Ah, the hip hinge. The movement where you can go from a position of refined precision to looking like a shrivelled prawn within seconds!!
Poor form in this position can cause a damaging injury to the spine. Of course, this is exactly what you do not want as you will then be out of training for however long – no one likes that.
So, let’s get started on the bad technique and what NOT TO DO!!
As you can see in image below, this does not look safe nor does it look pretty.
The issues here are:
- locked out knees
- butt not pushed back
- no hip hinge
- all bending is done from the spine (shrivelled prawn look)
The stress that is on the back in this position is huge, even in this demo I could feel it!! Although not shown in the picture, if I was holding a bar it would be too far away from the centre of my gravity, which means even more load and stress on the lower back!!
Now, let’s get away from that shrivelled prawn look and show you exactly how it should look, using a very simple piece of household cleaning kit to help you practice at home.
Here, I have a small barbell from our studio but you can use a broomstick to do this or a golf club or rigid length of tubing.
The three points of contact you are looking to achieve are:
1. Back of head touching stick
2. Upper region of spine touching stick
3. Lower spine/top of butt touching stick
Hold with one hand a the top and other hand pressing into lower spine/butt area in place. Now from there, have a slight bend at the knees (soft knees cue from a coach).
From there you want to push your butt back as if you are initiating the bend at the hip just before you sit down on the loo (I know strange logic, trust me though it works).
Now slowly hinge the upper body over towards the floor, almost as if you are trying to get yourself level into a tabletop position.
As you perform the movement, you must keep all three points of contact throughout. Depending on hamstring and glute flexibility, some will be able to get lower than others. You will find your sweet spot because if you go too far then the bar will start to lift away from the lower spine/butt area.
We use the hip hinge moment in a lot of exercises so nailing this technique will help in so many ways in your training progress.
Some of those exercises:
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Kettlebell Swings
I hope this will give you a clearer look at the hip hinge movement.
Give it a try and if you’re looking for a 1-2-1 tutorial, don’t hesitate to grab me on the gym floor as I am always more than happy to help you lovely people out.