6 of the Best Posterior Chain Exercises

posterior chain

The number one injury that I would hear from sprinters was that they pulled their hamstring.

Sprinting is such a powerful movement that recruits a lot of muscle fibers. You can’t half-ass sprinting or run at 70% if you want to win like you might be able to play a game of football at 50%.

All cylinders have to be firing at the right time.

During my career, my dad was my strength coach, and we focused a lot on posterior strength. Making sure to “bulletproof” the hamstrings. I still have injuries from the general toll the body takes during sprinting, but I only imagine what my body would have been like without a great program.


Such a fundamental exercise when it comes to strength training. Also, a great full body exercise, but vital for the posterior chain.


  • increase entire body strength & muscle
  • fundamental movement
  • low impact exercise
  • increase athletic performance
  • simple exercise but the squat technique can be difficult

Squat often and squat heavy during the offseason. This is when you can maximize building strength and muscle.

There are so many different variations so don’t just do the basic squat, try something new. Different positions target and work different muscles. Its a good change to the nervous system. Some other variations:

  • Barbell Front Squats
  • Box Squats
  • Sumo Squats
  • Split Squats

If you want to increase your power output, then focus on the eccentric moment of the exercise. Control the descent while breathing in and as soon as you get to a good depth, explode back up powerfully and breathing out.


The quintessential strength exercise in the weight room. This was one of my favorite exercises when training professionally because it works the entire body. You don’t need to do many reps, can be efficient and still be drained all at the same time.


  • prevents injuries
  • strengthens tendons and ligaments
  • more muscles worked
  • increases hormones

Like the squat, it’s best to do a variety of variations with this exercise. It’s always a great thing to work different muscles in the areas.

  • Sumo Deadlift
  • RDL (Romanian Deadlifts)
  • SLDL (Single Leg Deadlifts with Dumbbells)
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

Deadlifting is a very safe lift, but just like any movement, it can be extremely dangerous if done incorrectly. The best part about lifting 300lbs up is that you can just drop it at the top of the lift. Reset and lift again.

Its very easy to get wrong and start developing bad habits, so my only advice with this exercise is to go through the weight starting very low and just working on form.

Glute-Ham Raise

My all-time favorite exercise to do to save my hamstrings from any injuries. It can also be a very challenging exercise because you need to build a lot of strength to do it properly.


  • hamstring and glute hypertrophy
  • can focus on eccentric and isometric strength
  • prevents hamstring injuries

This is a great exercise to prevent any hamstring pulls or tears, but where a lot of athletes go wrong is to start doing this after the injury. That never works because this exercise recruits EVERY muscle fiber in the hamstring just to do the exercise.

I did this exercise at least a few times during the week for the entire season. The posterior chain development strengthens the not only the hamstrings and glutes but spinal erectors as well which are important in sprinting.

It’s not a strength or power lift, but it does help with those big lifts like deadlifts and squats.

Back Extension

You can look at the equipment for the exercise and be quite intimidated. It seems like some weird looking contraption, but the back extension, which is often an overlooked exercise, is such a simple exercise to do.


  • minimizes back pain
  • strengthens entire body
  • more muscle support around the spine
  • improves posture

When correctly performed it strengthens the entire posterior chain including the core and abdominals. Charles Poliquin, an elite athlete strength coach, says that “the lower back is one of the most important muscles groups in the body, and strengthening it can lead to gains throughout your body.”

Start off with just the body for this exercise. Its take some time to build up endurance while doing this exercise before adding any weight.

Stability Ball Leg Curl

The stability ball leg curl is a simple exercise that can be done at home. Another great exercise that focuses primarily on the glutes and hamstrings but works a lot of secondary muscles as well; abs, obliques, calfs


  • better balance
  • stronger strides
  • healthier knees
  • can do at home

There needs to be a lot of focus on doing this exercise correctly. If you lift your hips up and your back isn’t straight, your back takes the brunt of the work. This happens because the hamstrings are weak or you may not have the balance on the ball yet.

Take it one rep at a time focusing on proper technique. The minute you start feeling the lower back that’s where you stop. If its only three reps well it will only get better from there.

Hip Thrusts

The ultimate booty builder!


  • improve strength, speed, and power
  • maximum glute muscle engagement
  • great explosive power lift

This exercise was the meat and potatoes of my strength program all year round. I could get heavy up to 400 lbs and fire a lot of muscles as I explode through the movements.

Such a great posterior chain exercise that should be in one’s program to prevent any hamstring injury.

Your glutes are strong so don’t be afraid to go heavy with this exercise. I suggest getting a bar pad to put on the barbell as the pressure can be quite intense without it.

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