A lack of training the posterior chain can lead to an imbalanced physique(Shutterstock)
A lack of training the posterior chain can lead to an imbalanced physique(Shutterstock)

Fit and fine: How to train your posterior chain at home

Don’t turn your back to the back muscles, include these exercises to your lockdown fitness routine now!
Hindustan Times | By Kamal Singh CSCS
UPDATED ON MAY 31, 2020 01:52 AM IST

Most of the training programs for people stuck in their homes without access to equipment, tend to focus on exercises that hit muscles which are in the front of the body – push ups target – chest, shoulders and triceps, squats – mostly affect the quadriceps or front of the thighs. Various types of lunges can do a better job of involving the whole of the thigh as well as the glutes but that depends on how you do them. As you can see, by not including any kind of pulling exercises we are neglecting the upper and lower back as well as the hamstrings.

If you do not have access to gym equipment, it becomes difficult to do rows, pull ups/chin ups as well as deadlifts. An imbalanced physique is the result of not working the back of the body hard enough and sometimes this imbalance can lead to injuries. How many times have we seen fitness enthusiasts who have over developed muscles in the front of their bodies but their backs are bereft of any muscle!

Training the back at home

Rows are considered the mainstay of any back training program. Bent Over Barbell Rows, Single Arm Dumbbell Rows are some of the exercises used for building the upper back. Inverted Rows can be used as a substitute for Barbell Rows. All you need is a high table – a dining table would do. Grab hold of the edge of the table, pull yourself to the table, while keeping your body straight – abdominals and glutes should be kept tight. Try to get 8-15 repetitions per set for about 3-5 sets. Inverted rows are excellent for developing the upper back while core also gets worked as an added benefit! Once you can do 15 repetitions easily, then try to do these with one hand. The single arm inveted rows can be devilishly hard to do but I know of no other exercise which works the core and upper back with such intensity. Try to do 5-8 per set for 3 sets.

Without gym access, it becomes difficult to do rows, pull ups/chin ups as well as deadlifts (Shutterstock)
Without gym access, it becomes difficult to do rows, pull ups/chin ups as well as deadlifts (Shutterstock)

Deadlifts can be replaced with a Back Extension also known as a Superman - lie on your tummy, extend your arms over head. Begin the exercise by lifting the arms and legs off the ground. Hold this position for 30-6o seconds. Once this becomes easy, then put a pillow under your upper body. The head, arms and legs will be off the pillow. Instead of an isometric hold, do repetitions – touch the floor with arms and legs, then go up. Do 20 repetitions per set for 3 sets. To increase the intensity of the Back Extension, some objects like water bottles, heavy books etc can be held in the hands.

Bodyweight training tends to primarily target the front of the body (Shutterstock)
Bodyweight training tends to primarily target the front of the body (Shutterstock)

For overhead pulling exercises like chin ups and pull downs, a lying towel isometric pull can be substituted. Take a sturdy beach towel, loop it around the leg of a heavy cupboard, chest of drawers, lie down on your tummy, pull the towel till you feel tension in your upper back. Hold this position for 5-8 seconds. Do 5 holds in a set, for 2 sets. Isometric holds are contraindicated for those who have high blood pressure. So if you are on medication for high Blood Pressure, stay away from isometric holds.

To Summarise

•Bodyweight training tends to focus on push ups, lunges and squats. These primarily target the front of the body.

•A lack of training the posterior chain can lead to an imbalanced physique and could lead to injuries down the line.

•Inverted rows can be done by using a high table- a dining table or a writing table is ideal.

•Back extensions aka Supermans can be used to replace deadlifts. Intensify this exercise by holding heavy objects like heavy books or water bottles.

•Isometric pull downs can be used in place of chin ups and pull downs.

Now go do it!

Author bio: Kamal Singh is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has been coaching for 15 years

From HT Brunch, May 31, 2020

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