The hip hinge is a foundational movement for strength training. it’s important to learn how to hip hinge correctly and avoid many of the common mistakes that can lead to pain later on. For such a simple movement, there is a lot that can go wrong with the hip hinge. This can become a big problem later on as we start to add weight or progress the movement. I teach this movement to almost everyone who comes into my clinic, and I’ve compiled a list of the top five mistakes that people make when learning and can lead to issues later on.
Bending Forward (vs. Reaching Hips Back)
The hip hinge should be performed by reaching your hips BACK. Not by bending your trunk forward. This will shift your center of gravity too far forward which will put more impact on the low back the second you add any weight. Not good! Correct this mistake by focusing on reaching your hips towards the wall behind you vs. bending your trunk forward.
Hinging Too Low
Knowing when to stop your hinge will protect your lower back. Going too low in our hinge results in spinal flexion. This is dangerous as you progress to heavier weights. To correct this mistake you should stop your hip hinge the second you feel tension in your hamstrings. A PVC pipe can help, stop the minute the pole comes off your pelvis.
Too Much Knee Bend (Squatting)
Knee movement can be the hardest part to figure out when learning how to hip hinge. As mentioned earlier you don’t want to lock our knees. But you also don’t want to bend them so much it becomes a squat. Remember, a hinge is how far can you get your hips BACK. A squat is about getting your hips DOWN. To correct this mistake you should allow your knees to bend without actively bending them.
Overextending Your Mid-Back
Highly flexible people have a tendency to overextend (or arch) their back while performing the hinge. This overextension puts more impact on the facet joints of your back. You can see this with the PVC pipe if you’re losing contact with your mid back as you reach your hips back. Remember, we want to limit spinal movement when we perform the hinge. To correct this mistake remember to brace your abs and keep your rib cage down as you hinge.
Rocking Pelvis Forward
This is another very subtle (but important) mistake when performing the hip hinge. As you start to reach your hips back, you end up rocking your pelvis forward. This creates extension in your lower back which causes to pain and tension in your low back. To correct this mistake remember to brace your abs to hold your pelvis in place.
As you can see, for such a simple movement, there’s a lot to think about when learning how to hip hinge correctly. Which is why it’s so important that we PRACTICE. Our goal is to make this movement automatic…so you don’t have to think about it every time you bend forward. The only way to do that is through repetitions. So keep on practicing 🙂