Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bring on the Hip Hinge!

Hip hinge is using the hip to act a hinge between the upper body and lower body. To a lot of athletes’ hip hinge would be confused with a squatting, but they are completely separate movement patterns. Most people don’t know how to separate the squatting movement from this hinging movement. An example of a hip hinge exercise would be a proper kettlebell swing. If you’re squatting, not hinging (using the knees, not the hips) your lower back will get really tight and sore! Ouch...we don't want that, this is no good folks! Hip hinge movements, are key in developing strong and powerful hamstrings, glutes and back muscles. NOT back muscles!! Knowing how to hip hinge properly will carry over to improved athletic movement, general movement and a major decrease in risk for injury. So what do you do? Take your time and slow the F down!!! Tell you Coach you get sore in those places, let them know so THEY CAN HELP YOU! Saying nothing at all is not only sabotaging yourself, it is sabotaging your Coach. They want to let them. STOP WORRYING about the damn clock!!! If all you are worried about is the clock, there is a good chance a lot of what you are doing could be hurting you. CrossFit is about being fit and healthy. Not weak and hurt!

 “Work smarter, NOT harder.”

A few questions to ask yourself:

Have you ever had a back injury?
Has your lower back ever hurt or been a little tender from deadlifts or kettlebell swings? 
Do you have a habit of scraping your shins raw? 

Well then…you are most likely not hip hinging. Check out the test below. I am handing this out in my Oly classes and strongly encourage all of CFRR to do this as well!! Shoot me an email if you have any questions! 

Hip Hinge Test-
Hold the PVC (broomstick at home) and place along spine.  Be sure to keep the stick in contact with three points (head, back and butt crack) throughout entire movement (which hand goes where doesn’t really matter). For you to PASS this test, the PVC must stay in contact with your head, upper back, and butt throughout the entire hip hinge. Give it a go! If you passed the test you have a solid hip hinge. If not, here are some quick ideas on what might be wrong:

If the dowel is coming off of your butt, you are rounding your back.
how do I fix that shiz? Arch your back instead!

If the dowel is coming off of your back, you are squatting too much.
How do I fix that shiz? Maintain vertical shins and push your butt back!

If the dowel is coming off of your head, you've got too much rounding by the shoulders.
How do I fix that shiz? Try moving the shoulders back and down. Keep your neck neutral and most importantly, good posture.

More pointers:

1. Not reaching back: Many will not seek to reach backwards maximally with hips.  What to do? Stand one foot away from the wall with the stick on your back and reach backwards until you touch the wall behind you. Once you have achieved success with a number of repetitions, you can then slowly inch forward and repeat until you've found a distance and pattern that allows you to maximally flex your hips while maintaining strict form.

2. Squat instead of hinging: As I previously mentioned, many athletes are unfamiliar with this movement and seek out what they know best.  And in this case it is being knee or quad dominant. Have a partner stand beside you and place their hands or a mat in front of your knees. Now perform the wall motion without touching their hands (or mat) to your knees. 

3. Can’t separate hips from lumbar spine: have a classmate stand to the front of you and while attempting to hinge backwards place your fingertips in the creases of your hip prompting yourself to push your hips backwards towards the wall. If you trust your partner, have them put their fingertips in your creases. This will help even more. 

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