I’ve been incredibly lucky the past few months to be able to volunteer with the strength and conditioning staff at Brown University. Not only do I get to learn from and rub elbows with some of the best and brightest coaches around, but I get exposed to well over 100 athletes in just a few hours each day. With that kind of volume, you see people of all shapes and sizes, strength levels and lifting abilities. It’s forced me to sharpen my coaching skills very quickly.
Without fail, more athletes struggle to perform the hip hinge than any other movement. That’s a problem, because movement at the hip is largely responsible for generating power during sprints, jumps and other essential movements in sports.
The hip hinge involves flexing at the hip to shift one’s hips backward and bring the torso toward parallel to the ground, with a lesser amount of flex in the knees than a squat. It’s the basis for movements like the initial pull of any Olympic lift (as seen above), any deadlift, good mornings, pull-throughs, kettlebell swings, etc. Even with a short list like that, you can see why the hip hinge is important for getting big, strong and powerful.
Before athletes can jump, deadlift, clean and snatch, they need to show they’re proficient in the basic hip hinge pattern. Sometimes it’s a battle to get them there, especially if they exhibit common problems like tight ankles, a nasty anterior pelvic tilt or simply confusing the hinge with a squat.
In my latest article for Stack.com, I go over three simple drills to help master the hip hinge. Plug these into your warm-up and you’ll instantly see improvements in your strength and mobility.