The posterior chain is comprised of muscle groups running down the body’s rear. Hence, by adding these exercises for your upper body & lower body to the program, you can take your exercise routine to the next level.
Usually, the hamstrings, glutes & lower back get the most attention, despite the backward chain extending down from the neck to the ankles.
So, building up your strength of these muscles relieves discomfort in the lower back, improves your posture, and improves your sports performance.
What are the backward chain muscles?
Following are the major muscles that make up your posterior chain:
- Erector spinae: muscles along the spine.
- Hamstrings: semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris.
- Gluteus: gluteus medius, gluteus maximums, & gluteus minimus.
- Calves: soleus and gastrocnemius.
So, other muscles inside your upper body are also a part of your posterior chain. These muscles also include rhomboids, trapezius, as well as latissimus dorsi.
What boons do we get from a strong posterior chain?
Following a study in 2017, a robust posterior chain will help you in the following ways:
- It bolsters the force of explosive motions.
- It improves overall performance in sports.
- You can prevent injuries.
- It helps muscles deal with stresses they weren’t expecting.
- It helps in ensuring proper posture.
Now, the muscles making up the posterior chain of your upper body are for pulling and pushing the trunk as well as the arms. And although each muscle inside the backward chain does its job, the muscles also collaborate to form a chain that is kinetic, and that has a harmonious effect.
The posterior chain is crucial in supporting you as you go about your everyday tasks. Unfortunately, constantly sitting “shuts down” the muscles that make up your posterior chain. And this often results in muscular imbalances, weakness, as well as tight hip flexors. So, all of this can wreak havoc on your lower back. Moreover, your tight hip flexors make it tougher to do specific exercises.
However, regularly targeting the posterior chain during a whole or lower-body exercise can help fix these imbalances. Therefore, you can reduce the possibility of sustaining an injury to your lower back.
3 Pull workouts to build a strong posterior chain
The rack pull is a version of the deadlift that, much like the standard deadlift, places a significant emphasis on the erector spinae. It also affects your lower back, middle back, & upper back. So, when doing rack pulls, ensure that you use just a portion of your whole range of motion. Performing the exercise in this manner puts more emphasis on the glute lockout strength & less focus on the hamstrings.
And it will be much simpler for you to keep your spine within the neutral position during the lift if you begin pulling from just a higher starting point. This deadlift variant allows you to move more weight since it restricts the movement range you employ to perform the exercise.
If you do so, you will condition your muscles to lift greater weights, which will help you improve the strength of the posterior chain.
Benefits of the Rack Pull
You’ll be able to improve your deadlift lockout if you lift from a limited range of movement and lift more weight overall.
Your grip strength, as well as the strength in the upper and lower back, will increase if you deadlift with an excessive amount of weight.
This exercise has significant carryover to enhance your conventional deadlift and will help you lift more weight.
How to Do the Rack Pull
Place the barbell on the squat rack above or below the knees, depending on your preference. Take up your regular position for the deadlift. Now, in this exercise, you will hinge down and grab the barbell with an overhand grip that is shoulder-width apart.
Put a little pressure on the armpits. Keep the shoulders pulled back and the chest up. Pull up until you fatigue the muscles completely, concluding with the glutes. And to return to the initial position, hinge back. Then, repeat.
Cable Pull Through
The cable pull-through seems to be an exercise that targets the glutes as well as hamstrings and emphasizes a pure hip hinge movement. Throughout this movement, the upper, as well as lower back will work together to keep the spine in a neutral position.
This exercise is ideal for building glute lockout strength, which translates well to other, more difficult hip hinge exercises. Since you will not be using excessive weight, you’ll be able to safely raise the pulling volume & concentrate on form without putting undue strain on the body.
Benefits of the Cable Pull Through
- As a result of the reduced weight on the hips and the varying directions of the pull, this exercise is excellent for the lower back since it helps you develop strong hip hinge mechanics.
- When you use a cable machine, the adaptive resistance allows you to train for longer, which boosts strength and muscular growth.
- Because this hip hinge variation is easier to do and is not trained with maximum weight, you can get in more rounds.
How to Do the Cable Pull Through
Towards the lowest point of the cable, fasten a rope. Approximately 180 degrees from the machine, turn around. Keep your hands together and the rope attachment between the legs.
Next, walk away from the device until you feel its tension. Stand with your feet about hip-width away. And keep your spine neutral as you hinge downward. Finally, turn the action around. Hold your glutes tight during the lockout.
In practically every way, the high pull is much like the hang clean, except for the dip, catch, and squat. Because of this, there is even less of a technical need and learning curve to pull off the transition. Even though this exercise is more straightforward and less taxing on your body, it works the upper back muscles.
Benefits of the High Pull
- This less complicated exercise may strengthen your upper back muscles, even if you lack prior weightlifting knowledge.
- If you want improved posture and a wider yoke, you need to work on strengthening your mid and upper traps.
- Adding a hip hinge to this exercise increases the weight that can be lifted, allowing for greater strength & hypertrophy development.
How to Do the High Pull
Grab the barbell with your hands slightly farther apart than shoulder-width apart. Turn around at the hips. Then, bring the barbell down to about knee level by bending your knees. Make a strong thrusting motion with the hips. And while you are lifting the bar to the collarbone, be sure to extend the knees fully. Lastly, as you bring the bar closer, spread the elbows further apart.
If you don’t have a strong back, or “posterior chain,” to support your mirror muscles, your front half will easily dominate your back. The overcompensation resulting from this might cause injury and jeopardize your training.
Back strength is essential for any bench press. Hence, you should still focus on building a strong posterior chain, even if developing your frontal muscles is your primary training focus. These pull exercises will help you achieve a strong posterior chain.