The MOVE by BJC Blog


Mastering the Hip Hinge

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Everyone performs some type of hinge throughout their everyday lives. This is a movement we should know how to perform correctly. Whether we are bending over to pick something up, sitting down to use the restroom, or closing the car door when we are trying to bring all the groceries inside in one trip, we are performing a hinge.

Despite how common this movement is, most people don’t perform it correctly. Given that it is a functional movement, the gym is the ideal place to perfect it.

The Hip Hinge is flexion or extension originating at the hips that involves a posterior weight shift. As you perform this movement, you maintain a neutral spine and bend at the hips with a slight bend in the knees. There are multiple progressions you can work through to master this movement. The progression of cable pull throughs, hinging to a wall, Romanian dead lifts (RDLs) and kettlebell swings is what I prefer to use when teaching new clients this movement. We then conclude with the deadlift, after the client has learned how to properly hinge. By being able to properly execute the hinge, it will allow you to be efficient at deadlifting, and able to pull more weight off of the ground.

Cable Pull Through:

  1. Begin standing a few feet in front of a low pulley with a rope attached. Face away from the machine, straddling the cable, with your feet set shoulder width apart.
  2. Begin the movement by reaching through your legs as far as possible, bending at the hips. Keep your knees slightly bent. Keeping your arms straight, extend through the hip to stand straight up. Avoid pulling upward through the shoulders; all of the motion should originate through the hips

Hinging to a Wall:

  1. Begin standing slightly away from the wall. Face away from the wall, with your feet set shoulder width apart. You can hold a medicine ball behind your head to remember to keep shoulders back and chest up.
  2. Begin the movement by shifting your weight into your heels and reaching your butt back trying to touch the wall. Keep your knees slightly bent. Keep shoulders back and your chest up. Extend through the hips to stand straight up.

RDLs:

  1. To begin the movement, stand with feet shoulder width apart, using dumbbells, or a barbell. Let the barbell or dumbbells ride down your legs, shifting the weight into your heels, and reaching your butt back as if you were trying to touch the wall behind you.
  2. Keep your knees slightly bent, shoulders back and chest up. Extend through the hips to stand straight up.

Kettlebell Swing:

  1. Begin by hinging at the waist to grab the kettlebell with both hands, palms facing you. Pull shoulders down and back and engage your core before starting the back swing.
  2. Start the back swing by letting the kettlebell swing between your legs. There will be a slight bend in the knees. Keeping your weight through the heels, swing forward by engaging the posterior chain and throwing your hips forward and bringing them to neutral.

Deadlift:

  1. Standing with feet shoulder width apart, bar should touch the shins. Shoulders are back, lats engaged and eyes forward. All levers should be tight.
  2. Driving heels through the floor, pull from the hamstrings as knees and hips move at the same rate. Keep the bar close and stand straight up to neutral.

If you’ve been performing any of these more advance movements without properly knowing how to hinge, then you’ve put yourself in a position to get injured. By learning the hinge in its simplest form, you can then move safely and efficiently during the more complex and dynamic movements and pick up heavier weight off the ground. Because the hinge can be difficult to grasp, do not be afraid to back off and start at the beginning of the progression laid out above. A lot of power can be created through the hips, and if you learn how to move correctly, it can not only make it easier for you in the gym but also in everyday life.

- Dennis Forrest