The hip hinge is one of the foundational movement patterns everyone should learn how to do. The hip hinge protects and strengthens your lower back, strengthens your lower body musculature (a plumper butt, anyone?), increases core stability (core strength), hip mobility (range of motion), and hamstrings flexibility. And let’s admit it, majority of us have super tight hamstrings and we use our lower back more than we realize.
What is the ‘functional use’ of a hip hinge? we hip hinge when we want to pick up something off the floor; a basket of laundry, your 2-year-old child, or a heavy box, would all fit the bill. So, we should be hip hinging pretty much on a regular basis; problem is, majority of us never learned how. Moreover, we got used to our lower back muscles taking up the slack when our glutes, hamstrings, and quads aren’t working as they should; thus increasing our risk of low back injuries and disfunction.
How to hip hinge?
1.Stand tall and assume a shoulder width stance
2.Keep your neck in a neutral positioning
3.Shoulders in line with ears
4.Ribs down; brace your core
5.Lower back is neural=flat
6.maintain a tripod foot
Starting movement: push your hips back (‘break at the hips’) and pretend like you have a rope around your waist that is pulling you backward; knees slightly bent but keep shins vertical to floor; knees are aligned with mid toes (don't let them cave in or out); put your weight on your heels and mid foot= maintain tripod feet.
You should be feeling a stretch in your butt and the back of your thighs.
Finishing movement: squeeze your butt cheeks (glutes), posteriorly tilt your pelvis (show me how), and push your hips forward.
You should be feeling some contraction at the lower abs and a big contraction in glutes.
When I teach the hip hinge to clients, I use a dowel; watch this video to learn how.
1. Lower back doesn’t stay flat throughout the movement. You’re either excessively arching or flexing your lower back.
2. No pelvic tilt/ full hip extension at the end of each rep.
3. You’re extending and locking your knees and as a result your shins aren’t vertical to floor
4. You’re pushing your front thighs (quads) forward instead of pushing your hips back (this can be helpful).
5. Your stance is too wide, resulting in your knees to cave in.
6. You’re not maintaining a firm base at the feet= tripod foot.
7. You’re not feeling the stretch of the glutes and hamstrings on the first part of the exercise, and your glutes contacting on the second part.
8. You’re flaring your ribs up.
9. You’re extending your neck.
10. You’re squatting down and lowering your hips instead of hip hinging back and keeping your hips high.
Once you've mastered the hip hinge pattern, you can progress to the deadlift exercise and start using resistance. Remember, quality form is everything.