For good functional mobility, every individual needs perfect a variety of movements.
The hip hinge is one of the most significant of these actions.
A powerful hip hinge necessitates optimal flexibility and muscular strength, and understanding this movement pattern can help you avoid injury and improve your athletic performance.
We rely on each other all of the time.
When we bend to pick something up off the floor, sit in a chair, or stand up from a chair, we are bending.
We do it so frequently that we frequently forget the critical aspects of this hip hinge movement and what it might accomplish for us.
Hip hinging is required for strength training movements such as the conventional deadlift, squat, and kettlebell swings.
It’s also a movement pattern that needs to be mastered and strengthened in the gym before moving on to any form of power training.
Failure to make progress in this direction is a surefire way to incur avoidable time-loss injuries.
What does the term “hinged” signify in terms of exercise?
In the field of Olympic weightlifting, a “hip hinge” exercise is one in which you bend forward.
With maximal hip mobility and little knee action it can be called as a hip hinge exercise.
A deadlift is another name for this exercise.
What is the Hip Hinge, and how does it work?
A hip hinge is a hinging movement that involves a posterior weight transfer and uses the posterior chain (the back half of the body) to drive hip flexion and extension.
The hamstring muscles and glutes, as well as the erector spinae, the rhomboids, and the core muscles for stabilizing the upper body, are all engaged in the movement pattern.
Performing a Hip Hinge
Start by standing with a barbell or dowel clutched at shoulder width and your feet hip-width apart, knees stacked over your ankles. Drive the knees out and screw the feet into the floor.
This is a complex move that works the glutes from start to finish.
Engage the core muscles to brace and bend from the hip joint to push the glutes posteriorly, with the shoulder blades down and packed and a neutral head and thoracic spine.
Maintain a tiny bend in your knees, aiming to keep your shins as upright as possible.
Continue until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, making sure your lumbar spine is neutral and supported by your core muscles.
The stretch in the hamstrings signals maximum flexion of the hip flexors in a basic hip hinge, and the body moves as one unit, like the mouth of a Pac-man.
The knees, hips, and shoulders are seen in the lateral floor-up view of the hinge at the end point. This is a squat, not a hinge, if the butt is below the knees.
To complete the hip hinge sequence, squeeze the glutes and commence hip extension until you reach the neutral start position. Refrain from hyperextending your hips forward.
Instead, simply squeeze your glutes. Use a dowel held with one hand behind the neck and the other below the buttocks to help someone maintain a neutral thoracic or lumbar spine.
Throughout the range of motion, the dowel should rest directly on the spine and maintain contact with the back of the head, thoracic spine, and tailbone.
Having issues with your hip hinge?
A hip hinge movement pattern might be harmed by a variety of factors.
Muscle imbalances caused by injury, repetitive action, or poor posture will inevitably reduce flexibility and range of motion.
Second, stiff hip flexors are frequently ignored as a source of hip movement dysfunction.
People who sit for long periods of time or who are in a constant state of hip flexion should focus on flexibility training to expand the hip flexors, stretch the quadriceps, and open the hip joint to its full range of motion.
Third, the hips’ lack of flexibility spreads to the hamstrings and glutes.
Poor hip and spine mobility, as well as knee and back pain, are frequently caused by tightness in the hamstrings and glutes.
How to Improve Your Hip Hinge
It’s easy to comprehend how to improve and even perfect the hip hinge movement when you know what can impede it.
The flexibility factor is the initial stage, as it is with corrective exercise techniques.
The range of motion in a joint or sequence of joints is referred to as flexibility.
Flexibility is determined by the length and elasticity of the body’s muscles, and it is unique to each individual.
Because muscle fiber elasticity decreases as we age, flexibility exercise becomes even more vital to avoid movement disorders.
Stretching overactive muscles is necessary to achieve the ideal fiber tension and length for movement. Stretches like the runner’s lunge and the prone cobra stretch can help to loosen up tight hip flexors.
SMR (self-myofascial release) is also a good way to cope with hyperactive muscles.
Autogenic inhibition is used in SMR to relax tissues that generate adhesions.
Knots are targeted with tools like foam rollers, fascia wands, and mobility balls.
For anyone with an established anterior tilt in the pelvis or tightness through the hips and knees, utilize SMR on the hip flexors, adductors, tensor fascia latae (TFL), quadriceps, and the Iliotibial Band (IT band).
Opposing muscles on the other side of SMR are often weaker or underactive muscles.
The glutes, hamstrings, piriformis, and core muscles will all need to be strengthened.
Exercises that strengthen the posterior chain include hip bridges, hamstring curls, and step ups.
Perfecting a plank is also important for good posture and injury avoidance, as well as the hip hinge!
Beginner’s Proper Hip Hinge Exercises
You should do some hip hinge exercises for beginners before going to the gym and picking up a barbell.
These exercises will help you strengthen your lumbar spine and polish your motion.
1. Dowel-Hinged Hip Hinge
A dowel is frequently used by functional movement specialists and skilled trainers to test and teach the hip hinge movement pattern.
This strategy helps lifters become aware of any compensations as they hinge by creating a palpable link.
How to do it:
- Hold a dowel in your hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re doing hip hinge workouts at home, a broomstick will suffice. Place the dowel behind your back, with the spine aligned.
- The top of the dowel should be held against the back of your head. Grip the dowel at the base of your spine with your other hand such that the back of your hand touches your lower back. This is where you’ll begin.
- Exhale as you lift your hips downward and put your weight to your heels, bracing your core. Only allow a small amount of movement in your knees.
- Allow your body to bend in half toward the floor while your hips slide back. The dowel should remain in contact with your head as you move, and your hand should remain in contact with your lower back. Correct your posture and make a note of your compensation if your back starts to round.
- Between being upright and completely parallel, take a brief pause. Slowly reverse the movement while maintaining the same level of contact with the dowel. As you stand straight, squeeze your glutes to engage the posterior chain.
- As part of your warm-up, repeat this exercise on a regular basis. When lifting weights, the more you practice correcting your form with the dowel, the better your muscle memory will become.
2. Dead Bugs
The connection between your core, hips, and posterior chain is improved with this surprisingly difficult core workout.
During hip hinge exercises, the floor functions as a guideline to prevent the anterior tilt that causes the low back to bend.
How to do it:
- Lie down on your back on the floor, arms extended overhead and legs extended.
- Tilt your pelvis and engage your core so that your lower back is flush against the ground. This is how it should be for the duration of the movement.
- Bend your knees and raise your legs to the point where your calves are parallel to the ground. Raise your arms so that they are perpendicular to your body and facing the ceiling. This is where you’ll begin.
- Slowly lower and extend your right arm and left leg while taking a breath. Hover one inch off the ground for three seconds before slowly returning to your starting position.
- Rep with the right leg and left arm. That counts as one rep.
- This core and hip engagement workout requires slow and controlled movement. Keep your lower back neutral and flush to the floor as you move through the range of motion.
3. Cat-Cow Dynamism
Another great bodyweight hip hinge exercise is the dynamic cat-cow, which helps you become more conscious of your lumbar spine position while practicing the hinge motion.
How to do it:
- Place your hands beneath your shoulders and knees hip-width apart in a quadruped stance on the floor.
- Allow your chin to fall to your chest while bracing your core and rounding your shoulder blades. During this part of the activity, concentrate on stretching your cervical spine.
- Allow your hips to hinge back until you’re sitting on your legs. With your pelvis tucked, your lumbar spine should remain neutral.
- Allow your lumbar spine to sag and shoulder blades to pinch together as you return to quadruped. Look ahead, lifting your chin from your chest.
- For 30 seconds to one minute, repeat the motion in a calm, controlled pace.
- The purpose of this exercise is to improve movement control and body awareness. The reduced hip hinge can also aid in the development of lumbar spine control while moving backward.
Importance Of Hinging Exercises
Following flexibility, SMR, and strengthening, practicing the hip hinge is the next step in the process of perfecting it.
With no additional weight, adding a dowel down the back throughout the action will assist the lifter in maintaining a neutral head, neck, and spine throughout the exercise.
The unloaded hip hinge can also be done in front of a wall with the goal of stretching the hamstrings by moving the glues back far enough to touch the wall.
The heels should be about 10 to 12 inches in front of a wall and facing away to begin this variation.
There are exercises that may be completed when resistance is introduced to master the range of motion.
A good example is the Romanian deadlift.
The Romanian deadlift (RDL) is similar to a straight-leg deadlift, but it necessitates a small knee bend similar to the hip hinge form. The eccentric phase of the movement—that is, the way down to the ground—is emphasized in the RDL, which is often an undertrained aspect of the deadlift.
Instead of regulating the movement down, most athletes or lifters will let gravity bring the bar to the floor and let it bounce to start the concentric contraction.
Some lifters may move from a single-leg hip hinge to a double-leg hip hinge.
The mechanics of the single-leg hinge are the same, and the hips and torso must remain square to the floor throughout the movement.
Of course, before adding load unilaterally or bilaterally, the movement should be learned on both legs (since one side is always stronger than the other!).
The hip hinge action involves a variety of factors.
Before strengthening a hip hinge and all the movements that stem from it, it’s critical to figure out what deficiencies someone has that are keeping them from having a full range of motion and flexibility.
Remember that structural and severe limitations will necessitate a referral to a physical therapist or orthopedic specialist for physical therapy.
This basic movement, on the other hand, is an essential stepping stone to more dynamic power, speed, and agility motions for sport and a healthy and functional existence.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The Kettlebell Swing is an example of an explosive hinge workout.
The Hip Hinge action is used in the Kettlebell swing to enhance muscle strength and power.
The hip hinge effectively limits the entire system’s mobility capability by directing all flexion and extension through the hip joint.
The idea is to keep the spine in a neutral position during the action.
The Core’s job is to protect the spine from all external stresses.
Hinge: Practicing and improving your hip hinge can help you perform and last longer in lower-body activities including squats, lunges, stepping, and climbing variations. An active plank with shoulder girdle depression and retraction, generating movement from the hips, is a good hinge.