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Posterior Chain

A gym client who is 50 years old frequently visits my gym.   He has a few chronic physical ailments.  The doctor who diagnosed him stated that his lower back was weak.  Also, his cervical region suffered an injury because of a fall, which caused herniation and chronic pain. However, he started feeling better after a few weeks of performing movements in the gym.  Particularly, he felt relieved, as his lower back got stronger.   But, he told me that since his lower back was now stronger he would love to improve the health of his ailing cervical region.

I immediately sprang into action and asked my colleague in the gym to include a few essential isometric movements for his neck.  I didn’t want to add any isotonic movements, as I feared that could cause more strain on the herniation. He has been doing the isometric movements now for a few weeks.  He said to me that there isn’t any marked improvement.  He blamed it on the accident and the reading posture.   I said that I would teach him few more vigorous movements–isometric movements which might strengthen his neck region.

I also explained to him about the importance of training the posterior chain.   The posterior chain includes all the muscles posterior (backside) to the body:  it consists of the erector spinae, gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and gastroc/soleus complex. Also rightly known as “the powerhouse of the human body.”  However, these muscles are not visible in the mirror, and thus training them don’t amuse us training the anterior muscles does.  (For example, the chest and biceps–the show muscles).   But it’s very well-known that training the posteriors tremendously assists in maintaining the strength, mobility, and very importantly the athletic ability of an individual.  It can also assist in keeping the lower back and knee injuries at bay.   However, most people who frequent gyms train only for aesthetic purposes to boost their ego.   Happily, my elder gym client endorsed my views to train for a meaningful purpose and said that in fact he was not after a lean midsection or a huge biceps that is aesthetics.  What mattered to him was to get healthy and fit.  On a similar note, we, at Ironcult, exclusively train the posterior chain muscles on Thursdays.  We also frequently include horizontal rows to train the posterior chain muscles.  Employing horizontal rows also assists in maintaining healthy shoulders.   Moreover, the tug of war, tire flips, executed outdoors on Fridays, also engage the posterior chain muscles.

If you want to get functionally fit and strong, train your posterior muscles often.  You will feel immensely better.  Oh!  However, it might not help to boost your demonic ego.  Perhaps, you wish to train for aesthetic purposes only.  If, yes, forget that you read this write-up.   Nevertheless, training the posterior muscles is essential for maintaining a strong and fit body.

One thought on “Posterior Chain

  1. Very well said coach, posterior chain holds is up strong and healthy, along with the focused workouts like you mentioned, other compound movements like squats, clean and press can also contribute right?

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