Chain Gang

Strengthen your posterior chain for a bigger, stronger body.

It’s too easy to focus training time on the muscles you see every day in the mirror. After all, you’re bound to notice each small change in how these muscles look and that helps you maintain motivation to keep working them. But doing so will limit how ripped you’ll be able to get — and can be dangerous.

“Neglecting the muscles that run down the back of your body from neck to ankle — known as your posterior chain — in favour of the “mirror muscles” will lead to muscular imbalances and injury, while at the same time preventing all muscles from reaching their maximum mass,” says trainer Nick Mitchell. ‘This workout will rectify this imbalance and set you on your way.”

Nick Mitchell is the founder of personal training company Ultimate Performance ( He’s advised pro bodybuilders, rugby league players, boxers and Premier League soccer coaches.  Here he shares the expertise that has made him one of the world’s foremost body composition experts.

I’ve been told tempo is a key component of a workout — why is this and what’s the ideal tempo to use?

Tempo, or the time you take to lift and lower each rep, dictates the amount of tension that you put the target muscle under. The duration for which your muscles are under tension is a key factor in determining the type of stimulus you’re subjecting your muscles to.

If each set lasts less than 20 seconds, you’re training for strength; 20-40 seconds results in a balance of strength and muscle building; 40-70 seconds is pure muscle building; while over 70 seconds is pure endurance.

Using the correct tempo and eliminating momentum on each rep also ensures your muscles, rather than momentum, are responsible for moving the weight.


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