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The Hip Hinge

I program based on the foundational movement patterns: hip hinge, squat, push, pull, lunge, and carry. I am going to write a blog series on each of the movements. First up is the hip hinge. The hip hinge is a great movement that has a lot of benefits including that it can be used for building strength, power, and muscle. There can be risks too if performed incorrectly. There are many different exercises that fit the hip hinge pattern that can be utilized and modified for every individual. 

The hip hinge seems to be used less and less these days because it gets a bad rap due to so many people blaming deadlifts for injuries. It is not a bad movement that leads to injuries. It is actually a great movement that you should be doing. Doing the hip hinge with poor form does lead to injuries. So learning the correct movement and progressions will lead to better results and proper movement. 

Why you should hip hinge

Almost every day you bend down to pick something up from the floor. Learning to hip hinge properly can keep you from injuring yourself just picking up a box from the ground. It is a great movement to strengthen your posterior chain (back, glutes, hamstrings). This can help keep you injury-free and build a more resilient body. Today we so forward dominate so any movement that works the posterior chain can benefit you.

How to Perform the Hip Hinge

I find that most people struggle with the hinge so I start from the top down rather than from the floor up like most people do. 

  1. Start standing straight up
  2. To get the hips going I use the cue butt back. I will use the wall or a foam roller to help coach this.
  3. Chest up. Keep the chest up and shoot the hips back as you bend/hinge at the waist.
  4. Knees out. Grip your feet into the ground and twist out like you are trying to tear a piece of paper apart with your feet.

Variations/Progressions/Regressions

  • Hinge with dowel rod or to wall or foam roller
  • KB/DB RDL (Romanian deadlift)
  • KB/DB elevated deadlift
  • Barbell RDL
  • KB/DB deadlift from the floor
  • Elevated trap bar deadlift from blocks
  • Elevated sumo deadlift from blocks or rack
  • Barbell rack pull: Different heights
  • Trap bar deadlift from ground
  • Sumo deadlift form ground
  • Straight bar deadlift from ground
  • Plus many more


To determine what variation is best and where to start people at an assessment should be used before a client starts. Whereas most people just start deadlifting from the floor and end up getting hurt. Rather than learning the proper form and progressing up to deadlift, if that is your goal. But by no means should everyone be deadlifting from the floor.

Have you struggled with the hip hinge or have been injured deadlifting? Do you want to learn how to do it correctly and find the correct variation that allows you to move pain-free? Click here to schedule your initial consultation and assessment to get going.

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