The Hip Hinge is the fundamental of hip movement. The goal is to flex the hip without bending the spine – In layman’s terms: bend over without rounding your back.
Many low back problems stem from the fact that the average person does not and often cannot hip hinge. As they bend forward and reach towards the ground they get the last bit of motion by letting their spine round. This puts uneven pressure on the intervertebral disc which can lead to a host of problems including herniations.
The major hip hinge exercise is the deadlift. In this movement you learn to pick up loads using your hips rather than your back. Hip Hinging is tricky for a couple of reasons. One is that we aren’t used to moving that way. After ten, twenty, thirty, or even forty years of incorrect movememt it can be difficult to relearn things properly. Another is that many people’s muscles are very imbalanced. Sitting in chairs for example causes a lot of tightness and muscle inhibition which can interfer with the mechanics of the hip hinge.
The hip hinge is important in a host of other exercises including: squats, lunges, hyperextensions, goodmornings, ab rollouts, mountain climbers, and many others.