The Power in the Posterior Chain
When Masters athletes contact us and want to train for sprints they generally fall in to one of four categories:
- Never competed before but used to feel pretty fast “as a kid”
- Have been doing parkruns but feel they are supposed to run faster (and much less distance)
- Ran as a youth and/or young adult and want to get back into it
- Currently compete but want to improve (or at least not slow down as they age)
No matter which category they fall into we look very early at the effectiveness of their posterior chain.
SO WHAT IS THE POSTERIOR CHAIN?
The posterior chain refers to the muscles are the rear of the body. The Posterior Chain is made of four major muscle groups:
- Spinal erectors
Posterior chain exercises involve contracting and lengthening the muscles in a chain like manner
WHY THE POSTERIOR CHAIN?
Hunter Charnesk, the American Physical Preparation expert, describes the Posterior Chain as the “GO” muscles. Despite sprinters generally having very impressive physiques, the muscles we want to develop lie in the power generating engine and not in the “show” muscles. The key component of that engine is the hips. Power is generated by extension of the hip muscles to drive foot into the track. The other muscles of the posterior chain support and sustain control as the hip goes to work.
SO HOW DO WE DO IT?
We need to build strength in each component of the posterior chain. As we progress our training will become more explosive. We also need to ensure that each component of the chain works in synchronicity with the others to ensure the most efficient flow of power and that we don’t have energy leakages.
Below we have listed some of our key exercises for developing the posterior chain. To suit each athlete, and to progress or regress the exercise as needed we can:
- Add or decrease volume
- Add or decrease speed
- Add or decrease weight
- Alter foot/hand placement
- Alter rest periods
- Adjust range of motion
- Supine Bridge
- Hip Thrust
- Roman Chair /45 degree back extension*
- Good mornings*
- Glute – Ham – Calf Raise*
- Rack pulls*
- Kettle Bell Swings*
- Double leg calf raises (standing and seated)
- Single Leg calf raises (standing and seated)
- Straight leg rebounds
- Rope skipping
- Any of the above exercise marked with “*”
- Reverse hypers (also a great glute exercise)
- Bent over rows
Exercise such as the Olympic lifts (and their derivatives and variations), sled pulls and prowler pushes are means we use in the gym to develop the co-ordination and efficiency of the posterior chain.
For more information on how Strength and Conditioning programmes can help you improve your sporting performance go to https://www.damnfitsc.com.au/contact/