The Hinge is one of the most functional movements we do as humans.
Don’t believe me?
Ever pick anything up from the ground?
Yep, that’s a hinge.
Next, to the squat, the hinge is one of the most important movements you can do with your lower body.
Although this movement is natural for us as humans, as we get older we have the tendency to not perform it as well.
Ever hear of someone throwing out their back?
We sure have.
Ever hear of someone throwing out their back picking up something light?
Yep, we’ve seen that as well.
How to do you perform a proper hinge?
Superman + Instagram + Press the Ham
We learned this protocol from our friends at Onnit Academy.
Here is the breakdown
Pretend you’re Clark Kent about to rip off his work shirt to reveal a Superman emblem.
Pump up your chest, retract your shoulder blades. Hands at your sides, Elbows pinching back.
We’ve all seen the Instagram models pushing their butt back in the perfect lighting to get some extra likes.
You can skip the part where you look back and pucker your lips.
All we want is the idea of leading the hinge with our butt going back.
Press the Ham
At one time, it was the ultimate boy prank to moon someone. Yep that’s right pressing the butt (Ham) back to a window gave you a laugh that lasted hours.
The hinge is not different.
Once you supermaned, instagramed, its time to press those hamstrings and glutes back away from your toes.
Keep all parts engaged during this movement and you will find yourself hinging like a pro.
So now that we know that hinges are paramount for not only us to perform as humans, how to perform the movement in theory it’s time to learn how to apply it to movements you see inside and outside the gym.
Movement #1 – Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
In the demonstration, you will see this movement performed with a kettlebell, but feel free to use a dumbbell, a barbell, heck even a can of soup.
The goals of the single-leg Romanian Deadlift are
- Develop Symmetry – If one leg is stronger than the other you will be compensating when intensity goes up. The more imbalanced you are to one side versus the other your chance of injury increases. Working the Single-Leg RDL allows you to fix any issues any asymmetries so you are not compensating.
- Balance – When performing the SL RDL you will see that you have to focus on balance. Proper weight distribution over your foot allows you to not only perform the SL RDL well but also teaches you how to push through your entire foot which is key if so you do not compensate up the chain (low back, upper back)
- Recruit the posterior chain – You know you’re performing this right if you feel your hamstrings, glutes, and upper back working. What’s great about this starting hinge movement is that the load is usually lighter so you can focus on form and recruiting proper muscle groups.
We recommend performing the SL RDL in your warmups as well as during strength sessions. For Warmup perform 6-8 reps per leg x 2-3 sets. For strength sessions, lower rep range to 4-6 reps per leg and up the sets to 3-4.
Movement #2 – Romanian Deadlift
The goals of the single-leg Romanian Deadlift are
- Develop Double Leg Hinge Pattern – The Clean Grip Romanian Deadlift -of pressure on each side
- Upper back & Lat Engagement – In order to keep the bar close to you your grip, upper back, and lats must be firing. We want the bar to be as close as it can be without rubbing against you. The closer the bar the easier it is to keep your back tight.
- Posterior Leg Strength – To fully develop your hamstrings you will need to create and keep tension in them. The RDL is the perfect movement to develop this type of ability
We recommend performing the RDL in your strength sessions. For Strength, we recommend 6-8 reps x 3-4 sets. For muscle building, we recommend 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets
Movement #3 – Double Kettlebell Deadlift
The goals of the Double Kettlebell Deadlift are
- Develop functional Pattern – Most things we pick up off the ground are at our sides. Grocery bags, suitcases, and other objects start at our sides.
- Create Tension- As you hinge to pick up an object before you pick it up, we’d like to see your feet pushing through the floor, back tight, grip strong before picking up the kettlebells. At the beginning of this blog, we mentioned you can throw your back out picking up even light things, the lack of tension is cause.
- Overall Leg drive- In the double kb deadlift, you will use more quad than the other deadlifts (SL RDL, RDL, Barbell Deadlift). In nature, this is more than okay :).
We recommend performing Double Kettlebell Deadlift in your strength sessions. For Strength, we recommend 6-8 reps x 3-4 sets. For muscle building, we recommend 10-12 reps x 3-4 sets
Movement #4 – Clean Grip Deadlift
The goals of the Clean Grip Deadlift
- All of the functions in the Clean Grip RDL Section
- Create Tension- As you hinge to pick up an object before you pick it up, we’d like to see your feet pushing through the floor, back tight, grip strong before picking up the kettlebells. At the beginning of this blog, we mentioned you can throw your back out picking up even light things, the lack of tension is a cause.
- Improve in the CrossFit – The Clean Grip Deadlift is the only deadlift that we see inside the CrossFit World. So, if you’d like to improve in the CrossFit, we must be training this.
The Clean Grip Deadlift can be trained in a variety of rep ranges. For strength, we recommend anywhere from 1-5 reps x 3-5 sets. For muscle building, we recommend 8-12 reps x 3-5 sets. For CrossFit we recommend a variety of rep ranges and volume. Be smart here and build gradually.
Movement #5 – Kettlebell Swing
The goals of the Kettlebell Swing
- Recruit & Develop the posterior chain – You know you’re performing this right if you feel your hamstrings, glutes, and upper back working. What’s great about this starting hinge movement is that the load is usually lighter so you can focus on form and recruiting proper muscle groups.
- Cardiovascular development – gone are the days where we need to waste hours on an elliptical and treadmill to get cardio. The Kettlebell swing can give you the aerobic response you’ve been searching for.
The KB Swing can be trained in a variety of rep ranges. Keep it light and go high volume. Go heavier to focus more on muscle development.