The Hip Hinge – its role in a squat

In our personal training studio we find again and again, that people are challenged to squat and deadlift. Today, we are going to talk about the hip hinge.

The squat although a knee dominant movement is still dependent on a proper hip hinge movement. What does that mean for you?

While doing a squat you should bend in your knees and hips at the same time with approximately the same angles. What happens instead is people push their knees way forward and often inwards and the back bends over instead of  using the hip as a hinge. If you are loading heavy weight at the same time you are throwing your back under the bus.

So the key for you is to be able to hinge properly out of the hip before attempting to squat. The following exercise was designed to work on the hip hinge. Notice the small bend in the knees and the strong hip movement? This is not a squat but simply an exercise designed to work on your ability to use the gluts and hamstring in a hip hinge movement. As a preparation this exercise is great. The hip is pushing back against the wall, the back is staying straight.

Now after being able to use the hip start integrating it into the squat. After going down with bending in your hip and knees (thighs to parallel, imagine spreading your feet as you push up. That will activate your butt muscles better.

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the back squat due to its heavy stress on the back. For that reason and due to its functionality we have increasingly used the single leg squat at Shape Up Fitness & Wellness Consulting.

Here you see a female Olympian performing a single leg squat:

I hope I was able to make you aware of the importance of a proper hip movement during the squat.


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