When it comes to fat loss, it all starts with the foundation. Just as important as a nourishing eating plan and dynamic weight training routine is literally poising your body for success. As with great architecture, building a sound physical structure begins with the foundation. Consider this: The feet are the foundation of the human form. Where the feet go, the body will follow. As you probably already know, this web site is devoted to optimizing your performance and maximizing the time you spend working out by helping you to tap into your posterior chain (the whole back side of your body). So what do the feet have to do with your legs, butt and metabolism? Just about everything!
Many modern “sneakers” feature a lifted heel which is frequently depicted as a sort of shock absorber. However the body’s physiology is equipped with its own shock absorbers: the hamstrings and glutes. Therefore, lifting the heels and thereby tilting the body forward tragically alters optimal biomechanics. Leaning forward deemphasizes the neurological connection to the posterior chain. In other words, modern sneakers (or any shoes with lifted heels) put the body in a position to use the muscles in the front side of the body, instead of the ones on the back of the body.
So how can you get more from each workout? We at Posterior Chain will never again exercise in shoes other than Vibram five fingers (although we do sometimes work out in fully bare feet)! These gecko-like shoes might prompt some odd glances from bystanders, but they’ll elicit absolutely stellar results in your muscles and metabolism! Vibrams are the closest your feet will come to being fully in the nude as it were, in shoes. The phenom-footwear allow the heel as well as all five toes to make complete contact with the ground. This contact prompts natural adjustments and calls on muscles which would not be used as efficiently in most modern shoes. Best of all, Vibrams’ design allows your body to get the maximum benefits of all those glute friendly workouts -sprinting, lunging, dead lifting- without mistakenly (or unknowingly) transferring that work to the quads! We certainly won’t be doing another kettlebell swing without them! Try out Vibram Five Fingers and let us know what you think!
There are still a few more weeks of “short weather” ahead of us. If you have cellulite, you probably think pant season won’t come soon enough. It’s estimated over 90 percent of women, and even a small number of men, suffer -and I do mean suffer – from this dimpled fat that most often covers the butt and back of the legs. Commonly referred to as “cottage cheese” among women, it’s unflattering but can be reduced.
I’ve changed the nature of my workouts from those total body, haphazard workouts to posterior-chain focused, intense, fat annihilation sessions and must say I’ve never felt better about my rear view. If you’re ready to smooth out and perk up your backside, try out my top five fixes for cellulite:
1. Flush it Out
Help your body do it’s job by drinking at least your body weight in ounces. All of the moving I’m sure you’re doing should be moving around lymph and excreting various toxins from your fat and muscle. Make it habit to hydrate frequently.
2. Roll it Away
Buy a $20 foam roller from your local sports store and very slowly, roll your body over it. Foam rolling is one of the most beneficial things you can do to improve flexibility and consequently strength. Self-myofascial release is the technical term, but this simple piece of equipment may just be capable of prompting more significant transformations than any other gear in the gym.
3. Grow Muscle
Deadlifts. Pelvic Bridges. Kettlebell swings. These exercises are among the absolute best for growing the glutes and hamstrings. The larger those muscles, the smoother any fat that covers them will appear. Plus, growing muscle burns more calories. Oh yeah, and bigger muscles also rev up your metabolism for DAYS after a workout! You spend hundreds of hours moving forward. Spend at least two hours a week focusing on what’s behind you.
4. Do HIIT to Get Fit
HIIT is sprinting its way to popularity, and it’s no wonder. You get the benefits of heavy lifting and cardio all in one. To lose fat and cellulite fast, move fast! Instead of running for an hour, do 8 sprints. A true sprint is your all out, run for your life best effort. Try it barefoot in the grass or on a hill for added benefits.
5. Rub it Away
Indulge in a deep tissue massage to help restore muscle repair and flush out additional toxins. The toxins we ingest are stored as fast. So as the fat (hopefully!) is melting away, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t linger anywhere in the body. And as though you needed another reason to relish in an hour of quiet time and aromatherapy, massages reduce stress. Less stress means less cortisol. Reduced cortisol means less fat, especially around the belly and hips!
Try out these tips for 6 weeks solid and let us know how you do!
Do it right, keep it tight!
We’ve all heard the expression “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you look around the next time you’re in a space with a lot of people, you’ll find this adage applies to the body as well. As we know, the majority of people are overweight or obese; yet a great many of those that do work out are not achieving optimal body balance. It’s easy to work the “mirror muscles”, or the muscles that are visible when you stand in front of the mirror. After all, we can not only see them working, but see them as they promote a tightness in the chest, arms, abs, and front of the legs because of their increased growth. Still there’s another plane to the human body: the posterior chain. Here, you’ll find the key to achieving an hourglass body with fuller glutes and a V-shaped back, sweeping hamstrings, shapely calves, and strong shoulders.
The glutes should be the largest, most powerful muscle in the human body, but if you take a gander at the backsides of the next crowd you’ll in, you’ll find flat butts abound. In the fitness world, we sometimes joke that the glutes are a woman’s second face: they can be a sign of youth or age, care or neglect, energy or a lack thereof. The (ideally) large muscles of the glutes, as well as the back, and back of the legs can change the entire dynamic of your body. So before you do another push-up, bicep curl or sit-up considering why you are doing those things. Certainly each of them have a place in strength training, however, many people have only limited time to work out. My opinion is that working the weak-points on your body (in most cases, the posterior chain) will not only increase your metabolic fire and add attractive curves to your body, but will also work as “pre-hab” by preventing and curing some of the most common body woes (neck tension, shoulder tension, lower back pain).
Back Pain is the most common gripe of Americans. In other countries back pain is virtually unheard of because many other countries have lifestyles that foster increased activity like walking and gardening. It’s a cycle that promotes a host of health benefits. They sit less, so they have stronger butts and more flexible hamstrings that allow them to hinge at the hips when bending. Typically Americans curve their spines when bending, and tuck their pelvises when walking, due to a poorly developed posterior chain.
So how can you turn up the dial on your metabolism and turn back the clock on your body? Discover the power within your posterior chain. An hourglass-shaped, pain free body can be yours simply by putting your mind into these muscles.
What: Rear deltoids (back of the shoulders)
Why: Promote better posture and prevent rotator cuff tears
Work it: Rear delt rows, rear delt flys
Bonus: Wow-worthy shoulders
What: Laterals (outer upper back)
Why: Create V-taper that’s as functional as it is attractive
Work it: Lat pull-downs, Pull-ups
Bonus: The illusion of a smaller waist
What: Gluteus Maximus (butt)
Why: Powerhouse behind standing, sprinting, and protecting the lower back
Work it: Pelvic Bridges, Step Ups
Bonus: Perkier curves and reduced back pain
Hamstrings (back of the thighs)
Why: Directly relate to the quality of hip and back function
Work it: Plié deadlifts, Hamstring curls
Bonus: Reduce the appearance of cellulite
The exercises mentioned are relatively basic (read: check them out online). After all, the human body was designed to thrive performing fairly simple movements: standing, squatting, jumping, climbing, bending. Getting back in touch with the neglected back side of the body will rapidly accelerate results and promote kicking curves to boot. So whether you want to lose fat without increasing gym time or simply live a life free from back pain, tap into that side of the body you don’t see in the mirror. Your new rear view will be sure to leave a lasting impression!
Welcome to PosteriorChain, dedicated to getting your backside back in action! Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed to stay informed of all things concerning the posterior kinetic chain. Also, register in the forums to post your comments and questions.