Your posterior chain includes the muscles of the glutes and hamstrings. Your glutes are responsible for hip extension, while knee flexion is a function of the hamstrings.
Why is it so important for athletes to perform exercises that focus on the glutes and hamstrings? Here’s the deal: The glutes are a primary muscle group involved in virtually every sports movement — including sprinting, jumping, throwing, kicking, and swinging. The hamstrings are important for eccentric muscle movements, like decelerating when you slow down, stop, or change direction; or land after jumping.
Glute-ham exercises should be incorporated into your training regimen, every time you workout. Working these two important muscle groups can help athletes improve speed and power; enhance balance and stability; and reduce the risk of injury.
Two of our favorite glute-hamstring exercises are the Glute-Ham Raise and Romanian Deadlift (RDL). We like our athletes to perform them as an agonist-antagonist paired set (superset), combining them with a hip/quad focused exercise like a squat or deadlift.
A typical superset might look something like this:
- Barbell Back Squat, 6 reps at about 80% 1RM
- Body-weight squat jump, 6 reps (more advanced athletes can hold dumbbells at their sides when doing this exercise)
- Body-weight Glute-Ham Raise, 6 reps (focus on lowering movement; lower body to a 4-second count; assist to upright position; this exercise can also be weighted, for more proficient athletes)
All three exercises should be performed consecutively, with little or no rest between them. Rest for 10-15 seconds between sets (after Glute-Ham raise). Perform 3-4 sets.
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