The ability to perform a proper hip hinge is absolutely essential because many times in life we need the hip hinge movement to lift things, but also because it teaches us how to load the proper structures of our body while not unnecessarily stressing our low back. Learning to use the glutes, hamstrings, even the feet properly, are so key in building a strong and resilient body. However, we know, of the 7 movement patterns, the hip hinge can be one of the most challenging to build success in performing.
The hip hinge should be fundamental to anyone looking to improve their fitness & health!
Understanding why people often struggle with the hip hinge goes a long way in helping solve the issue of teaching a proper hip hinge. The truth is because of focusing on the wrong movements of the body and cues of the hip hinge we fail to realize that the squatting that people perform during the hip hinge is typically a byproduct of feeling too unstable.
We have all sorts of cues and methods on how to teach someone how to fold at the hips, i.e; touch the wall drill, using a dowel, etc. These things were are taught should fix the hip hinge and all the issues that come along with it, but if that was true we wouldn’t hear about all the troubles fitness pros are still having in teaching their clients solid hip hinges.
Of course for some students it may take a few reps, for others a few hundred reps, but every coach has many different “tools in their toolbox” when it comes to the hinge. Having a lot of tools isn’t all that helpful unless the tools actually work!
For example, when I first started coaching, I noticed that I always had difficulty teaching some students how to produce explosive hip extension. I would use various verbal cues such as, “Jump into a plank,” “Snap the hips forward,” “Imagine your getting kicked in the butt,” etc…
Verbal cues just never seemed to work that great for a lot of people.
I needed something tactile. A drill that gave them instant feedback on whether their hips were extending fast or slow.
Enter the Ultimate Sandbag.
Most people don’t realize that when we created the Ultimate Sandbag back in 2004 we had the freedom to make a tool that wasn’t bound by any of the “that’s the way the tool has always looked or been designed.” We had an absolutely clean slate to make something that could solve so many movement issues for people, especially in patterns like the hip hinge. The neutral grip position, for example, allows us to more easily integrate the lats which stabilizes our core, we could more easily create stability by using a simple cue of “pulling the handles apart” and more. The result was quickly helping people understand how to move better in patterns like the hip hinge.
Best of all, once these concepts were understood, we had also opened up the door for so many progressions to be made. A coach recently asked me how we came up with all the concepts of DVRT, to be honest, they can be found as the collection of all the movement systems that have existed (often for centuries). Let’s look at body position.
In bodyweight training, if we often want to make an exercise more difficult we alter the body position in the movement. We can see this in drills like push-ups and body rows all the time. So, why don’t we do so when we have external loads? Such examples can be given over and over but the point is that when it comes to strength training as many of us think of today, the truth is that we leave A LOT of ways to be successful and continuing to move forward out of our programs. Not because we want to, but because we aren’t taught better ways. Hopefully the videos like Greg Perlaki helps us with today and this post opens your mind to the idea we haven’t even come close to using the best strategies in most cases in our training.
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