Posterior Chain Training: Exercises for a Strong Lower Back

Posterior Chain Training: Exercises for a Strong Lower Back

posterior chain exercisesThere is an epidemic of chronic lower back pain.‘>2 They did deadlifts, goblet squats, lunges, planks, and step-ups. This was a progressive program, meaning they started with lower weights and added resistance as they progressed in strength. Loads were between 6 and 10-rep max.

After 16 weeks, they were stronger, their pain had dropped by 72%, their disability score had improved by 76%, and their overall quality of life (every 4 weeks they completed a self-assessment) had skyrocketed.

Another study from the same year had similar results.‘>4

Planks can be done just about every day. They’re a great way to start the morning or break up sedentary time.

Kettlebell Swings for Lower Back Pain

These are not to be taken lightly. Whereas planks and deadlifts are relatively linear and non-dynamic, KB swings take a lot of precision to get right, especially if you have lower back pain. A lot can go wrong with a poorly-done kettlebell swing.

This is a hip hinge and hip extension exercise. All the power should be coming from your glutes and hamstrings with your lower back a stable lever for transferring the force. If you use your arms to “swing” the kettlebell, you’re doing it wrong. Arms should be passive.

Keep the weight on your midfoot/heel. If the weight gets “in front” of you and you start going onto your toes, your lower back will bear the brunt.

At the height of the swing, maintain upright posture and a straight torso. Do not lean back—this takes the emphasis off the hips and places it on the lower back.

When the weight is coming back down, accept it by sticking your butt back and hinging your hips. Don’t “bend over”; get those hips back.

Stick with a weight you can swing for 20-30 reps at a time. You’re not going for any records here. You just want to get the blood flowing and the hips moving. One effective method is to keep a kettlebell in your office and do a minute of swings every hour.

There are other posterior chain exercises you can do to improve lower back pain, but these give the biggest bang for the buck. They should serve as the foundation for your journey back to pain-free life.

Do you have lower back pain? What worked for you? What didn’t work?


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