Exercise Progressions to Master Your Hip Hinge

Before beginners get too involved in adding external loads to their exercises, they need to master proper form of the fundamental movement patterns first. One of the most notorious movement patterns for newbies is the hip hinge.

No matter your training goals: body fat loss, muscle building, athletic performance, and strength building or to simply remain healthy for day-to-day life, the hip hinge should be an essential exercise in your training program. Improving movement and support in the hips helps strengthen the posterior chain. For those that don’t know the posterior chain consists of the muscles groups on the backside of your body consisting of your calves, hamstrings, glutes and your spinal erectors.

By getting the hips right first, not only will you become a better athlete but you may just develop that perky booty you've always wanted!

As responsible coaches dedicated to your development, we follow a prescribed progression to teach our clients correct hip hinge movement. Check it out:

1. Broomstick RDL

Just the basics.

● Set up with heels 1-2 feet away from a wall

● Hold a dowel rod or stick so that you maintain 3 points of contact – back of head, upper back in between shoulder blades and tailbone.

● Keep your core braced and ribs down, slowly push your hips back towards the wall making sure to keep the 3 points of contact with the dowel rod.

● As you sit back, bend your knees slightly.

● Chin should remain tucked throughout the whole movement.

● Stand up tall, squeeze your glutes and quads to finish the movement

2. Sternum Hip Hinge

It’s time to start adding load to the movement...

● Holding a DB or KB against your sternum all the key coaching cues from the previous variation remain the same.

● Ensure you maintain a neutral spine with chin tucked.

● Sit back by bending at your hips and slightly bending your knees.

● Shift the weight back on your heels as this will allow you to recruit the hamstrings and glutes more effectively. Go to the point where you feel a stretch through the back of the legs before returning to the start position.

3. Cable Pull-Through

The penultimate Deadlift move.

The Cable Pull-through is an excellent follow-up movement from the sternum hip hinge, as it allows you to gradually add appreciable load to the exercise, while providing minimal spinal loading. Once a client has a firm handle on this movement, it’s time to get Deadlift serious with some Romanian Deadlifts (RDL’s).

4. BB Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

The Romanian Deadlift is the final exercise progression to mastering the hinge before moving onto their more advanced predecessors the sumo deadlift and conventional deadlift.. To master the RDL, The key coaching cues are as follows:

● Set up with feet slightly wider than hip width apart

● Keep core braced and ribs down, push your hips back whilst pushing the bar against your thighs. Don’t allow the bar to leave your thighs as this will cause the weight to shift forward. Not what we want as this will cause unwanted strain on your lower back.

● As you sit back make sure you bend your knees slightly.

● Go down far enough so that your feel a stretch through your hamstrings whilst still maintaining a neutral spine.

● Return to the start position by squeezing your glutes and quads to extend the hips.

Click the video below for a detailed instructional video on how to perform the RDL.

You might be tempted to tackle Deadlifts right now, without working through our progression: but don’t be impatient. After mastering these fundamental hip hinge progressions at your own pace, you’ll make it easy on yourself to progress to more advanced Deadlift variations.

With just a little bit of planning and careful progression, you’ll be deadlifting like a champ, building your strength, and staying in peak physical condition!

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