if you are not able to complete 6 repetitions.

You can use the expander when doing the exercise. Make sure that your abdominal muscles are also tense so that you do not rely solely on the muscles of your lower back.

High hips sled

High hips sled

The value of this exercise is in the outstanding differential between the height of the arms and hips. Keep your hips high throughout the exercise and fully extend your leg at the knee with every push.

The goal is not the speed of movement, but the load on the back muscles of the legs during the whole push.

Leg curl

Leg curl

Tighten your abdominal muscles to avoid overloading your lower back. The head needs to be held exactly in relation to the back.

Taking the barbell on the chest

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Taking the barbell on the chest

An additional technical point that distinguishes taking the barbell to the chest from a standing position and when the barbell is on the floor is the distance till to raising the barbell to the height of the knees. In this case, the force required to lift the bar off the ground is generated by the muscles of the back surface of the legs.

The movement is accompanied by the knee pulling back, so that at the moment when the bar rises to the height of the knees, the tibia should be perpendicular to the floor. During this movement, the bar should be close to the body, so that the rise is carried out along a path resembling a slightly curved back arc.

When the bar reaches the upper third of the quadriceps, it is necessary to perform an explosive push upwards, involving the legs, hips and lower back. This explosive movement must be performed as quickly as possible.

No need to perform a push with your hands too early, as well as accelerate the movement until the bar is below the knees. The most important mistake is to start the push too quickly when the bar is off the floor. Please note that the legs are torn off the floor, but not in the form of a jump, but during lateral movement to change the width of the legs.

Roman deadlift

Below are recommendations for versions of the exercise using weights and dumbbells and with the heel off the floor.

Everyone is glad when you perform the Roman deadlift, try to take your heels off the ground. This facilitates the task of tension and muscle load of the back of the legs, especially for those who have sufficient flexibility.

It is very important not to concentrate on leaning forward, but only on pulling the hips back. The range of motion covered by the bar does not matter. It is important for us to maximize the load on the back muscles of the legs.

The lower back should be bent, the hips back. The body will lean forward in response to the back of the hips.

Pushing a sled with legs wide apart

Pushing a sled with legs wide apart

The only difference from the exercise presented in training plan A is the use of widely spaced legs for more active use of the buttocks. When performing shocks, it is necessary to focus on the tension of the buttocks.

Sumo deadlift

Sumo deadlift

Do not rush to raise your hips too fast when you lift the barbell off the floor. After you lift the barbell to your knees, move your hips forward with your buttocks.

Lunges with Kettlebells

Straighten your front leg, and bend your back as much as possible, then push your hips back when squatting. At this point, you should feel the tension of the muscles of the back surface of the front leg. When straightening, you need to imagine that you push the floor back with your front foot.

Lunges with lifting weights from the floor

Do as long steps as possible to maximize the load the muscles of interest.

As a rule, I recommend maintaining the vertical position of the body for a greater load on the quadriceps muscles, but in our case, I believe that a slight forward bend during wide lunges will allow you to use the muscles of the back of the leg more strongly.

Start each repetition from a low position (weights are on the floor), starting the lift using the explosive power of the gluteal muscles.

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