A hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern that allows you to dissociate movement from your lower back and your hips. In the context of therapy and performance this is an extremely important movement to be able to execute.

Clinically, when we assess people with lower back pain often this is a drill we teach to them so they learn to move more from the hips then the back. When we look at how people do move we often see excessive movement elsewhere throughout the spine. Two  common presentations we usually see is excessive flexion in the lumbar spine (to much bend) or excessive extension when trying to extend the hip back to neutral position (to much arch)

At Scope, this is how we teach our patients to hip hinge. The below progression is in the split position, however this can be done with feet parallel to each other as well. 

Progressions and regressions of the hinge

1. Assisted Hip Hinge

The first drill we have here is a dowel supported hinge drill. You can see that my feet aren’t exactly together, this is what we call the split position and the reason for this is this we can focus our attention more on one hip at a time.

Now that we got that out of the way, to set this up you need 3 points of contact with the broomstick. These are the head, back and butt. These 3 contact points allow a person to maintain a neutral back position when hinging and also acts as external feedback to assist with with awareness. This also forces us to move primarily from the hip without compensation from the lower back. We want to slowly hinge to a 45-50 degree angle. Repeat this 10 times and 3 sets.

2. Unassisted Hip Hinge 

The next progression is a hinge with the broomstick in front. This progression is more difficult in that we don’t have external feedback like the first drill.

Again we are working in the higher rep ranges to really grease the groove.

3. Loaded Split RDL

Once this movement is looking good then we can start loading it up with a barbell and weights. Really what we are doing is just adding resistance to challenge our ability to move through this pattern. It is important though, to ensure we can coordinate this movement before loading it up with weights.

This exercise will help develop hip stability and control as well as developing posterior chain (glute, hamstring, back) strength.

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Daniel Rothenberg

Daniel Rothenberg is a Sports Chiropractor with a Masters of Chiropractic and Masters of Exercise Science majoring in Strength & Conditioning. He works closely with a range of athletes in Brisbane and Ipswich.