Strengthen Your Posterior Chain with This Workout from Anna Victoria
Stop hunching over the laptop and activate the muscles on your backside (yes, including your booty) with three key moves.
Even at 26 weeks pregnant, Anna Victoria is continuing to work out while also keeping her followers in the loop. Since making the announcement in January that she's pregnant after years of fertility struggles, she's posted updates about her experience and how it's affected her training. (Related: Anna Victoria Announced She's Pregnant After Years of Struggling with Infertility)
Behind the scenes, she says she's been giving extra attention to her posterior chain, the muscles on the backside of the body "A lot of my training right now is focusing on how to train my body to compensate for the fact that I am growing a big belly right now," says the Fit Body trainer. "And so one of those important keys is to strengthen your posterior chain." (Related: How Much Exercise Is *Actually* Safe to Do While Pregnant?)
Strengthening the posterior chain can help prevent (or work to fix) muscle imbalances. "Since I'm going to have a big belly and it's going to be pulling me forward soon, I need to have strong glutes, a strong back, strong erector spinae muscles [a group of muscles that run alongside the spine]," says Victoria. It could even continue to pay off post-pregnancy. "When your baby does come out and you're holding them, you want to be able to balance yourself out and have that strength to support you," she adds.
Even if you're not planning to give birth any time soon, you can still learn a lot. Victoria says that posterior chain strength is something "anyone and everyone" should be thinking about, noting that it plays an important role in posture and so much more. Strengthening the muscle on the backside of your body to match the strength in your front can help you avoid injury and allow you to run faster or lift heavier thanks to increased power. (See: What Exactly Is the Posterior Chain and Why Do Trainers Keep Talking About It?)
To follow Victoria's lead, check out her workout that hits many of the posterior chain's large muscle groups with three simple exercises. You'll work your glutes, hamstrings, and upper and lower back muscles. It's pregnancy-friendly and you can knock it out at home in 10 minutes or less.
How it works: Perform each exercise for the indicated number of reps, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the entire circuit twice more for three sets total.
You'll need: A pair of dumbbells or heavy household items and a chair or platform.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Engage core, hinge at hips, send butt backward, and bend knees slightly to reach starting position. Exhale to row dumbbells to ribs, squeezing shoulder blades together behind back and keeping arms in tight to sides.
B. Inhale to lower dumbbells with control to starting position.
Do 20 reps.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
A. Rest right knee on a chair or platform, then adjust stance so that left foot is out and back at a slight diagonal from the platform/chair. Brace core, holding a dumbbell with left hand and arm stretched long to side of platform/chair. This is your starting position.
B. Exhale to row dumbbell to ribs. Inhale to lower dumbbell back down with control.
Do 15 reps. Switch sides; Repeat.
Stiff-Leg Deadlift (aka Romanian Deadlift)
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing thighs. Maintaining a neutral spine, exhale to hinge at hips and send butt backward. Allow dumbbells to trace along front of legs. Once they pass the knees, do not allow butt to sink farther.
B. Inhale to push through heels and drive hips forward while straightening knees to return to standng.
Do 15 reps.