2 Exercises for the Posterior Chain - dummies

2 Exercises for the Posterior Chain

By Dan DeFigio

Strengthening your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles is important for avoiding injury and chronic back pain. Mastering these exercises is also good training for keeping proper spine mechanics when you’re lifting things or bending over to pick up stuff.

1To perform the bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent, your heels planted on the floor, and your feet flexed up off the ground.

Brace your trunk with your core muscles so you can keep your spine from changing shape while you do the move.

Press your heels down into the floor to drive your hips up toward the ceiling.

Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and don’t overarch your lower back — the shape of your spine shouldn’t change while you bridge. Hold the top of the bridge for one second and then slowly lower.

More advanced variations of the bridge include putting your feet on an exercise ball or doing the bridge with one leg instead of two. Or, if you’re really getting strong, both!

2A favorite exercise for the posterior chain is the Romanian dead lift.

This is a very functional, practical exercise for strengthening the back and ingraining proper lifting mechanics.

Holding a pair of dumbbells, start in a standing position with your knees unlocked and your feet about 6 inches apart. Tighten your back muscles to put a little arch in your back, and lean forward from your hips, keeping your back nice and tight.

Don’t allow your spine to round or your shoulders to hump over.

When you can no longer tilt your pelvis any farther (your hamstrings will reach their end range of motion), stop and pull yourself back up to the standing position.