Hinge at the hips.

Everyone’s heard of a squat. Not everyone has heard of a hip hinge.

But the hip hinge is the pattern behind the deadlift, the kettlebell swing… hell, it’s the pattern behind bending over and lifting something off the floor.

In a hip hinge, you bend at your hip crease, sending your butt straight back behind you. You maintain a neutral spine and load up the glutes and hamstrings.

In contrast to a squat:

– The hip hinge is butt back- not butt down.
– Your torso leans forward more.
– Shins stay vertical
– The work is focused in the glutes and hams

Try these three drills to learn, or tune up, your hip hinge:

1) Practice sending your butt back: Tap your butt to the wall behind you:

Stand a few inches from a wall, and simply reach back to tap the wall with your butt. Start close to the wall, slowly increase your distance.

As you reach back, you should feel your hamstrings and glutes “load” or generate tension. Your weight should be distributed in your mid-foot.

2) Practice keeping a neutral spine: Hinge with a dowel:

Hold a dowel behind your back, with your hands placed in the small of your back and behind your neck. As you hinge back, maintain three points of contact: tail bone, upper back and back of head. If the dowel loses contact, you’ve lost your neutral spine.

3) Practice keeping your shins vertical: Hinge in front of a chair:

Send your butt back towards the wall behind you, while preventing your knees from driving forward. If your shins hit the chair, you’ve lost your vertical shin.

Practice each drill to work on a particular aspect of the hinge.

Once you’ve mastered a bodyweight hinge, you can apply the pattern to loaded movements like a deadlift. The same principles apply. Make sure in the lowered position, you’re loaded your butt and hamstrings, not your low back.

In case you’re curious, I often cue an inhale to get the butt back and exhale + contract glutes to stand.

Try these tips and report back!

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