Welcome back to part 4 of the Posterior Chain Workout Series! You can find Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 right here on the blog!
Posterior Chain workouts focus on the back side of our bodies, helping to create balance in our posture as most of the daily activities we do emphasize our front body muscles (we see in front of us, so it’s only natural). Over time with repetitive motions and without actively being aware of training opposing muscle groups, it’s easy to find yourself with rounded forward shoulders or trouble activating your hamstrings and glutes.
This kind of training is so essential for your balance, alignment and posture and for supporting and strengthening you as you go through time (1).
For today’s workout I recommend having some weighted objects (water bottles, dumbbells, etc) handy and an elevated surface if you have one. As always I’ll walk you through modifications and form tips so you can be where you’re at and make it your own!
Now join me and let’s get super strong and balanced!
Great job with today’s workout! Now let’s get you a plan to put workouts like this together in a complete sequence that will strengthen your entire body! Take a 30-day Challenge in Rock Your Life and have workouts like this formatted into a plan to follow!
Posterior Chain IVClick to expand and see all workout move descriptions.
Equipment Needed: Weighted objects (water bottles, dumbbells, etc)
Format: Perform each move for the prescribed time, repetitions and rounds. Rest as needed.
Activation Sequence (3-4 minutes)
Move 1: Cactus Arms
- Come down to your mat, back is flat to the ground pressing your low back into the floor, core engaged with your knees bent.
- Bring your arms to an upright 90 degree angle position, pressing your shoulders and elbows into the floor.
- Slide your arms as far upward as you can while maintaining elbow and shoulder contact with the ground.
Move 2: Elevated Single Leg Bridge Lifts
- Begin with your back on the mat, knees bent and heels down on an elevated surface, ideally one that’s at knee height.
- Find “blueberry spine” – notice the natural curve in your lower back, and imagine you put a big blueberry right at the highest point of the curve. Using your core strength, flatten your back onto the blueberry without totally squashing it. Feel your core turn on.
- Maintaining this position, lift your left foot off of your box (keeping it parallel to your right leg) and press down through your right heel to lift up into a single leg bridge.
- Slowly lower yourself back down, reset blueberry spine and repeat for 5 repetitions then move on to the other leg.
- MOD: Keep both feet on the box or perform this on the floor rather than elevating them and perform this single leg bridge from the floor.
Move 3: Plank Hold
- Begin in a low plank position with your elbows on the ground, shoulders stacked over your hands and your core engaged.
- Press your lower back slightly up toward the ceiling and hold for the allotted time.
- MOD: Perform this move from your elbows and knees or on an elevated surface.
Workout (3 Rounds)
Move 1: Hamstring Pull Throughs (1:00)
- Begin in a seated position on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, torso up tall, arms back behind you with your chest open wide and hands on the floor – fingers facing forward.
- Press your heels into the mat and lift your hips up and through, squeezing your booty and the top to end in a reverse tabletop position with your knees bent.
- Slowly lower yourself down and repeat.
- MOD: Lie flat on the ground with your knees bent and perform a glute bridge.
- Optional: Place a weight on your hips for added resistance.
Move 2: Narrow Row to Wide Row (8-12)
- Hinge forward at the waist to be at 45 degrees, and engage between your shoulders, core engaged, chest up, shoulders rolled back, and weights in hand allowing your weights to hang beneath your chest and keeping your gaze neutral.
- With your palms facing each other, pull the weights to your sides while keeping your elbows close to the body, and squeezing your back muscles like you’re pinching the base of your shoulder blades together.
- Return to your hanging position, Rotate your arms so your palms are facing your knees and perform a wide row.
- Come back to center and repeat those two row variations back to back.
Move 3: Single Leg Hip Thrusters (8-12 each side)
- Position your back on an elevated surface (couch or chair). The edge of the surface should be at the base of your shoulder blades. Bend your knees and have them at 90 degrees.
- Straighten your right leg to be parallel to your left.
- Drive through your left heel to lift your hips to the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and keeping a tight core.
- Drop your hips back down toward the floor with control and repeat. Perform all reps on one side before switching.
- MOD: Perform this on the ground rather than an elevated surface or do this with both feet down rather than single leg.
- Optionally: Add a weight to your hip crease to add resistance.
- Start in a standing position with your feet wider than hip distance apart.
- Bend your knees and plant your hands on the floor or mat in front of you (hands stacked directly below shoulders) and jump or step your feet back into a tall plank position, holding your belly button in and up to keep your core engaged.
- Keep your core tight and perform a push-up (optional) – jump or step your feet back to the outside of your hands, loading your weight in your heels and use your momentum to power up into a jump.
- MOD: Perform this move from an elevated surface or take the jump out to make this a low impact movement.
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- De Ridder, Eline et. al. “Posterior muscle chain activity during various extension exercises: an observational study.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2013. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3716991/