Fortnightly Note

Learning the Hinge Pattern


As a fundamental human movement pattern, learning the hinge pattern is important if you're to be able to fully express your body's movement ability.

While we all retain some level of the ability to perform the hip hinge pattern - it is fundamental after all - many people no longer perform it well. Picking items up from the floor should initiate the use of this pattern. Instead, most people simply use poor mechanics and bend from the lumbar spine, not the hips.

At the base of this pattern is correct core activation and neutral spine, which you need to be able to maintain throughout the hip hinge movement.

In order to do so, you need to pattern a movement where you break at the hips first, while maintaining the trunk "cylinder" in its strongest form. As demonstrated in the video, this means keeping your diaphragm and pelvic floor parallel to each other, not allowing a "kink" in the "walls" of the cylinder.

This is arguably the most important cue to remember when learning the hinge pattern because the common hyperextension of the lumbar spine that many people use in an effort to "keep a neutral spine" becomes a weakness as the loads being lifted get heavier.

The cues are very simple...

  • Activate the core "cylinder" and maintain it.
  • Break at the hips - use the heels of your hands in the hip creases for proprioceptive feedback.
  • At the end of the movement, you should be pointing your belly button at the floor (or as close as your mobility will allow).

Will Newton

In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions.
My interest in getting the best results for people who train for health and fitness or the love of sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results.
My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

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