A strong posterior chain is essential for avoiding back pain and developing power in almost every sport. The problem is that most people sit on it all day, or do not use it, and therefore it becomes a bit lazy.
Posterior, a posh word for back, are the muscles in the rear of your body this includes the following:
- Erector spine (keeps your spine erect)
- Quadratus Lumborum ( a small muscle in the lower back often gets overworked and tight and is the location of the majority of backache)
- Glutes Maximus (your arse, which is turned off in about 80% of people who sit regularly)
- Hamstrings (usually tight or weak, or both)
- Calves (again are often tight, especially in women who wear high heals)
- Thoracic Region (muscles of the upper back, which are often rounded forward from sitting at a desk or being hunched over a mobile phone)
There are more, but these are some of the major posterior muscles to be concerned about.
These muscles are often neglected in favour of training our 'prettier' anterior (front) muscles. Most blokes want to show off a strong chest and abs rather than a strong back! Despite having rounded shoulders and back pain.
If these muscles are not engaged ('activated') properly before exercise, particularly high intensity exercise such as Crossfit we tend to use our anterior (front) muscles instead.
This is a problem.
It is a problem because it places load and shear on joints which they are not really designed for, which results in pain.
An common example might be deadlifting, squatting or olympic lifting without engaging the gluteus and hamstrings, only using the quads and other anterior muscles. This can result in shear or strain on the knees, lowerback and upper back and shoulders (if you have rounded shoulders).
Hipflexors and quads are overactive and tight in a lot of people who sit often and should be one of the main areas you are working on with the foam roller and other mobility drills (examples available inside The Institute).
Mobility is one thing but don't forget about including activations before you train and strengthening as part of your accessory work to supplement into your training programme.
I have added a whole series on strengthening your posterior chain inside The Institute and have specific sessions on getting rounded shoulders back to where they should be.
If you have any questions please comment below.
Otherwise here is a video for you to follow if you want to strengthen your posterior chain, If you suffer with back pain I would try this every morning. Any issues contact me or a professional as soon as possible.