Hinging is a common movement in daily life, whether we are unloading the dishwasher, doing yard work, picking something up from off the floor, or sitting in a chair. Despite the frequency at which we hinge our bodies while performing day-to-day tasks, we often underestimate the significance of hip hinge exercises. Mastering and strengthening hip hinge exercises will not only add benefit to your workout in the gym, but also throughout our daily life.
Hip hinge exercises provide benefits beyond just being a great workout. A study published in July 2020 found that hip hinge exercises help to increase balance, improve rotation and flexion, enhance movement, and even eliminate lower back pain as these exercises work to increase core strength.
What Is A Hip Hinge Exercise?
Hip hinge exercises can be performed through a variety of common movements such as deadlifts, squats, glute bridges, and kettlebell swings. The best hip hinge exercises are the ones where you are able to maintain proper form and therefore perform correctly. As you master the basic hip hinge exercises, you can then begin to add on progressions to the movement such as increased weight.
If you are just starting out, it would be best to begin with hip hinge exercises for beginners. A list of hip hinge exercises that would be ideal for beginners includes a bodyweight hip hinge, glute bridge, and squat.
How To Perform A Hip Hinge:
This is a simple exercise to perform and is an ideal hip hinge exercise for beginners. You can perform this exercise with just your own bodyweight. As you progress, you can begin to add weight such as a kettlebell.
Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your spine neutral and your core engaged. Next, start to hinge forward at your hips, pushing your glutes back. As you begin to lower your upper body down, you should start to feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Drive your hips forward to return to the starting position.
Glute Bridge Exercise:
This is a great hip hinge exercise for glutes and can be performed with just bodyweight. Once you master this exercise with just bodyweight, you can begin to try it with heavier weights. Check out our “Kas Glute Bridge Tutorial” once you feel ready to take it to the next level.
Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground making an “A-line” shape with your lower body. Place your triceps heavy down by your sides with palms facing down and fingertips reaching forward. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
As you bring your hips up, you will form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Your glutes should stay active and engaged through this entire movement. Hold for a moment at the top and then lower your hips back down with control.
This is another great hip hinge exercise for glutes. As a beginner, start with just your bodyweight. Once your form is perfected, then you can begin to add on progressions such as increased weight, pulses, or isometric holds.
Stand up tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a proud chest. Shoulders should be down and back with your core engaged.
Begin to lower your body down and back by bending your knees and hips as if you were sitting down in a chair. Lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Once lowered, push your weight into your heels to return back to standing tall.
These hip hinge exercises all require proper form to yield the best results. In order to prevent injury, add in gradual progressions once you feel confident in your form.
Addressing Proper Form
Whenever we are hinging our body down in either the gym or in our day-to-day life, maintaining good form is key to avoid putting excess stress on our spine and muscles. If you perform regular hip hinge exercises by using the correct form, you can eliminate this excess stress as you will understand the way at which your body should hinge.
Proper form when performing a standing hip hinge exercise, such as a squat, involves pushing the hips back, keeping a neutral spine, and a slight bend in the knees. Perfecting your positon while performing hip hinge exercises requires addressing factors that may get in the way of proper execution. Some of these factors that can have an effect on your form include flexibility, muscle tightness, and strength.
The Fundamental Components of Hip Hinge Exercises
Initially, we may want to first focus on flexibility by understanding that individual flexibility is influenced by muscle length and elasticity. As we age, we become less flexible so it is important to continue to work on our own flexibility training to prevent movement dysfunction.
Muscle tightness can be resolved through self-myofascial release. This is another essential component to performing strong hip hinge exercises. Self-myofascial release can be performed with tools like the QL Claw which targets muscle knots and combats issues like anterior pelvic tilt or hip tightness.
Stretching is another critical component that will help with good form and the overall health of our muscles. Stretching can be especially beneficial for overactive muscles. Stretches that target the hip flexors can help with opening up tight hips to better perform hip hinge exercises. Stretches that target tight hip flexors include the butterfly stretch, figure four, pigeon pose, and happy baby.
Furthermore, strengthening exercises become essential for underactive muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, and core. Performing movements such as the plank will contribute to posterior chain strengthening and promote stronger form and prevent possible injury when performing hip hinge exercises.
It is important for athletes to train and strengthen their hips in order to perform better workouts in the gym. Even if you do not label yourself as an athlete, hip hinge exercises are a fundamental movement that will benefit anyone throughout their daily life. Since we tend to hinge so much through simple movements in life, it is important to focus on strengthening these muscles.
Hip Hinge Exercises FAQ
How can I improve my hip hinges?
Practice is a key component to improving hip hinge exercises. By incorporating hip hinge exercises into your routine fitness regimen, you can begin to see improvements. Additionally, always ensure that you have proper form for optimal results.
What is the prime mover of the hip during a hip hinge?
The prime mover of hip hinge exercises is the gluteus maximus making hip hinge exercises a great option for working your glutes.
Why is the hip hinge so important?
We hinge our bodies all the time in daily life. It is crucial for our spinal health to remove excess stress off our spine by strengthening our hips and core. Hip hinge exercises allow us to work out our hips and core.