Posterior Chain Exercises with Natasha Aughey
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5 Tips To Improve The Posterior Chain With Natasha Aughey
Doing posterior chain work is a must for any athlete or lifter. The posterior chain is a large contributor to speed, power, and general strength. Yeah, the hamstrings aren’t the flashiest of muscles to show off on the beach like the biceps, triceps, and abdominals, but oh howdy do the hamstrings lead to athleticism. Of course, we know that the hamstrings aren’t the only muscle groups in the posterior chain, and yes for sure the glutes play a pivotal role as well as other prime movers on the backside, it’s just that we want to give the hammies the credit they deserve. With that being said, let’s discuss a variety of exercises that trigger the development of the posterior chain for the better.
1. Dumbbell Walking Lunges
Natasha Aughey did well-controlled walking lunges for posterior work. Yes, the walking lunges hit the quads a bit but the glutes and hamstrings kick in like horsepower in a muscle car. Natasha also demonstrated being stable with her posture, staying upright. Her focusing on getting her front leg out, quite a bit forward, and she targeted her glutes even more.
Performing dumbbell walking lunges for 4 or 5 steps is a great way to train the posterior chain and, as Natasha stated, get some cardio in.
2. Hamstring Curl
Having an athlete who struggles with the extension at the finish of the snatch or clean, or maybe they don’t jump well, an exercise that can be used to increase hamstring strength in the posterior chain sequencing is the leg curl. The leg curl is also a great exercise to use to rehab hamstring injuries from sprinting; it is awesome to use as a rehabilitative exercise or to neurally stimulate the use of hamstrings when sprinting.
I recommend doing 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps while throwing in a slower eccentric in the movement. Squeezing the heel to the top of the hamstring at the top goes hard. The hamstrings respond well to the slow eccentric. There is a ton of force with the slow eccentric.
Quad-dominant athletes can also benefit greatly from hamstring curls. Quad-dominant athletes benefit from isolated hamstrings to help improve their body’s structural integrity.
3. Back Extensions
For people involved in sports performance athletics, I like to have athletes hold a plate and almost drop and catch the plate on the descent down. The slight drop and catch of the plate light the hamstrings up even more. It forces the hamstrings to wake up. After a few reps of waking the hamstrings up, just hold the plate and pulse through normal back extensions.
If the focus wants to be more on the lower back and hamstrings together, hold the plate close to the chest and do nothing flashy, doing just a normal concentric and eccentric movement. The rep range, depending on the weight used, can go all the way from 6 to 8 reps to 40 reps.
Natasha likes to make the movement glute-ham focused. When she comes up she thinks about really squeezing the glutes and at the bottom getting a nice stretch in the hamstring. When doing bodyweight back extensions, she will focus on really stretching at the bottom to lengthen the hamstrings.
One little aside, try to keep the feet almost completely neutral on the machine to hammer the hamstring.
4. Seated Dumbbell Good Mornings
Natasha commented how she (and a lot of others) do good mornings with a barbell standing. The seated dumbbell good morning is one from John Meadows. The idea is to do sets with really big reps. Like 40 to 50 reps to target the adductors, low back, and erectors (especially if the back is purposefully rounded and then arched at the top to add ranges of motion).
To do this movement, cradle the dumbbell in your arms. Hug the dumbbell tight to the chest. As the body bends forward try to round and as the chest is brought back up try to arch. The deeper the movement, the more the groin will be targeted while getting a back pump. It is almost like a Zercher deadlift. It is a really good exercise that targets the posterior a ton and hammers the low back.
A nice little trick is to stand up after hitting 17 reps and do the movement standing up and feel the hamstrings light up.
I had Natasha hold a 15k plate and perform rows while holding an isometric action. Immediately after completing the rows while holding the isometric action, Natasha finished off with 15 traditional glute-ham reps. The movement lights up the posterior chain, specifically lighting up the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
Utilize these 5 exercises to solidify the posterior chain. Walking lunges with dumbbells, back extensions, seated good mornings, hamstring curls (unilateral or bilateral), and the glute-ham row into the half-term focus on the posterior chain. The pump from the erectors into the glutes and the hamstrings connect everything as effectively as possible to strengthen and empower the posterior chain.
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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