In the last blog post, I discussed an example of the double leg squat progressions that I use when progressing an athlete or client with the squat movement pattern. In this post, I will discuss the double leg hinge (hip) progressions I use. Hip hinge or hip extension exercises can be used both for training and rehabilitation (Distefano, Blackburn, Marshall, & Padua, 2009; Lehecka et al., 2017). A hinge movement involves a movement in one plane that can extend and flex. Many joints, such as the knee and finger joints, are hinge joints that can be moved in only one plane (Brown, 2017). However, the hip can move in multiple planes. In this blog, the word hinge is associated with hip hinge progression or movements in one plane within the hip region.
1) Hip Bridge
The hip bridge movement is an exercise that is aimed to strengthen the hamstrings and is usually prescribed for rehabilitation (Tsaklis et al., 2015). However, the hip bridge can be used as an good baseline movement for hip hinge. When performing the hip bridge, lie on your back (supine position) with the knees flexed and palms on the ground. Then, thrust the hip until the anterior line of the body is straight (as shown in the video link above).
2) Hip Thrusters
The hip thruster movement is an effective exercise that targets the gluteus muscle and bicep femoris (Contreas, Vigotsky, Schoenfeld, Beardsley, & Cronin, 2015). In the video, I demonstrate the body weight hip thruster movement. However, the addition of a barbell or dumbbell can provide more resistance while performing this movement. When performing the hip thruster, start with the gluteus on the ground with the knees flexed and upper trapezius muscle and upper arms resting on the bench. Then, forcefully extend the hips until the anterior line of body fully extends (as shown in the video link above).
3) Band Pull Throughs
The band pull through is a movement that involves a hip hinge while standing. The addition of a resistance band is attached to a vertical post. Before performing the band pull through, grasp the resistance band below your hips while maintaining a tight back with a flexion in the hip. Then, forcefully extend your hips to a stand tall position while maintaining arm extension throughout the full range of motion (as shown in the video link above).
4) Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a movement that involves the addition of a load (ex: dumbbell, barbell, etc.) starting from the hip in a stand tall vertical position. In addition, the RDL has also been show to strengthen the back extensor muscles of body (Mayer, Mooney, & Dagenais, 2008; Piper, 2001; Sheppard, 2003). While performing the RDL, keep the feet flat on the floor and shift the body weight towards the heel. Lower the weight by bending the hips towards or slightly below the knee. Then, return back to the starting position by extending the hips and pulling the bar back to the hip. Be sure to maintain a tight back throughout the full range of motion.
In the strength and conditioning community, the deadlift is seen as an excellent posterior chain exercise used to strengthen the back, hips and hamstrings (Swinton, Stewart, Agouris, Keogh, & Lloyd, 2000). Before executing the Deadlift, start with the barbell on the floor and position the feet under the bar. Be sure that the legs are about hip to shoulder-width apart. Drive the hips back and lean the torso forward while maintaining a tight back. The shoulders should be directly above or slightly in front of the bar. Then, lift the bar to the hip while extending the hips and knees at the same rate.
Brown, L. E. (2017). Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Contreras, B., Vigotsky, A.D., Schoenfeld, B.J., Beardsley, C., & Cronin, J. (2015). A comparison of gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, and vastus lateralis electromyographic activity in the back squat and barbell hip thrust exercises. J Appl Biomech, 31, 452–458.
Distefano, L.J., Blackburn, J.T., Marshall, S.W., & Padua, D.A. (2009) Gluteal muscle activation during common therapeutic exercises. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 39, 532–540.
Lehecka, B.J., Edwards, M., Haverkamp, R., Martin, L., Porter, K., Thach, K., Sack, R.J., & Hakansson, N. A. (2017). Building a better gluteal bridge: electromyographic analysis of hip muscle activity during modified single-leg bridges. Int J Sports Phys Ther, 12, 543.
Mayer, J. M., Mooney, V., & Dagenais, S. (2008). Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with lumbar extensor strengthening exercises. The Spine Journal, 8, 96e113.
Piper, T. J. (2001). Variations of the deadlift. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 23, 66e73.
Sheppard, J. M. (2003). Strength and conditioning exercise selection in speed development. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 25, 26e30.
Swinton, P.A., Stewart, A., Agouris, I., Keogh, J.W.L., Lloyd, R. (2000) A biomechanical analysis of straight and hexagonal barbell deadlifts using submaximal loads. J Strength Cond Res, 25, 2011.
Tsaklis, P., Malliaropoulos, N., Mendiguchia, J., Korakakis, V., Tsapralis, K., Pyne, D., & Malliaras, P. (2015). Muscle and intensity based hamstring exercise classification in elite female track and field athletes: Implications for exercise selection during rehabilitation. Open Access J Sports Med, 26, 209–217.