Bending or lifting with a rounded low back can be unsafe, particularly when lifting heavy weights. In order to keep the spine in a neutral position when picking up an object or pulling a weight from the ground there must be some level of hinging at the hips. Keeping the hips bent, while maintaining a relatively neutral spine, is referred to as a hip hinge.
Why is the Hip Hinge Important?
Hinging at the hips while maintaining a neutral spine (as opposed to a flexed posture) helps to decrease stress on the discs and ligaments of the spine.1 Hip hinging is integral to performing many exercises including the the following:
- Romanian Deadlift
It can also be employed during simple tasks such as picking up and re-racking weights.
How to Perform
To ensure that you are carrying out this exercise correctly, you will need a rod. To perform the hip hinge:
- Start with feet shoulder width apart
- The rod should be held in contact with your sacrum, between your shoulder blades and the back of the head
- Initiate a bend at the hips pushing hips toward the wall behind you
- End when you feel a slight pull in the back of the thighs or begin to break at the knees
This is a basic movement that should be second nature to anyone using free weights. There is also real-world application when performing activities such as lifting from the ground or rising from a chair.
1. McGill, Stuart M. “Low back exercises: evidence for improving exercise regimens.” Physical Therapy 78.7 (1998): 754-765.