How many of you out there have issues with lower back pain and discomfort? Does it ever feel like your hips are losing their mobility and something as simple as crouching down to pick up that barbell becomes very difficult and painful? How about unannounced knee pain that suddenly creeps into your life? If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms and have no idea why they’re happening, chances are you’re suffering from poor health in your Posterior Kinetic Chain, otherwise known as your PKC. The PKC is made up of the muscles groups found on the posterior side of your body but more specifically the ones that cause you problems include your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It is responsible for helping you maintain proper posture, correct biomechanical movements and mobility as well as ensuring the kinetics of your normal activities are correct. When any of these muscle groups are neglected and become weak in comparison to the surrounding musculature, problems begin. To avoid this situation from occurring, here is what I suggest you do.
Prioritize These Areas in Your Training
It’s very easy to neglect these areas of your physique as you progress through your training week. Lifts such as the squat and dead lift end up becoming the main focus of your lower body training programs and for many, they assume that when performing these types of compound lifts that the indirect stimulus the lower back, hamstrings and glutes receive is enough. Therein lies the problem. The bigger muscles responsible for completing these lifts will take the brunt of the stress and will grow at a much faster rate than the smaller muscles. This then creates a muscle imbalance in the area and a greater differential in strength. This differential will then throw off your biomechanics, you’ll start moving differently than what you should, your structure will start to overcompensate for this differential in areas that it shouldn’t and eventually pain and discomfort will set in. This is why you must specifically and directly train the areas of the hamstrings, glutes and lower back with as much focus and attention as you give the bigger muscle groups so that everything grows in synergy and with balance.
Always Train Your Core
Training the muscles of your core should be viewed as much more than just an act of vanity in your efforts for possessing a great six-pack. It should be looked at as a necessary endeavor for maintaining optimal health and posture with regards to the proper alignment of your PKC. When your core is weak and your glutes are strong (another example of a common muscular imbalance), what ends up happening is your hips get pulled back and tilted in an unnatural position. This tilt will eventually create a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort in your lower back region. The best way to correct this imbalance is by strengthening your core. My suggestion is to warm up using your body weight as a natural resistance for your core and then move onto something that allows you to increase resistance so that greater gains in strength in that area can be achieved. Once you’ve successfully corrected the strength imbalance, your hips should return to their proper alignment.
Work on Your Flexibility
Something that often goes by the wayside, especially when time is of the essence and muscular gains are the priority, is flexibility training. As you grow, your mobility can become compromised if you aren’t paying attention to it. If you aren’t focusing on maintaining or improving your flexibility and ensuring that you can move your joints through a full range of motion, then you will get bound up, tight and stiff and this will inevitably cause you pain. When it comes to the health of your PKC and any pain you might be experiencing, tight hamstrings are usually the culprit. Once your hamstrings lose their ability to lengthen the way they should, they start to pull down on your glutes which in turn pulls down on your lower back and starts to make your hips tilt backwards; a recipe for disaster. You do not want this to happen so my advice would be to take the time to stretch, get massages, have some active release therapy done on the area and make sure can move in any direction at full capacity. This will go a long way for the prevention of PKC problems.
My final suggestion for maintaining the health of your posterior kinetic chain is to always wear proper footwear that is conducive to supporting a healthy gait and a supported stance for all of your lifting. The new Super Freak Grey/Yellow Cardio Sneaker or The new Black Missile Runner is a perfect choice for all of your cardiovascular endeavors, the Tactical Trainer Upgrade would be perfect for all of your heavy ground based lifts and the new Max Crazy Horse High Top Sneaker would be an ideal choice when out shopping in the malls for Xmas or taking your girl out on a date. Whatever the activity is you’re doing, you need the right support to maintain your health and that support comes from Heyday Footwear!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.