The Hip Hinge: The Secret to Everyday Mobility

Hip hinge while doing a good morning exercise

The hip hinge is an essential part of everyday life. Whether picking up a heavy object, walking across the room, or jumping into the air, this fundamental movement pattern can help you do it more efficiently and safely.

The hip hinge is one of the most important foundational movements that goes beyond just basic fitness. For example, it’s essential for successful weight training, as it helps you move heavier weights more safely and efficiently. Plus, mastering the hip hinge will help you build strength, add muscle mass, and increase power output during athletic activities. So, if you want to take your fitness up a notch, it’s worth understanding how to execute the hip hinge correctly. So, let’s get started! 

Definition and Explanation

What is a hip hinge?

A hip hinge is a movement pattern that builds strength in the lower body and core muscles. It involves bending at the hips while keeping your knees straight while you move your torso forward or backward, often with external weight. This movement is beneficial for exercises like deadlifts, kettlebell swing, and good mornings, which can help improve power, balance and stability.

Benefits of Hip Hinge Movements

A hip hinge movement is unique in comparison to a squat, which involves motion at the hip and knee joint while causing your spine to adjust. On top of that, this particular activity particularly works the posterior muscles. Contrastingly, squats focus mainly on developing your quadriceps.

Utilizing the hip hinge movement is optimal for producing power and force from a biomechanical standpoint. This efficient technique transfers force through your kinetic chain, beginning at your feet and running through your hips and torso before finally reaching your arms.

How to Perform a Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is a biomechanical process involving the hip joint’s movement. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the pelvis, which allows for a wide range of motion, including flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, and rotation.

Hip flexion occurs when you hinge forward at your waist; extending happens as you stand up straight again by increasing the angle between your thighs and torso. As the movement starts, the hips move backwards, which causes flexion at the hip joint. As the movement progresses, the hips move forward, which causes hip extension at the hip joint. 

When performing a hip hinge, make sure to pivot primarily using the hip joint, not your lower back, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the motion.

How does it differ from other movement patterns?

Unlike other movement patterns, the hip hinge involves a more limited range of motion. It focuses on engaging your glutes and hamstrings for stability, as well as activating your core muscles to maintain balance. 

While regular squats and lunges involve a full range of motion from standing to squatting, the hip hinge is much shorter. This makes it an excellent movement for strengthening your lower body and core muscles without putting too much strain on your joints. 

The hip hinge is also effective for building power and explosive strength, making it well-suited to sports like weightlifting, CrossFit and other dynamic activities.

Common Exercises That Incorporate the Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is a foundational movement pattern that plays a vital role in many exercises. It involves bending at the hips to generate power from the posterior chain while keeping the spine stable and neutral. Common exercises that incorporate the hinge movement are:


This exercise targets most of the major muscles in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings are a great way to build power and explosiveness. They involve using the hip hinge motion to generate momentum and drive the kettlebell up and forward.

Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian Deadlift is an isolation exercise that specifically targets your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. It involves hinging at the hips while keeping the spine neutral and lowering the barbell to just above your toes.

Good Mornings

This exercise is similar to the Romanian deadlift but targets more of the lower back muscles. It involves hinging at the hips with a barbell across your shoulders and then standing up while maintaining a neutral spine.

All these exercises can all be incorporated into a comprehensive training program to help strengthen and improve your hip hinge. When performing these exercises, it is essential to maintain correct form to ensure that you are targeting the correct muscles and avoiding injury.

Importance of Proper Form During a Hip Hinge

Hip hinge

To properly hinge is an important and integral movement pattern in many sports and activities, such as golf, weight lifting, running and skiing. 

The hip hinge exercise is also a great way to reinforce proper posture by teaching the body how to move efficiently when bending at the hip joint. In addition, having good form during this movement can help reduce the risk of injury, optimize performance and improve range of motion.

Maintaining a Neutral Spine

As mentioned, hip hinge exercises develop strength and power around the legs and hips. However, proper form is essential when performing these exercises, as it prevents injury and ensures target muscles activate correctly. 

Maintaining a neutral spine is one of the most important aspects of proper form when performing a hip hinge. When hinging, the spine should remain straight throughout the movement. A neutral maintains the natural curves in the lower back and reduces strain on the back, neck and hips.

Engaging Core Muscles

Another essential form requirement during is engaging the core muscles. Keeping the abs (including the Transverse Abdominus) and obliques contracted during a hip hinge helps maintain a neutral spine, which helps protect the lower back from injury. Additionally, engaging your core will help ensure target muscles are recruited correctly during the movement.

Activate your Glutes

The glutes are a key muscle group during a hip hinge. Engaging the glutes helps to ensure that the hips and legs are doing most of the movement rather than relying on the lower back or shoulders. Additionally, engaging the glutes will help engage other muscle groups involved in hip hinging such as the hamstrings.

Ensuring a Controlled Movement

It is important that during hinging, the movement is done in a controlled manner. When hinging, the action should be slow and deliberate, with the torso close to vertical. The steady, controlled movement helps ensure proper form and will help recruit target muscles correctly. Additionally, performing a hip hinge properly in a controlled manner will help to prevent any injuries caused by jerky movements.

By following the above points, maintaining proper form when performing a hip hinge can be achieved. These tips will help you get the most out of your training and reduce the risk of injury. Proper form is essential for making gains and staying safe, so be sure to keep it in mind during your hip hinging exercises.

Risks of Improper Form and Potential Injuries with hip hinge movements

Improper Form Risks

Hip hinge exercises are some of the most effective in developing strength and mobility in the lower body. However, improper form can lead to several risks. To perform the exercise correctly, you must maintain a neutral spine and keep your chest up throughout the movement. Allowing your back to round places extra strain on the lower back muscles and can lead to injury. Additionally, if you go too heavy or move too quickly, this can also increase the risk of injury.

Injuries Related to Hip Hinge Movements

The most common injuries related to hip hinge movements are lower back strains and sprains. These can occur due to improper form, adding too much weight, or moving too quickly during the exercise. 

Suffering from a pre-existing injury in the lower back, hips, or knees, performing hip hinge movements could aggravate your injury and cause further damage. Therefore, it is essential to consult with a recognized healthcare professional before performing any hip hinge exercises if you are unsure whether it is safe for you to do so.

Targeting the Correct Muscle Groups with a Hip Hinge

Activate posterior chain muscles during a hip hinge

Muscles involved in hip Hinge

  1. Glutes: The glutes, specifically the gluteus maximus, are the primary muscle group involved in the hip hinge movement pattern. They are responsible for extending the hips, the main movement during a hip hinge.
  2. Hamstrings: The hamstrings, specifically the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus, also play a significant role in the hip hinge movement. They work with the glutes to extend the hips and are also responsible for knee flexion.
  3. Lower back: The lower back muscles, specifically the erector spinae, are also involved in the hip hinge movement pattern. They maintain a neutral spine and help stabilize the body during the movement.
  4. Core muscles: The core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, are also engaged during the hip hinge movement. They work to maintain a stable and neutral spine and provide support to the lower back.
  5. Trapezius: The trapezius muscles are also engaged during the hip hinge movement. They stabilize the shoulders and upper back and help maintain good posture throughout the movement.
  6. Adductors: The adductors muscles (inner thighs) also play a role in hip hinging as they help to keep the hips level and stable during the movement.

Types of Muscles Involved in a Hip Hinge

A hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern that activates muscles throughout the posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors. The primary mover of this exercise is the gluteus maximus, the largest gluteal muscle. This muscle helps to extend and externally rotate the hip, giving you more power when performing a hip hinge. Additionally, the hamstrings and spinal erectors act as stabilizers in this exercise, helping to keep your spine in its neutral position while moving through the hinge motion.

Benefits of Targeting the Correct Muscles

The benefits of focusing on these specific muscle groups during a hip hinge are numerous:

  1. You can improve your performance in many exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and lunges, by activating and strengthening these muscles.
  2. Working on these areas helps to improve posture by alleviating back pain and promoting good spinal alignment.
  3. Targeting these muscle groups can also enhance balance and stability, which is essential for proper form in any exercise.

Technique for Properly Executing a Hip Hinge

  1. When performing a hip hinge, it’s essential to focus on engaging the correct muscles and maintaining good form throughout the movement.
  2. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly wider than hip-width.
  3. Next, engage your core,
  4. Bend at the hips and pushing your glutes back as you bend forward.
  5. Make sure to keep a slight knee bend, and
  6. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  7. Once you’ve reached the bottom of the hinge, pause for a moment before driving your hips forward to come back up.
  8. Make sure to keep your chest and shoulders up throughout the entire exercise, as this will help to protect your spine.

Take your time and focus on engaging the correct muscles to ensure proper form and reap the full benefits of this exercise. Hip hinging is an important exercise for strengthening the posterior chain, improving posture, and aiding in balance and stability. To get the most out of this movement, it’s essential to understand which muscles are involved and how to properly execute the exercise. With proper technique, you can safely strengthen and build your posterior chain, improve posture, and enhance balance and stability.

Comparison to Other Movement Patterns and Muscular Targeting

Comparing a Hip Hinge to a Squat

When comparing a hip hinge to a squat, it’s important to understand that both exercises target different muscle groups. The primary mover in a squat is the quadriceps (front of the thigh muscles), whereas the primary mover in a hip hinge is the glutes and hamstrings. Additionally, the squat has a more vertical movement pattern than the hip hinge, which has a more horizontal pattern.

Other movement patterns

In addition to the hip hinge and squat, several other movement patterns target particular muscles. For example, a lunge puts more emphasis on the quadriceps, while a deadlift works more on the lower back and glutes. Additionally, exercises such as bent-over rows or pull-ups work the upper body muscles like your lats and biceps. By understanding the muscles targeted by different activities, you can better tailor your workouts to achieve maximum results.

Tips for Maximizing Muscle Activation During a Hip Hinge

  1. Engage the Core: An essential element to executing a successful hip hinge is engaging your core muscles before performing any movement. Doing so will provide stability and support, helping to ensure the action is done correctly.
  2. Squeeze Glutes: Before initiating a hip hinge, squeezing the glutes muscles to activate them throughout the exercise is important. This will help promote proper form and increase muscle activation.
  3. Increase Range of Motion: Increasing the range of motion during a hip hinge can help to maximize muscle activation. As you become more comfortable and confident with the movement, slowly increase the range of motion to ensure you maximize your results.
  4. Maintain Proper Form: Maintaining proper form while performing a hip hinge is crucial to ensure the movement is completed correctly and efficiently. Make sure to keep your back straight and hips pushed back as you lower, ensuring your core is engaged throughout the entire exercise.
  5. Utilize Resistance Training: Incorporating resistance training into your hip hinge can maximize muscle activation and ensure you get the most out of every exercise. Resistance can be done with weights, bands or bodyweight exercises, depending on your preference.

These tips can maximize muscle activation during a hip hinge and ensure you get the most out of each exercise. With proper form and execution, you will soon see results in no time!

Incorporating the Hip Hinge Into Your Workout Routine

The hip hinge can be integrated into most workout routines to target specific muscle groups, improve coordination and mobility, and correct posture. 

Start by incorporating it into your warm-up routine to help loosen tight muscles and activate key muscles in preparation for a workout. 

Next, try adding sets of bodyweight hip hinges before you start any strength training or bodybuilding exercises. Hip hinge can also do this exercise with weights such as kettlebells or barbells to increase the difficulty. 

As you progress, add more reps and sets to your routine or increase the weight to challenge yourself further.

It is essential to keep good form during hip hinges and focus on maintaining a flat back and keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise. With consistent practice, the hip hinge can become an essential part of any workout routine.

Integrating Hip Hinge Variations Into Your Workout Routine

When integrating hip hinge variations into your workout routine, it is important to start with light weights and focus on proper form before adding more weight or reps. Cueing can also be helpful, such as pushing through the heels or engaging the core throughout the movement. 

As you progress, add more challenging variations, such as single-leg hip hinge exercises or weighted hip hinges with a kettlebell or dumbbell. 

With repetition and proper form, these exercises can help to strengthen your posterior chain muscles, improve posture and increase balance and coordination.

Progress and Increase Difficulty in Hip Hinge Exercises

Progressing and increasing the difficulty of your hip hinge exercises is essential to maximize results. As you become more comfortable with the movement, try increasing the weight or range of motion. You can also add pauses at the bottom of the exercise or incorporate single-leg exercises into your routine. Gradually progressing your hip hinge exercises can maximize muscle activation and ensure you get the most out of each activity.

By following these tips, you can easily incorporate hip hinge exercises into your workout routine and see results in no time! As long as you focus on proper form, maintain a challenging level of intensity, and progress accordingly, you will be sure to maximize your results.

Incorporating Hip Hinge Exercises Into Your Daily Life

Benefits of Incorporating Hip Hinges daily activities

Incorporating hip hinges into your daily life can have several benefits. This exercise strengthens and stabilizes your posterior chain muscles, often neglected when performing other activities. It also helps to improve core strength, stability, and flexibility in the hips and legs, which leads to improved posture, better balance and coordination, and overall increased performance in other physical activities.

How to Incorporate Hip Hinges Into Your Everyday Life

Incorporating hip hinges into your everyday life is simple and requires no equipment or special training. Start by including the movement into your daily routine, such as while brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. You can also incorporate hip hinges into stretches by adding a slight bend in the knees and pushing through the heels to activate the posterior chain muscles. In addition, you can use hip hinges for dynamic warm-ups before any physical activity.

Final Thoughts

Hip hinge exercises are a great way to strengthen and activate your posterior chain muscles. Incorporating hip hinge exercises into your workout routine can improve posture, balance, coordination, and overall performance in other physical activities. 

By gradually increasing the intensity or weight of hip hinge exercises, you can maximize muscle activation and ensure you get the most out of each exercise. With repetition and proper form, these exercises can become a significant part of any workout routine.

Now that you understand hip hinges and how to incorporate them into your everyday life, it’s time to start incorporating them into your routine! Start slow, focus on proper form, and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as you progress. With dedication and hard work, you will be sure to benefit from incorporating hip hinges into your workout routine. Good luck!


PostureGeek.com does not provide medical advice. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical attention. The information provided should not replace the advice and expertise of an accredited health care provider. Any inquiry into your care and any potential impact on your health and wellbeing should be directed to your health care provider. All information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care or treatment.

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