These 6 Hinging Exercises Will Give You Glutes Of Steel
Hinging (think of a door opening and shutting) at the hips is a difficult move for beginners to do. A lot of us have a hard time telling the difference between using the low back or the glutes when bending your torso forward.
But once you ‘get’ this move you’ll build your backside, strengthen your lower back, and move and feel better. Plus, you’ll look great in your favorite pair of pants and will take the baby got back to a new level.
The hinging variations below are listed from easy to more difficult. If you have never been taught or performed these before, please start at the beginning and progress slowly. Only move on when you feel comfortable and ready for the next exercise.
These six exercises will get your glutes on.
Stability Ball Hip Extension
If you’ve never done hip extensions, this is the exercise you start with. Lying on the floor it’s easier to gauge whether your back is on the floor and whether the movement is coming from your hips and hamstrings. This makes the set up easier and with your feet on an unstable surface, it will help you slow down the exercise to ensure good form.
Benefits of The Stability Ball Hip Extension
Stability ball slows the movement down to help you with good form.
Being on the floor makes this easier to do.
The floor helps you with good form because you get instant feedback.
How to do The Stability Ball Hip Extension
Put both feet on the ball with your legs straight, entire back on the floor and arms by your side. Drive your heels into the ball and raise yourself until your body is in a straight line, feeling it in your glutes and hamstrings. Slowly lower yourself to the ground and repeat. Start with two to three sets of between 10 to 15 reps.
Bodyweight Hip Extension
Bodyweight hip extension is like the stability ball version except you have your feet on the ground and knees bent at 90 degrees. This exercise relies more on your glutes and less on your hamstrings too. It’s easier to use your lower back with this one so make sure your lower back is always on the ground. Like the stability ball variation, the stability and feedback you get from the ground helps with this exercise.
Benefits of The Bodyweight Hip Extension
You get feedback from the ground to help with good form.
Focus more on your glutes to help build more strength.
Helps build core strength and improves hip mobility at the same time.
How To do The Bodyweight Hip Extension
Lie face up on the ground with your feet, entire back and your head on the ground. Have your arms on the ground in a comfortable position. Raise your hips off the ground until you feel a contraction in your glutes and slight stretch in the front of your hips. Pause for a moment and slowly lower down until your entire back is on the ground. Start with three sets of 10 to 15 reps and continue until they feel easy. Then move on to the next progression.
Bodyweight Hip Thrust
Unlike the previous two exercises the only body part you have on the ground is your feet. With your upper back on a bench and feet on the ground, the hip thrust takes you through a larger range of motion for more strength and muscle potential. But there is a greater margin for error here because of the lack of stability and greater ROM. Make sure to feel it in your glutes and hamstrings and not your back.
Benefits of The Bodyweight Hip Thrust
Greater range of motion here helps build more strength and muscle.
The greater ROM helps improve your hip mobility
Helps to reduce lower back pain.
How To do The Bodyweight Hip Thrust
With your back to the weight bench, put your arms on the bench in a T position and then put your upper back on the bench. Move your ankles underneath your knees and wiggle up until your hips are slightly off the ground. Make sure your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
Push your feet through the floor and raise your hips as high as you can without extending your lower back. Then fold yourself in half taking the hips to the ground while keeping your chest up. Reset and repeat Due to the more intense nature of this exercise, start with two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Wall Hip Hinge
Having a reference point in the wall shortens the learning curve for hip hinging because the wall will determine whether you’re doing this correctly. It’s a great beginner drill because of the reference point and it’s made harder or easier by going further away or closer to the wall. Make sure to keep a straight spine and feel the tension in your hamstrings and not your lower back. This is an important exercise to get right before adding weight.
Benefits of The Wall Hip Hinge
Gives a reference point to help with correct form.
Is made harder or easier by moving further away or closer to the wall.
Gives you confidence to progress to more difficult moves.
How to do The Wall Hip Hinge
Stand approx. six inches away from the wall, standing up straight and feet hip width apart. Soften your knees and fold yourself (hinging) in half until your butt touches the wall while keeping your chest up and shoulders down. Feel the exercise in your hamstrings and not lower back. Hinge forward and squeeze your glutes at the end of the movement. Reset and repeat. Performing three sets of 10-15 reps will groove the hip hinge pattern in a hurry.
Hip Hinge With Stick
Once you feel comfortable with the wall hip hinge, having the stick behind you makes sure you’re using the hips and not any part of your back when hinging without a reference point. Because your spine will lose contact with the stick if you do it incorrectly. This further grooves the hip hinge movement and it’s a great segway exercise before you add weight. If you struggle to feel when doing this, get side-on to the mirror for a form check.
Benefits of The Wall Hip Hinge With Stick
The stick gives you feedback on whether you’re doing this correctly.
Gives you further confidence with the hinge before adding weight.
Further strengthens your core and lower back.
How to do The Hip Hinge With Stick
Any straight pole will do here. Even a broom handle works well. Make sure the back of your head, upper and lower back are always in contact with the pole and soften your knees. Hinge back your hips while feeling your hamstrings stretch and your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Pause for a second and return to the starting position, Reset, and repeat. More reps are important here so do three sets of 15 reps. If your back hurts the following day, re-watch the video and perform in front of a mirror.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Only progress to the Romanian deadlift once you’ve nailed the stick exercise. With the weight being in front, it’s important that you keep your chest up, and squeeze your armpits together to keep your upper back tight, 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. Adding load once you’ve got the hinging movement down will start to add some strength and muscle to your backside. Baby got back.
Benefits of The Romanian Deadlift
Adds strength and muscle to your hips and hamstrings.
Further strengthens the upper back area which is important for posture.
Give you the confidence to progress to more difficult moves like the barbell Romanian deadlift and deadlifting from the floor.
How to do The Romanian Deadlift
Hold a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip in front of your thighs with your feet hip width apart. Keeping your shoulders down and chest up, slide the dumbbells down your thighs while hinging at the hips until the dumbbells are below your knees. Reverse the movement and finish the exercise by squeezing your glutes. Start light and dial in your form and confidence with three sets of 12 to 15 reps and then you can add load and do between eight to 12 reps.
When you harness the power of the hinging movement, you will reduce your chances of lower back pain, build a baby’s got back and look fantastic in your favorite pair of pants. Plus, you’ll move better and have a Deri air to be proud of.
Come on, flex those glutes.
Are you still confused on where to start? Click here for my strength program for those new to strength training.