If I could choose one movement to be able to engrain into all of my members it would most definitely be a proper hip hinge. A well performed hip hinge is the most powerful movement that can be performed. There is no coincidence that the Universal Athletic Position puts an individual in a hip hinged position. This allows the individual to produce maximal power output compared to any other position. Next time you are watching sports check out the position of an NBA defender, NFL linebacker, and MLB shortstop. All of these individuals will display a great Universal Athletic Position including a great hip hinge.
What is a Hip Hinge?
A Hip Hinge is a movement through the hip joint predominantly that includes flexion and extension with limited knee flexion and a neutral spine. There is much less knee movement (flexion) in the hip hinge when compared to a squat. The following picture demonstrates a properly performed hip hinge using a PVC Pipe to maintain a neutral spine and proper positioning.
Why is the Hip Hinge So Powerful?
A properly executed hip hinge loads our posterior chain musculature in an advantageous position to allow for maximal force production. These muscles include our hamstrings, glutes, and lumbar extensor chain. These are the largest and most powerful muscles in our body, and when utilized properly they produce the most force.
When is a Hip Hinge Useful?
In the gym we use our hip hinge for deadlifts, cleans, snatches, single leg dead lifts, kettlebell swings, and many jumps that we use. In the sports world, the hip hinge is utilized in every sport in some way.
Hip Hinge vs. Squat Pattern
A common problem that we see on a daily basis the inability to differentiate between a squat and a hip hinge. This problem often leads to poor bar paths in deadlifts, cleans, and snatches. It tends to lead to increased knee, shoulder, and low back stress with kettlebell swings. It also leads to decreased performance with jumping. If you feel that you fall into this category feel free to ask any of our coaches for some drills in order to help improve your hip hinge pattern.