The posterior chain muscles of the upper body are critical postural muscles. Often, clients will train their anterior chain muscles of the upper body at the expense of the posterior chain muscles. Due to our activities of daily living requiring a great deal of anterior sagittal plane movement patterns, the anterior chain muscles of the upper body may tend to overpower the posterior chain muscles leading to significant imbalances between the anterior and posterior musculature. Therefore, to counter these imbalances, add the following three posterior chain upper body exercises to your program (i.e., there are dozens of exercises possible—this is a small sample). As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise on two-three non-consecutive days/week. Choose external load that will take you to momentary muscle failure in the final two repetitions.
BILATERAL REAR FLYE CROSS OVERS – Matrix – place the cable/pulley at your shoulder height on both columns. Do not place any attachments on the carabineers. Place a light/moderate increment of weight on the weight stack. Stand facing the center of the Matrix, carefully hold the L cable right above the carabineer at the “ball” with the R hand and the R cable right above the carabineer with the L hand which crosses the cables. Stagger the legs front to back, keeping the shoulders/hips/knees/toes facing the same direction. Engaging the rear deltoids (back of shoulder), and trapezius (middle back) pull the arms back without moving at the elbow joint, “cracking the egg” between the shoulder blades and then return to the beginning position with the arms parallel to the shoulders. *Trains the rear deltoids/trapezius and nose to toes core.
BENT OVER UNILATERAL CABLE ROW – Matrix – position cable/pulley at the lowest setting on the column and place a handle in that carabineer. Standing facing the cable/pulley with the L foot on top of a BOSU or step, holding the handle in the R hand, R foot on the floor w/a relaxed knee joint, hinge from the hips, keeping the torso completely extended and the shoulders/hips/knees/toes all facing the same direction. Extend the R arm out/down until suspended on a diagonal line of pull from the pulley, then engaging the wide part of the back (i.e., the lats), draw the arm back/up until the upper arm is parallel to the floor, arm pit closed and then lower back down with control until the elbow is extended. Repeat on the opposite side. *Trains the lats/deltoids/biceps and nose to toes core.
SEATED ROWS – Hoist – with E/Z curl bar – place the E/Z curl bar in the carbineer at the seated row station, set the weight at a moderate weight on the stack as this exercise trains the trapezius not the lats (i.e., mid-back not wide part of back). Feet on the pad, holding the E/Z curl bar at the curve in the bar, move back far enough so that the arms are completely extended and the knees are relaxed. Engaging the trapezius, row the arms back keeping the forearms at shoulder height and the underside of the arms up as though you are sliding the arms along the top of a shelf. Then, return to the beginning position. Never lean back, always control the cable/pulley both directions. *Trains the trapezius/deltoids/biceps and nose to toes core.