The Bend and *Snap* – Hip Hinge guide

“Hinge”
A central or pivotal point or principle on which everything depends

We’ve all been there, wasting time watching some guy in front of us with $15 of hair gel in his $10 haircut demonstrate how to lift a 5 kg box.

Meanwhile, your back is killing you from sitting in the cheap chairs because your pelvis is curved so far underneath you if you stood up you would look like a question mark. This is not the strength curve you may have heard about FYI.

But what if this isn’t the chairs fault? What if a more comfortable life hinges on what Captain Hair Gel has been preaching…. Introducing the hip hinge!

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Forgotten art of the Hip Hinge

There is one extremely common trend I have noticed in many people I have coached or that I watch with a cringe on my face in the gym. People have completely forgotten how to use their hips, more specifically how to hip hinge. It’s as if the only possible way to pick something up or squat is to go on the balls of their feet and only bend their knees. If you do this you are going to have a really bad time and you probably already are. Some of these delightful little side effects can be; Weak and inactive glutes, tight piriformis, tight adductors, lower back pain, overloaded erectors and my personal favourite flat bum syndrome.

Do yourself a favour and try picking something off the ground while staying on your heels. If you’re comfortably able to do a deep squat, congratulations! You may load the bar with weight! (assuming your feet don’t look like a clock at 3)

For the rest of you who are sick of looking like a silhouette of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, it’s time to fix things.

The Answers you seek

Great news, this isn’t overly complicated or time-consuming. It will, however, require some diligence on your part, probably worth it though…. because back pain etc. Try these for 4 weeks prior to running, hiking or lifting, really whatever your active preference is. You should notice a more even distribution of force in your muscles during your chosen exercise.

3 point glute raise

Kneel down on the ground and rest your forearms on the ground in front of you. Making sure that your hands are under your chest.

Take your right leg straight behind you and flex your ankle so that the toes are pointing straight at the ground.

Now that you are in the starting position squeeze your right glute and raise the foot in the air without bending the knee joint. Lower back down so the foot hovers above the ground and repeat for 10 repetitions per side.

Figure 4 glute release

Sit on a medicine ball or foam roller so it’s under your right glute. Now with your left knee bent so that the foot is flat on the ground, place your right foot on your left thigh and roll in small circles. If it feels like someone kneed you in the butt you’ve done it right. Repeat until some tension has been relieved on both sides.

Banded RDL

Attach a resistance band around a fixed point and step inside it so that the band is around the beltline of your waist. Walk forward until there is enough tension that you feel like you’re toes are forced off the ground. Now stand with both feet hip width apart and feet pointing perfectly straight and your hands crossed over your chest.

Allowing the band to pull you back at the waist keep bending until your knees are forced to slightly bend and you feel a pull through the hamstrings. At this point, your chest should be in line with your toes, not 2 feet in front of them.

From this bottom position squeeze your hamstring and glutes using them to drag your upper body to a standing position. Repeat 10 times slowly.

Banded Hip flexor stretch

With the band attached to a fix point step your right leg inside so the band is around groin height and face away from the attached position. dropping into a lunge position with your banded leg at the back push your hips forward and keep your back straight. Hold the stretch for 90 seconds each side.

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Conclusion

By making this hinge movement an automatic and natural response of the body you have a wide array of things to look forward to including but not limited to- decreased lower back pain, improved balance, improved leg strength and the icing on the cake of course. Not being able to fit into skinny jeans.

On a serious note, this is one of the most important movements you can do for the health of your body and injury protection. Try it for 4 weeks and reap the rewards for life.

Written by Ben Bonafede