Look Great, Perform Even Better!
Name one thing that the average woman and a high-level athlete have in common? Answer: Both can make drastic improvements by focusing on the muscles of the posterior chain, especially the glutes.
Here are at the exercises I prefer when it comes to developing the posterior chain.
1. Combo Extension-Pull
This is as close to a "miracle exercise" as you can get! It works the whole posterior chain as well as the arms. Just perform a back extension and a two-armed dumbbell row at the same time. It's simple and effective, a must for all good training programs!
2. Hip Extension on Swiss Ball
This exercise may look simple, but it can actually be quite challenging. It'll strengthen the glutes, hips and hammies while improving your stability.
A great lower body and back builder. As a general movement it allows us to work a lot of different muscle groups at the same time. The deadlift is a fantastic exercise if properly executed; however, if done wrong it can become dangerous, just like any other exercise.
The following image explains the important technical points of this exercise:
4. Combo Leg Adduction-Extension
For this movement, set yourself up on a bench in front of a low cable. Using the ankle attachment, sweep the leg out and back, squeezing the glutes at the top. This exercise is effective at building all three gluteal muscles.
5. Reverse Hyper
This movement is effective at building up the whole posterior chain. As an added bonus, it can increase lower back recovery. Weight can be attached to the feet as you become stronger.
6. Leg Curl
This is an isolation movement for the hamstrings. For athletes, this exercise can reduce the risk of leg injuries by improving the quadriceps-to-hamstring strength ratio.
7. Low Cable Hip Extension
This is a simple exercise that's effective at building up the glutes and hamstrings. I feel the best way to perform it is to explode as you kick back and return slowly to the starting position. Women who want to focus on their buttocks should hold a 1-2 second peak contraction at the end of the kick.
8. Zercher Good Morning
This is a cousin to the Zercher squat and Zercher deadlift. It's basically a Romanian deadlift with the bar held in the crook of your arms (to change the resistance arm and force lever). To maximize the effectiveness of this exercise, you want to really push the hips backward as far as possible and keep the shins perpendicular to the ground.
As you can see with this chart, exercises which will benefit athletic performance overlap quite a bit with exercises that'll make you "look good naked." Use this chart to choose the exercises that best fit your goal:
|Exercise||Athletes||Wanting to "Firm Up"|
|Combo Extension-Pull||* * *||* * *|
|Swiss Ball hip Extension||*||* *|
|Deadlift||* * *||*|
|Combo Adduction-Extension||*||* *|
|Reverse Hyper||* * *||* * *|
|Leg Curl||* *||* *|
|Low Cable Hip Extension||*||* * *|
|Zercher Good Morning||* * *||*|
These extremely effective exercises are sure to improve your posterior chain. Whether your goal is performance or appearance, these movements will give you quick results!
For all the women out there, give these a serious try for three months and you'll be ready to buy a smaller bikini. And for all the men, well, the posterior chain muscles are known as the "speed muscles," so build 'em up if you want to be able to catch the women who followed my advice!