The Hinge & Why Most People Struggle with It

Let’s talk about the HINGE… and what I mean by that is one of the basic human movements, the hip hinge or bending at the waist. 


We are going to hit 3 points.

  1. What is the hip hinge
  2. Why you should be able to do it(properly). 
  3. How to improve it


Let’s start from the beginning, what is a hip hinge? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like… It’s bending/ hinging at the waist. An example, you bend over to pick something up off the floor, or to pet your cute little fur baby who’s been waiting for you to come home from a long day of work at the office. Other examples pertaining to exercise would be a deadlift, good morning, cable pull through, kettlebell swing, glute bridge/hip thrust; All hip hinge dominant exercises. To get fancy a hip hinge is a sagittal plane movement where the hips are the axis of rotation between a neutral lumbopelvic segment and a femur. But who wants to dive into all that?


Now that we know what a hip hinge is, why should we care? Why should we worry about it in our exercise and in our daily movements? Well, not only does hip hinging exercises target a great amount of the muscles on the posterior chain(back side of the body) it also teaches us to move our hip joints properly(which should be a mobile joint) and to brace our core in a position which we tend to pick things up in. Being able to do this movement properly can help us prevent injury and even give us more resilience to outside factors, like helping your friend move, or picking up your kids out of their car seats. Without even realizing it you are doing some form of hip hinging throughout the day and not even realize it. So, let’s talk about how to improve it.


To improve our hip hinge means we can improve a lot of routine movements we do throughout everyday life. These movements done correctly will help us long term in preventing injury and even help reduce our feeling of fatigue since the body will be working more optimally throughout the day. For this exercise all you need in a long stick or broom handle to place down your spine as illustrated in the cover photo.


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward. 
  2. Place the dowel vertically on your back. Grasp one end with your right hand in the natural curve of your neck and the other end with your left hand in the small of your back. Make sure the dowel is touching the back of your head, your upper back, and the area where your low back meets your butt (sacrum). 
  3. Shift your weight to your heels and push your hips back towards the wall behind you while you hinge forward at the hips. To get a better idea of how to do this, think about sticking your butt out behind you. As you hinge, the dowel should not lose contact with those three points. If it does, you know you’re doing the move incorrectly.
  4. Lower your torso until it’s midway between vertical and parallel to the floor. Pause. Keep a slight bend in your knees during the downward and upward phase. 
  5. Reverse the movement by contracting your glutes and pushing your hips forward and upward to return to the starting position. 

For any further questions or if you’d like me to check out your hinge pattern, just send me a video to [email protected] or tag me on Instagram @TeamQuinnFit.