Just about every strength training article you read these days mentions the Deadlift, and for good reason—it works. It packs on muscle and strength in all the right places, helping athletes get the most out of their bodies.
A great Deadlift is built on a solid foundation of hip hinge drills. A Hip Hinge is the ability to use your hips to create posterior chain power, while sparing your lower back and preventing injury.
On the surface, the Hip Hinge seems simple enough. “Just push your butt back, right?” But in my experience coaching Hip Hinge, not everyone responds the same way. That’s why the basic hinge drills you see listed everywhere aren’t always adequate.
Learn how to fix the 10 most common Deadlift technique mistakes.
The following drills address specific issues many athletes have with the Hip Hinge. Try them. You will not only have a sweet-looking Deadlift, you’ll dominate on the field/court with newfound strength and power.
Hip Hinge Holding the Dowel Horizontally
Problem: You have trouble keeping your chest up.
Solution: Hip Hinge holding the dowel horizontal
When viewing a good Deadlift from the front, you should be able to see the logo on the front of the shirt. Holding the dowel vertically is often recommended. It works for some, but it doesn’t seem to be as intuitive as laying the dowel across the lower back and sitting back. It automatically keeps the chest up and creates an awareness for what that feels like. Check out the video above to see an example.
Half-Kneeling Hip Hinge
Problem: You have tight or stiff hip flexors.
Solution: Half-Kneeling Hip Hinge
If your hip flexors are overactive when you Deadlift, it can be difficult to keep a solid lower-back position and engage your anterior core. This drill puts you in a hinge position, with the added bonus of facilitating a great hip flexor stretch at the finish, giving you the best of both worlds.
Keep your ribs down and squeeze your glutes when you reach the finish, so you don’t “give in” to those tight hip flexors and go into excessive lumbar extension. Watch the video above for a demonstration.
Problem: Coming off a lower-back injury and needing to develop your hinge in a safe manner
Solution: Hip Thrust
For those who are not in 100 percent condition, I recommend the Hip Thrust. It puts you in a position where you are acting against gravity instead of the other way around, allowing you to pattern a proper hinge and train your posterior chain without aggravating your back.
They key with this is bracing your anterior core as you extend your hips, as if to protect against a punch in the stomach. Also, make sure your back doesn’t round when you reach the bottom each time. Video example in the playlist above.
RELATED: Master the Hip Hinge, Exercise’s Most Important Motion