How To Hip Hinge Correctly: Avoid These Mistakes

hip hinge model

Because the hip hinge is the foundational movement for strength training, it’s important we learn 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 which 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.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our article How To Perform The Hip Hinge to learn the basics of the movement.

1. Bending Forward (vs. Reaching Hips Back)

The hinge movement is about reaching your hips BACK. If you hinge by bending your trunk forward (which technically is still a hinge) you 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!

You can correct this mistake by focusing on reaching your hips towards the wall behind you vs. bending your trunk forward.

2. Hinging Too Low

Knowing when to stop your hinge is important to protect your low back and discs. Going too low in our hinge results in too much spinal movement which can be dangerous as we get to heavier weights. Better to correct this now!

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.

3. Too Much Knee Bend (Squatting)

Knee movement is probably the hardest part to figure out when starting the hip hinge. While we don’t want to lock our knees out we also don’t want to bend to much and perform a squat. Remember, a hinge is how far can you get your hips back. A squat is about getting your hips down. We don’t want to squat our hinge.

To correct this mistake we need to allow you knees to bend without actively bending them. Subtly I know, but very important. Remember to keep all active movement at the hips (reaching back).

4. Overextending at the Mid Back

This is more of a problem for people who are very flexible or hyper mobile. As they reach their hips back they will over extend in their spine. You can see this with the PVC pipe if you’re losing contact with your mid back as you reach 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.

5. Rocking Pelvis Forward

This is another very subtle (but important) mistake. What happens is that as we start to reach your hips back, we end up rocking your pelvis forward. This creates extension, which leads to pain/tension, in our 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 🙂

Want More Hip Hinge Practice? Watch The Following Video To Walk Through The Top Five Hip Hinge Mistakes With Dr. Baird

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Are you new to strength training? Be sure to check out other articles in our Strength Training For Beginners Series to be sure you can build SAFELY build strength – without being in pain.

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