“What I Learned” Wednesdays
Alex Skinner – @alexskinner5
The posterior chain consists of 1/2 of your body. It is your backside. So why do many so many every day gym-goers neglect it? The most common response would be, “well they’re not show muscles!” While that might be true, at least to your eyes, that does not take into account that the rest of the world can see your backside. Neglecting your non-show muscles is also hurting your main lifts and setting you up for injury in the future. The reason your back rounds and you’re falling forward on the squat, your elbows flair on the bench press and your hips fire straight up on deadlift are all results of a weak posterior chain. Poor mobility and bad positioning can also be contributing factors as to why your lifts are failing. In this article I am going to highlight 6 exercise that you must be doing if you want a stronger backside.
If your back is rounding & you’re falling forward on the squat, it is most likely due to weak hamstrings and lower back.
- Straight leg deadlifts
When performing SLD’s keep your back straight and focus on squeezing your hamstrings and glutes. Keep tension on your hamstrings throughout the whole movement. We are overloading them which will spark great growth in the hamstrings.
- Back extensions
As simple as the back extension sounds, performing them with proper form and doing them on a consistent basis will go a long way. When doing back extensions, not only are you going to focus on the lower back, but also squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Another major key when doing these is to not overextend at the top of the movement. Only go as far as you need to go.
When your elbows flair on the eccentric (way down) part of the bench, this is due to weak rear delts. However, when the elbows flair on the concentric (way up) part of the bench, this is due to weak triceps. Assess the whole lift to find your weaknesses.
- Rear delt flys
With your thumbs facing each other, reach down and grab a couple of light dumbbells. Sit down on the end of a bench. Have a slight forward lean & bend in the elbows and act as if the dumbbells are milk jugs and you have to pour the milk nice and slowly into the glass. Focus on the squeeze throughout the whole movement, putting all the tension in the rear delts.
Dips are my favorite exercise to pack on lots of mass & strength to the triceps. When performing the dip, keep your elbows tucked to the side of your body, and as Zach Homol says, “Get all of the reps!” That means you better be going ALL the way down (at least 90 degrees) & locking out every rep at the top. Don’t cheat your triceps and don’t cheat yourself! Get ALL of the reps!
More than likely when your hips fire up on the deadlift it is due to weak hamstrings. Not that you have poor leg drive. 99% of people in the world are quad dominate which means that we must all double down on hamstring work so we can become the most efficient lifter that we can be.
- Banded leg curls
Banded leg curls are a staple in my training. With a band, the more resistance it gets, the more tension it creates. This leads to great muscle growth. Loop a medium sized band onto the bottom of a rack. Set up a bench far enough away from the rack so that there is constant tension on the band throughout the whole movement. Sit down on the bench & place your feet into the band one leg at a time. Place the band around your heels, externally rotate your feet & proceed to curl your legs by squeezing your hamstrings & glutes.
- Dumbbell RDL’s
If you want your hamstrings to get an unbelievable stretch & also be put under extreme strain, then you must start doing dumbbell RDL’s. Ride the dumbbells up and down your slightly bent legs keeping your hamstrings loaded & squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Get a nice long burn throughout the whole lift & your hamstrings/glutes will be on fire.
Stop neglecting your weaknesses. Break down your form. Find what needs work & attack that body part with full force. Turn your weaknesses into your strengths and GROW. Other fun exercises that tax your posterior chain are farmer carries, sled work, tire flips, & the best of all, pulling vehicles! Switch things up & train like an animal!