SESSION NOTES: Posterior Chain Strength and Stamina (594)

Complete three rounds of the following not for time. Rest 45 seconds after each exercise.

  • 6x Nordic hamstring lower (knee angle fixed).
  • 60 second heavy walking prowler push.
  • 10x Good mornings (preferably banded) with band around knees.
  • 20x Single leg reverse hyper (or hip extension). 10L, 10R.
Programming Science:

This session contains four elements, each a form of accessory work designed to increase strength and stamina through the posterior chain (including the hamstrings, gluteals and lower back).

This is a session that is programmed only for people with posterior chain strength as a weakness. There is some muscle group isolation which is not a time efficient training methodology, unless this is a major weakness.

The Nordic Hamstring Lower is an example of ‘accentuated eccentric training’ – a form of eccentric training where the load lowered is more than the load lifted. This adds positive stress on the body in the phase of the lift that will give us the most benefit. Accentuated Eccentric Loading delivers superior results to strength, power and hypertrophy (muscle size) over any other eccentric training method studied.

In addition to the eccentric work, there is a lower back dominant movement, a hip dominant movement, and a more concentric-based posterior chain dominant prowler movement.

The combination of both unilateral (single leg) and bilateral (double leg) work ensures that this session builds balance and stability (particularly pelvic stability), as well as strength.

The 45 second rests mean that there is enough time to refocus on the following movement, but not enough for full recovery. This allows overload as the session progresses.

Health and Body Composition Benefits:

Eccentric training has wide reaching benefits to your health and body composition – with the benefits even broader than standard resistance training.

Eccentric training results in stronger connective tissue (ligaments and tendons) and increased flexibility by changing the mechanics of a muscle (increasing the sarcomeres in series).

These changes in the mechanics and organisation of muscle fibres, also mean eccentric training is a great rehabilitation tool – not only to help promote the repair and recovery of soft tissue (particularly tendon) injury, but also to reduce the risk of future injury.

The single leg movements in this session will help to correct muscle imbalances which may lead to long term injury and dysfunction.

Resistance training (using your muscles to lift heavy weights, either external weights or yourself) makes you stronger. Strength is one of the greatest predictors of both your lifespan (how long you live) and your healthspan (how long you live in a healthy state).

Resistance training like this will also improve your flexibility (by going through a full range of motion), posture and coordination. It will also build stability around your joints and spine to give you a healthy musculo-skeletal system and reduce joint and back pain.

As a result of this style of session, you will experience changes in blood chemistry, including favourable effects on cholesterol, blood glucose, triglyceride and lipid levels.

This session increases your lean muscle mass and muscle fibre size. The increased muscle damage (which is a positive) from eccentric training will create a greater muscle-building response that standard resistance training. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, so increasing it will maximise how much energy your body burns at rest. This makes it an effective session to reach healthy levels of body fat, both visceral fat (around the organs) and subcutaneous fat (under your skin).

Performance Benefits:

The heavy levels of resistance in this session are designed to increase your strength – increasing both your one rep max, and your ability to lift submaximal weights. By being stronger, you can lift more weight, and you will be able to lift submaximal weights faster and for higher reps because they’ll be at a lower percentage of your max.

This is particularly applicable to posterior chain dominant movements, like deadlifts and back squats, and elements of the Olympic lifts.

The research is virtually unanimous in heaping praise on ‘eccentric’ training (sometimes called ‘negatives’). This style of training shows strength gains in excess of 10% over traditional methods, and results in great hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Not only is eccentric training superior to regular strength training, but the use of accentuated eccentric loading delivers superior results to strength, power and hypertrophy (muscle size) over any other eccentric training method studied.

Not only are we able to generate more force after eccentric training, but we are also able to generate it over a greater variance in muscle lengths. Effectively, what this does is to make us stronger over a greater range of motion, increasing our muscles’ torque generating ability. Therefore, less sticking points, less failures on heavy lifts.

This session will also improve the efficiency of your fast-twitch muscle fibres (those responsible for lifting heavy and fast), and will improve your neuromuscular efficiency (your ability to turn on a very high percentage of your muscle fibres).

The combination of both unilateral (single leg) and bilateral (double leg) work ensures that this session builds balance and stability (particularly pelvic stability), as well as strength.


The main focus in this session should be on achieving full range of motion on all movements, with high movement quality.

How it Should Feel:

This session should be very hamstring, lower back and gluteal heavy. Fatigue through the posterior chain should be also immediate after the first few exercises.

Scaling Guidelines:

The preference with scaling for this is to keep the range of motion and reduce weight. Modify around injuries with exercises as close as possible to the stimulus of the movement you’re modifying.

Common Mistakes:

As this session is designed for individuals with a weak posterior chain, there is a tendency to lose a neutral spine position, to recruit other muscle groups, or to lose the focus on stability.

Discipline is required to maintain the required positions.

On the prowler exercise, the focus should be on the posterior chain, so aim to ‘pull’ the feet along the floor, squeezing the glutes with every step.