The hard part is over. You made it to the gym and that’s usually half the battle. Now that you’re there, what are you going to do? This is where a lot of people get stuck but don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
This is part four of a six-part series that focuses on the exercises that give you the biggest bang for your buck in and outside the gym. If you’ve missed the previous parts, please click on the links below.
Part four – Hinge
Part five – Carries
Part six – Groundwork
PART 4- HINGE
Using the hips like they were intended will make you a boss in the gym and your partner a happy person. Yes, the hips can be that powerful. A lot of athletic movements on the sporting arena have hip hinging/hip extension as their base.
Furthermore, incorrect use of the hips is one of the major causes of lower back pain and hinging correctly will keep the lower back happy. And as a bonus, hinging will help you look great in your favorite pair of pants.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you girls.
This is the most difficult of all fundamental human movements to teach and perform because
1. We sit on it way too much which leads to weak glutes
2. A lot of people have a hard time disassociating their hips and their lower back
3. It’s a hard move to “feel” when you perform it
The hinging variations below are listed from easy to more difficult. If you’ve never been taught or performed this movement before, please start at the beginning and progress slowly. Only move on when you feel comfortable and ready for the next challenge.
1. Wall hip hinge (easy)
Having a reference point will shorten the learning curve because the wall will tell you whether you’re doing the movement correctly or not. Perform this exercise with soft knees and by keeping your chest up and shoulders down.
Doing more reps is important here so do 3 sets of 15 reps. If your back, not your hamstrings, is sore the next day, something is amiss.
2. Hip hinge with stick
Once you’ve mastered the first move, having the stick behind you makes sure you’re using your hips and not any part of your spine when you hinge because your spine will lose contact with the stick if you’re doing it incorrectly. If you struggle for feel while doing this, get side-on with the mirror to receive more feedback.
More reps are important here also so perform 3 sets of 15 reps. If your back hurts the following day, go back to the drawing board.
3. Wall hip hinge with stick
This variation will teach you to keep the weight close to your body which in turn trains you to keep the upper back tight and strong when you hinge. Additionally, having the two reference points will dial in your form before you add load. Please use the same rep and set ranges as the exercises above.
4. Cable pull throughs
Did you notice the close up😊?
The pull-through provides resistance for the entire range of motion which trains you to maintain full-body tension throughout the entire exercise. Furthermore, having the resistance behind you make this variation lower back friendly.
Choose a resistance that allows you to complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps with the form described in the video.
5. Romanian deadlift (difficult)
This exercise can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells but the technique remains the same. With the load being in front of you, it’s important that you keep your chest up, shoulder blades in your back pocket so the weight stays close to your body. This will save your lower back from discomfort and will load the hips and hamstrings as intended.
Start light and dial in your form and confidence with 3 sets of 12 -15 reps and then you can add load and do between 8-12 reps.
Learning and performing this move correctly is a lower back lifesaver that will save you from pain, discomfort and from those long waiting times in the doctor’s office.
Did I happen to mention your butt will look great?