| Article written on September 13th, 2015 at 5:30pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
Teaching the body how to hinge at the hips is essential in promoting proper function and reducing unwanted stress through the lumbar spine. It is common for many people with low back pain to be unable to differentiate hip and spine movement. That is why teaching proper hip hinging is important.
The hip hinge is a very basic, but challenging movement. From sitting for long periods of time and improper training, we often lack proper hip extension. The inability for the gluteus maximus to produce extension due to neural inhibition is called gluteal amnesia. Before performing movements such as the hip hinge, we must first learn to activate the appropriate musculature with exercises such as: forearm hip extension and cook hip lift.
When learning the hip hinge, it is important to start with the fundamentals and progress appropriately. That means learning the proper pattern against a wall to teach neutral spine and only hip motion is key. This entry level variation is what we will focus our attention on in this article. Don’t be fooled by it’s simplistic appearance. Due to poor posture and faulty firing patterns, it can be challenging to execute this movement correctly. And, it’s value cannot be overstated.
How to perform this movement:
- Stand 6-12 inches away from the wall
- Place the pinky side of your hands into the angled crease of your hip joint
- With minimal bend in the knees, drive the hips back to touch the wall
- Ensure a neutral spine position with no increase in knee angle as you lower forward
- Lower until the spine is parallel to the floor
- At the lowest position, contract the glutes and drive the hips forward
- Raise back up to the starting position
- Repeat for the desired repetitions
Note: Posture is essential in this movement. Maintaining a neutral spine position will reduce force on the lumbar spine discs and musculature once you progress to the weighted versions. Also, keep the knees in only 10-15 degrees of flexion as you complete the movement. They are not allowed to bend more as you lower down, but should straighten as the hips drive completely forward at the top of the movement.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART