The hip hinge is one of the most common human movements, in fact the average person hinges around 3500 times per day. The majority of this happens outside of the gym, while performing daily activities such as tying your shoes or picking up your child. Unfortunately most of us don't pay much attention to the positions that our bodies are in during these movements and that's when injuries often occur most.
Hinging is the basis of almost every "Athletic or Power" movement, from deadlifts, kettlebell swings, jumps, cleans, and snatches. It is a full body compound movement. When done correctly it utilizes most muscle groups in the body, however the primary movers are "the Hamstrings", which are comprised of three different muscles (Biceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus) as well as "the Glutes", which are also comprised of three main muscles (Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Minimus). These muscles along with the erectors of the back work together to provide a solid base, used for pulling and stabilizing during proper hinge movements. This musculature is often referred to as the "Posterior Chain". When performing a hip hinge of any type, we should be checking in with the body to make sure that the spine is in a neutral position, the toes are gripping the ground, the core is braced and rigid, the lats are engaged, and the shoulders are pulled back and down.
By training your hinge with a variety of loading techniques and utilizing different movement planes, we prepare the brain to create neurological connections that you will be able to apply to everyday life. Here are some of our favorite ways to teach/train the hinge:
The Wall Drill: Start by standing a few inches from a wall, facing away from it. Now try to tap your glutes to the wall. To do this you will have to initiate this movement by sending your hips back and allowing a slight bend in your knees. Perform this for a few repetitions and when comfortable, inch a little further away from the wall and repeat.
The PVC Drill: Place a PVC pipe or broomstick along your back so there are three points of contact: the back of your head, the upper back (thoracic spine) , and the sacrum. From there, with your feet hip to shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward, sit the hips back, all the while maintaining contact at the three points. Perform over a few sets. We recommend performing this drill daily, or as often as you can fit it into your schedule.
The feedback is direct and unmistakable.
Building the posterior chain properly will limit pain and and allow for maximal strength gain and injury prevention. The road to retraining your brain and body to properly hinge is filled with obstacles, one of which is overcoming the neural connections made by improper hinging created over a lifetime. To do this we practice good form and proper loading daily. whether you are utilizing the PVC drills provided or unloading groceries from the car, practice always makes perfect.