The Posterior Chain In Running

The importance of the posterior chain in running
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Talking Back - Posterior Chain

Do you spend a lot of the day sitting? That’s nice! – in some ways, in others – not so much. Although taking the weight off your feet will mean your legs will feel nice and rested for running, this type of lifestyle means the rear side of your body can get lazy and weak. This can lead to problems when you ask it to do something crazy, like running. If this sounds like you, read on. If you have back, knee or wondering-why-you-can’t-run-quickly issues, also read on.


What Is The Posterior Chain?

It sounds complicated, but it isn’t: the posterior chain is the muscles at the back of your body, notably your back, glutes, hamstrings and calves.

How Does The Posterior Chain Relate To Running?

With each step the posterior chain collectively contracts and propels your body forward. Taken separately: The back stabilises the spine and pelvis which stops energy loss through sideways movement and absorbs the impact of each step. The glutes generate power through the footstrike and stabilise your legs which prevents injuries such as IT band syndrome (runner’s knee). Hamstrings give you control when descending and they also give you speed – when sprinters get injured in races, it’s often a hamstring pull. Calves are essential to the landing and taking off of the foot, absorbing the shock and turning it into power.

What Are The Benefits Of Working On The Posterior Chain?

You will often find that runners who have just started running, restarted running or increased their mileage will have a weakness on one side of their body (left or right). This weakness is identified by performing drills or exercises that require balance. As well as having a stronger side – left or right – this type of runner will also have a stronger side – front or back. If you feel that your running lacks speed and/or power, then there’s every chance that your rear side has a weakness which can be improved by working on the posterior chain.

What Will Happen If I Neglect My Posterior Chain?

A weak posterior could mean you get backache during and after runs. Also, if your quads are significantly stronger than your hamstrings, you could get persistent knee pain.

what you need to know
  • Your posterior chain is the muscles at the rear of your body; your back, glutes, hamstrings and calves

  • With each step, the posterior chain contracts and propels the body forwards

  • People who don’t work on their posterior chain will often find it is weaker than the front side of their body. This can lead to knee issues, back issues and they may find running quickly difficult

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