A Simple Way to Pattern the Hip Hinge

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Sometimes I think to myself how much of a moron I am.

And I don’t say that lightly. I’m 100% serious. I’m a moron. Or, to use a more “Tony’esque” term…..an asshat.

Lets rule out the obvious offenses like that time, as a freshman in my first college start, I threw a 3-2 hanging curveball to the clean-up hitter. I still think that ball has yet to land.

Or that other time I thought it would be hiiiiiilarious to sneak up behind my girlfriend in college – whom I knew hated to be scared – and scare her.

Her immediate reaction was to punch me in the mouth and give me a fat lip. Needless to say I learned that night where she stood on the whole fight or flight spectrum.

But at least I’m not as moronic as the guy on a recent episode of Forensic Files I watched who killed a woman and, upon using her credit card at a convenience store, signed his own name on the receipt.

Or this girl who did this……



I’ve had my moments, as I’m sure everyone reading can commiserate with, where I demonstrated less than exemplary common sense.

But when I say I’m a moron/asshat/pick chosen adjective here, I’m also referring to my profound inability to think of stuff that many of my esteemed colleagues seem to do with as much ease as breathing.

At least once or twice a week I read something or watch something that makes me have a Homer Simpson moment where I slap myself in the forehead, yell “DOH,” and wonder why it never dawned on me to come up with the same idea or concept.

Ben Bruno gets the most recent tip of the hat.

A Simple Way to Pattern the Hip Hinge

I’ve written on the importance of the hip hinge and some basic drills I like to use to help groove it HERE. The Cliff Notes version goes something like this:

“It’s important because I said so.”

 [Drops mic, exits stage left]

Okay, in all seriousness the sooner someone hones their hip hinge the sooner they’ll be putting the leverages and torques they’re placing on the body in a more advantageous or “user friendly” setting. I.e., learning to move through the hips (and greasing hip extension without compensating with lumbar hyperextension) in addition to less stress on the knees and lower back when performing exercises like squats and deadlifts.

Likewise, once the hip hinge is cleaned up it makes the learning curve when introducing new exercises down the road much more expedited.

While out in LA teaching a workshop Ben Bruno stopped by to say hello and was nice enough to take the attendees through a quick 30-minutes session on cool ways to use the landmine. He showed this ingenious way to use it to groove the hip hinge:

The placement and counterbalance of the bar lends itself so that the trainee has no where to go BUT to hip hinge in order to lower the bar. If they don’t they’re going to hit themselves in the boy or girl down there parts.

It’s more or less the most intuitive way I’ve come across to help someone “feel” the hip hinge yet!

Understandably, some people may cry afoul about the hands/arms moving towards the floor, but remember all I’m trying to accomplish is helping someone feel the hip hinge happen in the first place! Once they have that, then I can work on upperback and lat tension when deadlift and squatting.

As an FYI: you don’t necessarily need the landmine apparatus in order to perform this drill. You could just as easily place a barbell up against a wall or kitty corner between two walls and accomplish the same objective.

Give it a try yourself or with your clients struggling to master the hip hinge and let me know how it goes.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Bob

    Tony, a true moron does not recognize good new ideas when they smack him/her in the boy/girl parts down there. You are merely mortal. Of course, if you tried hip-hinging with a landmine light saber, that would be different.

    December 8, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Logan

    Good article Tony, thought you might enjoy the following in anticipation of the latest Hobbit movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojt0eiFX1K4

    December 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      Nice! As it happens, because I bought 4 tickets (two for Lisa and I, two for another couple we're going with) to the local Super Lux theater, I won a free download of this song on iTunes. Thanks for sharing! And, I can't freakin wait to go see the movie. Going on December 20th. What about you?

      December 9, 2014 at 7:18 am | Reply to this comment

  • Brent

    Tony - love this exercise. I'll have to try it with some of my clients. Something I have been playing around with because some of my clients can sit their hips back well but flex/round their t-spine in the process, is to cue a client to push their butt into the wall behind them all the while reaching both your hands (fingertips) to the other wall in front of you. Get as long as you can butt to head. Seems to prevent rounding of shoulders and gets a little more t-spine extension/back to neutral. While a DL oviously doesn't involve shoulder flexion it gives nice feedback to a client about what the upper back should feel like (not rolled forward/rounded). Have to get creative when some of my clients really struggle with the concept. I think a progression on this (though I haven't tried) would be to relax arms by side, and to think about a string pulling your butt back and your head forward. Anything that makes them feel the hinge, seems to work wonders. If that fails to work we just go straight to explosive plyo deadlifts off a BOSU obviously. That hinge stuff ain't that important! :)

    December 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Lee

    Good article Tony, and that girl trying to deadlift in high heels was funny but dangerous at the same time. http://www.fatlossfactorxx.com

    December 9, 2014 at 10:03 am | Reply to this comment

  • Glenn De Kler

    Mind Blown! It's always the simple stuff, and even I can understand it.(must be for morons) I mean anyone crying afoul should be appropriately tarred and feathered. Would you recommend even putting some force along the shaft of the barbell to include the upper body a little more?

    December 9, 2014 at 11:17 am | Reply to this comment

  • Nathan Clay Rogers

    Such a COOL exercise for teaching hip hinge patterns and will most definitely make use of it . Man I am such a nerd.

    December 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Teri Skinner Chadwick

    I just wanted to chime in that I don't find this subject boring in the least. Party on, Garth!

    December 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Reply to this comment

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