In order to perform a hip hinge with excellent technique, through the full range of motion, good levels of hip mobility are required. Individuals with very tight hips and hamstrings can find the hinge movements almost impossible to perform with good technique due to their lack of movement capabilities. Hence why working on your hinging mobility will can be highly beneficial. Even if you already have a decent base of mobility but are looking to improve it further to increase the depth of your hinge, it can be highly beneficial.
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Warm ups are on of the best ways to consistently be improving upon your mobility and movement proficiency. Adding one of the exercises in with list into your warm up for your next hinge session could be a very time efficient way to improve your mobility without adding any extra work.
Another way to ensure work gets done during your current training time is to work on your mobility and movement capacity between sets. This could mean performing these exercises between sets of your upper body work. I would avoid mixing mobility and strength at the same time, say doing these styles of exercises between heavy sets of hinges.
Morning moves are a good way to get the body moving in the morning, to wake up into your day but also to improve upon any current mobility restrictions. These normally consist of 2-3 light exercises that target different parts of the body performed for 2-3 rounds. They only take 5-10 minutes but can be a great addition to your day. Below is a sample morning move that includes an exercises that aims to improve hinge mobility capabilities.
Complete 2 rounds
Mobility is important for any movement pattern. The goal with any movement pattern in resistance training is to move through the movement pattern without any restrictions, in order to develop the muscle evenly. During the hinge, it is particularly important to emphasise the importance of mobility in the hips, lower back and hamstrings. This is because exercises like deadlifts require good levels of mobility in order to be performed correctly. When picking something off the floor (like a deadlift), if we want to maintain a neutral spine there needs to be a prerequisite of good mobility because the start positioning is challenging in of itself.
Gaining in mobility is not like improvements in the cardiovascular system. They take time and patience. Accepting this will be the first step to creating long term change in your mobility as it will allow you to stay motivated whilst you methodically chip away at improving your mobility and movement capabilities.
A good way to work around poor mobility is to shorten the range of motion to a point that the exercise can be performed with good technique. This can mean raising a KB on plates in order to shorten the range of motion, or raising the barbell on a conventional deadlift. This shortening of the range of motion puts less challenge on the mobility and allows you to focus on your technique. Using this technique you can slowly but surely make the range of motion longer and longer as you adapt to the range of motion.
Unilateral hinging for those who find hinging challenging due to mobility restrictions will likely be unable to perform unilateral hinging with technical precession. When an exercise cannot be performed well due to a mobility restriction it should not be performed at all as it will just instil poor movement patterns.
The sumo position or wide stance position is preferable for some individuals who have mobility restrictions as it requires less mobility in the hips to perform well. Using exercises like the wide stance DB straight leg deadlift is a great way to build strength in the hinge while you are concurrently developing your hinge mobility capabilities.
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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.