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The Hip Hinge…..Our Most Important Movement

Americans spend too much time sitting and not enough standing and moving around. Sitting can lead to tight hip flexors (muscles in front of the hip joint) and weakening our gluteals (muscles behind the hip).  The glutes are a powerful muscle group that we aren’t using.

A hip hinge is a foundational movement that is performed through the hip joint and maintaining a neutral spine.  This movement utilizes and harnesses the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) while protecting our spines from excessive loads.  If you can master the hip hinge, the next progression is the deadlift, which can be used to lift heavy loads. When we are toddlers, we are masters of this movement.  As we get older, our movement pattern breaks down, we get weaker, and we cannot perform a simple hip hinge.  We overuse our spine for movement and the spine wasn’t designed for this. This weakening and poor movement patterns can lead to low back pain.


To perform a hip hinge, take a broomstick and place it behind your back, long ways.  Keep one hand on the back of your head and the other on your tailbone.  The broomstick must stay in contact with your spine during the entire movement.

Slightly bend your knees while standing upright.  With the knees slightly bent, bend forward from the hip joints and let your hips slide back as if you are going to touch a wall behind you. Your shoulders should line up over your feet.  The broomstick should never lose contact with any part of your spine. If it does, that means you are using your spine to perform this motion.  Come back to standing and try the test again, maintaining a flat back.

Once you have mastered the hip hinge with the broomstick, take away the stick and see if you can replicate the same motion.  If you need help with this assessment, call for an appointment for an evaluation of your movement patterns.


Additional core exercises have been posted to our “Core” album on Facebook.  “Like us” on Facebook to receive notifications of posts.

core musculature