The hinge is the most challenge movement pattern within resistance training. So well done for working on your technique, if you are reading this article you’re moving in the right direction. In this article I will walk you through exercises you can use to improve your hinge. It will consist of exercises from beginners to advanced individuals. Remember, build great positions from the beginner, then you will not have to take backward steps in the future.
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The hip hinge is a movement pattern within resistance training. It consists of a large variety of exercises, the most well known being the deadlift and the kettlebell swing. The movement pattern consists of a hinge at the hips. Think of a hinge joint, like the knee, and we can see why it is called a hip hinge. The lower back stays straight throughout, better yet there is an arch in the lower back, meaning the muscles of the back are protecting the spinal column. Here is an example hinge movement, the prisoner good morning.
Practice. We need to learn to find the correct positioning and then practice doing it correctly for an extended period of time until we are proficient at it. There are a huge variety of hinge exercises with a large gradation if difficulty. This means that we can start getting stronger in the most basic form of hinge exercises while we are still improving our skill level on more technically challenging exercises. If you would prefer to read about learning to hip hinge for beginners , then I suggest you read my article on this topic.
The Pelvic Tilt is absolutely crucial for hinge positioning. It allows us to create an arch in the lower back. This arch will allow us to successfully maintain lower back positioning throughout the movement. The first exercise I do with clients when we are learning to hinge is the pelvic tilt. Unfortunately we do not have the pelvic tilt in our movement library yet, so if you need to see it to understand it, watch this .
The pelvic tilt involves tilting the pelvis in either an anterior or posterior (front and back) direction. To make this easier to understand, lie on the floor and press the lower back into the floor, this will create a posterior pelvic tilt. Then lift your belly button towards the ceiling, lifting your lower back from the floor therefore creating an anterior posterior pelvic tilt. The hinge is performed with a anterior pelvic tilt. To hinge correctly you’re going to need to learn how to perform this correctly, the pelvic tilt dill can be a great warm up for beginners learning to hinge.
Once you have mastered the pelvic tilt, we can add a little more complexity by moving through the hinge position with an external cue using the wall touch. This is a brilliant exercise to help people understand how to hinge without over complicating the explanation. It involves taking a small step away from the wall, bending the knees and hips slightly, then moving the chest to the floor while the hips move back and touch the wall. Beginners will often get it wrong, they will need to be cued until they can perform it correctly.
The seated good morning is a good drill to isolate the hip hinge as it takes away the knees from the equation. It requires a great deal of concentration to just hinge at the hips and nothing else, so it can help with the initiation of the hinge movement. It is crucial that the feet are wide enough, otherwise you will have no space too hinge into and the lower back will round. This will encourage poor positions, so make sure you’re building good positions from the beginning.
The single leg straight leg deadlift with wall support is a great exercise to use with intermediate individuals who have already learnt a technically proficient bilateral hinge that might still need some work. This is a challenging single leg variation but by far from the most difficult, so its a great building block to learn to keep the hips in line whilst moving through a uni-lateral hinge. Start with bodyweight or very light weights until it can be performed with good technique.
Finally, the single leg straight leg deadlift is the kind of exercise that an advanced individual can use to improve their hinge capabilities. It requires balance, stability, skill and strength all of which will result in a very technically proficient hinge ability. The bodyweight variation can be used initially, then weight can be added progressively. If you struggle maintain a tight hinge position while deadlift, using exercises such as this can be very beneficial.
Using your warm up for technical work and skill repetition is what I do with all of my clients. It can help you put attention on moving successfully through the hinge position without any load. This goes for any other movement pattern, but the hinge is the most important to warm up technically. If you have any questions about how to build successful hinge positioning feel free to reach out to email@example.com.
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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.