The hip hinge is a key part of your movement repertoire. It’s also the one that most people don’t do nearly enough of, and often, the one that is most poorly performed.
Many of the big “bang for your buck” exercises have the hinge as their basis. Most deadlifts, the KB swing and the glute bridge variations are all hinge based.
Where you go wrong
Too much knee bend
The hinge is not a squat. That should be in big bold letters in most gyms across the land. The difference between a squat and hinge is one of the keys to mastering both. The squat has maximal hip and knee bend, the hinge on the other hand, has maximal hip bend and minimal knee bend.
Hinging at your low back instead of your hips
Your spine connects to your hips at the SI joint, this, along with your lumbar spine, is supposed to be stable and isn’t supposed to be where you get your movement from. Remembering you hinge where your thighs connect to your hips helps you find the right position. Pushing your hips back and maintaining a neutral low back position is important.
3 drills to help
The stick drill
Holding a broomstick or PVC pipe behind your back so you make contact at the back of your head, upper back and tailbone, push your hips back into the hinge position. By maintaining contact at these three points, you have to hinge correctly – from the hips!
If you round your back, either at the thoracic or lumbar positions (upper or lower back), you lose contact. If you don’t allow adequate knee bend, then you tip forward and lose your balance. And if you don’t let go of the pipe as you go, your face is going to take a beating from the floor.
The wall drill
In this drill, stand in a tall position about 6 inches in front of a wall. Chest up, ribs locked down and your shoulder blades pulled back and down. (This is the same position you’ll find in the stick drill above when you hold the stick behind your back with both hands low down).
Now push your hips back till your butt just touches the wall. Stand back up tall and shuffle forward a couple of inches. Repeat the process of pushing your hips back to the wall and standing tall, then move further forward till you can no longer reach the wall. Allow your knees to bend only enough to let your hips travel, you should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings at the bottom position.
The front-loaded good morning
The front-loaded good morning is a great drill to add load and get a better feel for the movement. The anterior loading helps you get your abs “on” and help you feel the necessary weight shift towards your heels.
- Keep the weight high on your chest, this means keep your elbows up.
- Push your butt back to get the hinge.
- Shift your weight back towards your heels, and get a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
- Don’t fall forwards…
Give these a try if are struggling with getting to grips with the hinge movements.