Top Five Accessories to Strengthen the Posterior Chain

When trying to strengthen one’s posterior chain it is important to treat it as the most important part of your training. It is very common for athlete’s to have a weak posterior, whether that be low back, glutes or hamstrings; typically it’s all three. It is much easier to target the anterior chain because it does not require the same level of attention to detail as the posterior. In addition, the posterior is often lacking in athletes and the general population because they aren’t the ones everyone can see easily. So, here are my top five accessory moves to strengthen the posterior.

 1. Reverse Hyper
The reverse hyper is first is because most people deal with lower back tightness and pain which is often caused from weakness. The reverse hyper will strengthen the back on the concentric portion of the movement and traction out the back on the eccentric portion; making this the king of all back exercises.

Some variations :

  • Single leg with strap or roller.
  • Dual leg with strap or roller.
  • Heavy weight (half max of back squat), 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps.
  • Light weight for up to sets of 100.
  • Isometric holds at the top for as much time as the athlete needs for their sport.
  • Change the position of the pad to flat, back tilt or glute tilt.

2. Inverse Curl
Strong, big hamstrings and glutes are extremely common amongst fast and powerful athletes. The best way to attack the hamstrings is by using the inverse curl. This machine is the ultimate way to progress someone toward being able to do a nordic curl and eventually perform them with weight against their chest.

Some variations :

  •  Straight weight on carriage. Bands only on carriage.
  •  Mixture of bands and straight weight on carriage.
  • Single leg.
  • Dual leg.
  • No weight and just pad.
  • No pad.
  • Holding weight in hands with no help from the machine to get up.
  • Directly on the pad of the machine.
  • Put a foam pad underneath your knees.
  • Turn toes out, neutral or inward.
  • Move the foot pad closer or farther from the body.

3. Good Mornings
The good morning is another great way to target the low back, and when done correctly should also work to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. This movement should be in every athlete’s program as long as they are able to perform it safely. Depending on level of experience, it can even be for max effort day.

Some variations :

  • Standing.
  • Seated.
  • Bands only.
  • Safety bar, bow bar, straight bar, cambered bar, zearcher harness.
  • Concentric only from pins.
  • Concentric only from hanging chains.
  • For high reps 20+.
  • For max effort days, 3-5 reps.
  • Straight weight on bar plus chains.
  • Straight weight on the bar plus bands pulling forward.
  • Staggered stance.

4. Deadlifts
The Deadlift can be done in a multitude of ways such as for hypertrophy work, dynamic work and more. Each type of deadlift will target the posterior chain slightly differently, but they all will work the low back, hamstrings, glutes, obliques, abs and grip.

Some variations: 

  • Stiff leg, bent knee.
  • Sumo, semi-sumo, ultra wide sumo, conventional, trap bar, snatch grip.
  • Deficit pulls 1,2,3,4 inches.
  • Block pulls, 1,2,3,4 inches.
  • Max Effort, dynamic effort, explosive strength waves.
  • Straight weight only.
  • Bands on the bar.
  • Chains on the bar.
  • Romanain deadlifts.

5. Sled Work
The sled can be used in a multitude of ways, in addition to it being one of the cheapest pieces of equipment it is also one of the best. The sled can be used by any lifter or athlete no matter his or her experience level due to the fact that it takes stress off the body and can be done with limited mobility. It also tackles conditioning and strength work at the same time.

Some variations:

  • Max weight for a predetermined distance.
  • Multiple trips with heavy weight.
  • One trip for long distance.
  • Power walking.
  • Sideways walking, shuffling or crossover step.
  • Sprinting, jogging.
  • Attach strap to ankles and walk forward.
  • Holding straps from behind while walking forward.
  • Walking forward while holding dumbbells, bar on back, weight vest on, ankle
    weights on, med ball at chest, med ball above head or any combination of
    resistance together.

Kalil Sherrod
-Westside Barbell Personal Training and Athletic Coaching Certified
-Byrd Sports Performance Certified Coach

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