Ah, the hip hinge. This magical movement pattern serves as foundation for many of our lifting techniques, and yet, it is often performed incorrectly. This leads to squatty-looking Deadlifts and Kettlebell Swings, which unfortunately significantly reduces the load to the all-important posterior chain. So what can we do about it?
“When in doubt, stick your bottom out.” This is one of my favorite phrases to share with patients and clients who are learning the concept of a hip hinge for the first time. This reinforces that motion should be initiated by flexion at the HIPS, not at the KNEES (take it from Shakira, the hips don’t lie).
One of the main differences between a hip hinge and a squat is the amount of knee flexion at the end of the motion, and establishing that this should be a HIP DOMINANT movement pattern from the start may reduce future headaches.
Along with verbal cues, hands-on cuing can be extremely helpful. Try this: take your fingers and poke them directly into your hip crease (right below those boney bumps in the front of your hip). Push your fingers backwards, and let your hips bend. Boom, hip hinge. When this cuing doesn’t work, I typically bust out an arsenal of various other techniques. The following are some of my go-to favorites:
Once your athlete has perfected these basic movements, increase the complexity of the exercise by adding an external load (e.g., kettlebell, hex bar, straight bar, etc). Continue to have the focus be on their technique as you increase in weight, and don’t forget, it’s all in the hips.
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