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Your spine has a bone to pick with you.
It’s tired of holding you up all the time: at your desk, during your workouts, while driving your car. It’s exhausted.
Okay, so your spine can’t actually speak to you. But it does send you some pretty strong messages.
And it communicates with you by using the language of pain.
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, injuries, and stiffness associated with bad posture, chances are it’s not even your spine’s fault.
Even though it might seem like it’s your back that’s doing the talking, the problem doesn’t actually lie there. Instead, it originates in a group of often-neglected muscles.
This group is called the posterior chain. And along with taming your spine’s grievances, it has the power to turn your backside into a toned, pain-free girdle of muscle.
The posterior chain refers to the muscles located in the posterior, or backside, of the body.
These include the glutes, hamstrings, calves, erector spinae (the little muscles surrounding the spine), and the lower and upper back muscles.
This group of muscles plays a huge role in just about any movement you make. They’re the power behind your ability to take the stairs two at a time and squat down to pick up something heavy from the floor.
Unfortunately, if you don’t use your muscles they can become weak. And for most of us, our day-to-day movements don’t require much of our posterior chain. For instance, if you’re sitting all the time, the glutes and hamstrings become lengthened and weak, which leaves your spine begging for proper support.
This can turn into low back pain and bad posture, as the muscles that are supposed to keep you upright are now so weak that they’re letting your shoulders round forward toward your desk.
Luckily, this situation can be fixed by properly activating – or “turning on” – the posterior chain.
If you’re not used to using your posterior chain muscles – especially your glutes – your body might not even know how to make them work. It’s almost like they are asleep.
Instead, when you don’t use your glutes or posterior muscles that often, your body begins to compensate by giving more work to the quadriceps and front side of the body.
This can lead to injuries during your workouts, since the front side of your body is now taking on loads that were meant for the glutes to handle.
An example of this is knee injuries in runners due to too much pressure coming down on their knee joints because their glutes and core muscles aren’t doing their job.
So as you can see, it’s important to teach your posterior how to work again by doing exercises that don’t let the front side of your body take over.
This involves concentrating on really squeezing the glutes and backside of the body during posterior exercises. Once you start doing this regularly, your glutes and backside will become used to being “used first,” and won’t have to rely on the front side of the body for support.
In addition to properly activating your glutes, these type of exercises will also improve your posture and balance and help prevent knee and back injuries during workouts (1).
You’ll find 15 of the best of these exercises below which will help your posterior wake up from its long nap.
Below are the 15 best posterior chain exercises you can do to tighten and strengthen your backside, relieve lower back pain, and also build a better posture.
Before you get started with these exercises, don’t forget to add in a 5- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up consisting of leg swings, bodyweight squats and lunges, and light stretching.
Supermans are great for strengthening the lower back and engaging the glutes, and also helping correct rounded posture caused by excessive sitting.
Variations: To mix it up, try raising one arm and one opposite leg at a time, alternating for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Bird dogs are excellent for activating the glutes and low back, while also strengthening the stability muscles surrounding your core.
Variations: If you find yourself losing your balance, try lifting only one leg or one arm at a time for 10 to 15 reps. For a more advanced bird dog, download the VIP App
Sumo squats target the muscles that wrap around the inner thighs and glutes, helping you target your lower tush.
Back extensions are excellent for strengthening the muscles along the spine and shoulders, which can help improve your posture and even ease back pain.
Glute bridges are one of the best exercises for activating the glutes and engaging the entire posterior chain.
Variations: You can make glute bridges more difficult by doing them on one legor adding a band. Simply come into your bridge position and extend one leg skyward, performing your thrusts on the opposite leg.
You can also check out this post for more variations.
This exercise might look a little a little strange but it adaptable to most fitness levels and can hit all areas of your calves as well as improve ankle stability.
Strong calves can help with balance and add power to any forward movement, such as climbing stairs and sprints.
The stability ball triple threat combines three powerful posterior exercises into one, so no muscle in your backside is left untouched. You should perform these exercises in a continuous flow, with no pause between.
Reverse lunges help activate and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, while also engaging your core to balance.
Variations: You can also hold dumbbells for an additional challenge.
Back rows strengthen the muscles of your upper and lower back, and also your shoulders. Use a challenging dumbbell weight for these, but don’t go so heavy that you can’t pull through the full range of motion.
Variations: You can also try rowing with your palms facing up to engage more of the lower back.
Romanian deadlifts target the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back as you pull a weight up from the ground. They are also excellent for building core strength and stability.
Single-leg Romanian deadlifts add some intensity to the regular Romanian deadlift by increasing your core engagement and working the stabilizer muscles of your core to improve balance.
Variations: Alternatively, you can do single-leg Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells.
Kettlebell swings are excellent for working nearly every muscle in your posterior chain and core. Not to mention, they also get your heart rate up for a quick fat-burning workout.
Variations: Try the more advanced one-arm swings by swinging using just one arm for added core work. Be sure to avoid letting your body sway from side-to-side during these and only swing up to chest level.
If you’re looking for a tight, toned tush, barbell hip thrusts should be one of your go-to exercises. Hip thrusts also engage your core, lower back, and hamstrings for killer posterior engagement.
Variations: You can also check theVIP Fit app which has videos for more variations.
Renegade rows take the plank to a whole new level by layering in weights and upper body engagement. They also help strengthen your core stability muscles, which can help improve lower back pain.
Variations: You can also do renegade rows from a kneeling position. If that’s still too challenging, try holding a standard plank for 30 seconds or doing bird dogs (above).
Pull-ups are the ultimate upper back challenger. If you have trouble getting a full overhand pullup, try the band-assisted version explained in the variation section.
It’s also important that you make sure to do back rows regularly if you’re doing pull-ups, since they can be hard on the shoulder joint. Doing this will help ensure you’re engaging the entire back during your pull-ups, instead of putting too much weight on your shoulders.
Variations: Try a VIP’s pull up assist machine or use a band.
typically tend to be in healthy relationships. Fact is that if you both truly want the best for each other its easy to see how a healthy body will not only promote healthy lifestyle and happiness, but positive endorphins and a accountability partner.
1. You ALWAYS have a spotter available
Sometimes you want to up that weight and take on new challenges, but need that person by your side to help. Don’t worry, because they will always be there with you in the gym and in life’s challenges!
2. They will motivate you to get your butt to the gym
One can always regret not going to the gym the next day or even late that night, but nothing is worse than letting down your workout buddy. If they end up making it to the gym and you decide to stay on the couch, you know your going to get the guilt stare as soon as they get home. So now there is even more reason to go to the gym!
3. Meal prepping is a breeze
Those who meal prep together, stay on their diet together! Making sure you stay on a healthy diet is super easy when you are in it together. Also meal prepping is way more fun when you have someone to help you and get it done!
4. Cheat days are WAY more fun
After meal prepping together and staying on your healthy diet all week, the perfect date night is a cheat night. Bring on the date night, because you both have been excited about the night all week long.
5. Sweat doesn’t bother you one bit, in fact you appreciate it
You know you don’t have to rush home and shower to make sure you impress before or after the gym. Your significant other thinks you are at your sexiest when covered in sweat after a hot workout.
Your self confidence and energy improves as a whole when working out, and it usually translates to more passion.
7. Giving gifts is easy peasy
Workout gear is a little on the pricey side and can always use an upgrade. When it comes to buying your swolemate the perfect gift, you can easily pick up those new workout shoes they have been eyeing.
8. The more you workout, the fewer the fights
We tend to take our anger and frustrations out on the ones we love the most. However, since you both tend to workout your anger at the gym, it equates to less anger at home – Meaning fewer fights and more perfect nights!
9. You’re both happier and more energetic people
When you workout you tend to be happier and have more energy giving both of you that extra boost on the weekends to go do something fun and exciting. Rarely will you find yourselves sitting at home doing nothing.
10. You have a bond that no one else understands
Staying on your routine and eating clean keeps you focused and the best version of yourself. You and your partner know that throwing it off in the slightest can be detrimental for all parties involved. You both work together and understand its importance of a workout and staying on a clean diet. It’s a bond that only someone with the same lifestyle understands the importance of, and together you are unstoppable.