The Big Six Breakdown: The Hinge

The hip hinge is a movement that is often used at RF. In fact, we have a whole training day dedicated to it! Deadlift variations, kettlebell swings, and good mornings are all good examples of hinge exercises that may seem familiar. We’ve structured our classes to include squat days, upper body (push/pull) days, and hinge days.


But if squats and hinges are both working the lower body, why do we include both? Is it too much lower body training?


The short answer is no.


The longer answer is that the squat and the hinge, while they may appear similar initially, are targeting different muscle groups and joint movements. The hinge initiates at the hip joints and thus the movement is controlled by the hips. The squat, on the other hand, is initiated and controlled more by the knees. Additionally, the hinge is an essential functional movement, meaning you probably hinge throughout your day and may not realize it. If you drop something and bend over to pick it up, for example, you’re hip hinging.


So while the hinge is a joint movement that takes place at the hips, it includes your core and all the muscles of your “posterior chain”-- the muscles in the backside of your body– including the glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles.


These different muscle groups work together to give your body stability as it goes through the hinge movement. We often tell our members to “stay tight” while hinging; what we mean by this is to contract the posterior chain and core muscles during the hinge movement to increase stability and control of the weight or bar. Failure to do so can result in instability and/or injury.


As mentioned before, a great example of a hip hinge are deadlifts. No matter the variation– elevated deadlifts, RDLs, SLRDLs, trap bar deadlifts, or kettlebell deadlifts– they all have the hip hinge in common.


If you’re not comfortable hinging with a bar, there are still plenty of ways to hinge with a kettlebell, dumbbell, band, or just using bodyweight.


No matter the type of hinge you are performing, it is crucial to train the hip hinge in order to keep lifting pain-free and improve your functional fitness.


Training the joints and muscles to keep your body contracted and stable during the hip hinge will help keep you stable during hip movements outside of the gym, and that’s one way we can help you stay strong for life!


Interested in working with us? Head on over to our "No-Sweat Intro" page and schedule a time to come in.

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