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You Must Learn This Before You Start Training (For Ladies and Gentlemen)

You Must Learn This Before You Start Training (For Ladies and Gentlemen)

In this article I’m going to teach you three things…

1.  Why you need to learn the hip hinge before you begin any type of training program..
2.  The mistakes I come across in just about every client when coaching it.
3.  How to correct these exact errors.


If you cannot perform a proper hip hinge, you should not be attempting some of the most important and popular exercises being taught or performed today. These include the deadlift, kettlebell swings, and rowing variations etc.

In person, I rarely work with someone that can initially perform a good hip hinge.  Without question it usually takes in depth proper teaching, practice, grooving and loading to understand. In simple terms it takes repetition. Actually, proper repetition with the objective to get better is more like it.

The hip hinge is often overlooked in training facilities, rehab centers, and in everyday life. I cannot believe more personal trainers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors, and orthopedics, etc. do not make sure they themselves and their clients or patients know how to perform it.

Since no amount of treatment or therapeutic modality is going to cure this movement, I believe it is my job to teach every single one of you how to do it. It’s not only appropriate but necessary you can feel the difference between loading a movement through your spine (and other unwanted areas), and loading a movement through more appropriate places like your hips and hamstrings.

Whether you are picking up something up and putting it down, shoveling, tying your shoes, or getting up from a toilet seat, a proper hip hinge will spare you the repetitive unwanted trauma that will lead to inefficiency and injury.

Here is what a good hip hinge looks like before I present, assess, and correct common mistakes of it.

pic monk hing


Problem One: The hinge isn’t a squat. 

Hip Hinging involves reaching the hips back, not dropping the butt down. Dropping the butt down, causes your weight to translate forward, not back.

Hip Hinge Mistake One







If you stood with your knees against an object, they would hit it, or you would push it forward. This is incorrect. See what I am talking about in the video below.


      1. Imagine taking a bow, not a curtsey.
      2. Picture someone is standing behind you, wrapped a rope around your waist, and is pulling you backwards
      3. Have a partner stand in front of you, put their hands on the front of your hips (ASIS), and push you backwards as you perform the hinge. If you don’t have a partner, karate chop your own hips while doing this.
      4. Place an object in front of you and don’t let your knees come forward
      5. You should feel your glutes and hamstrings (back of your thighs) loaded and stretched.

If you were standing in front of an object and performing it correctly, your knees wouldn’t touch it at all. Look below to see a hip hinge where the hips are reaching back, but not dropping down:

Or you could even do this next to a wall to help fix your butt dropping problem.

Problem Two (s): Legs remain straight throughout the entire movement, excessive rounding or arching occurs, butt doesn’t go back.

In layman’s terms, excessively rounding or arching the back is not favorable for long term bone, or joint health. This is usually accompanied with straight knees, and the butt not going back as well.

Hyperextended Knees and Lmbar Flexion







      1. Stand close to a wall and put a dowel rod in between your elbow pits (cubital fossa) behind your back.
      2. Reach your butt back to the wall.
      3. Move further away from the wall as you progress.

dowelrod behind back use






Problem Three: Using your lower back, not your hips to finish the lift.

The first mistake I see in this category is “leaning back”. This is where people use lumbar (lower back) extension, instead of hip extenison. The second mistake I see is where people do not use hip extension or their glutes at all. They are both shown in the pictures below.








      • Stand up tall
      • Squeze your glutes/pinch a penny between your butt cheeks
      • Push your hips through.
      • Hump the air.
      • Lock out your knees and hips
      • Keep the ribs down/abdominals tight
      • Get tight like your about to get hit by a bus

Proper Hip Extension








Problem Four: Hyperextending the low back, upper back, and or neck.

This might be less serious than the other problems for the majority of the population, especially seeing some coaches teach this position on purpose. But for the most part learning neutral alignment instead of hyperextending everything is a smarter safer choice. It’ll not only help with performance of other lifts, but create awareness of positioning as well.

Lumbar, thoracic and cervial








  1. Place a dowel rod, tick, broom, or whatever you have onto your back.
  2. Perform the hip hinge.
  3. During the movement make sure it maintains contact with the following three places. The back of your head (occipital region), in between your shoulder blades (scapula), and your tailbone (sacrum).
  4. If you lose contact, something is out of alignment. To correct it, just reassure the dowel rod is in contact with the three areas mentioned above.






If you stuck with me this long so far, thats great! Now let’s take a quick look at some exercises that involve the hip hinge I taught you above. I left out pictures of kettlebell swings,  good mornings and certain Olympic lifts etc. Just note exercises other than the ones presented below will require you know the hip hinge in order to be performed.

Bent over barbell rowing:







Bent Over Rear Deltoid Raises:

Rear Delt Raises Bottom

Stiff Legged Deadlifts:








And finally, a short clip of the conventional deadlift using the hip hinge correctly.

By learning the hip hinge you will not only enhance your physique and performance, but prevent injury and increase your training years more than you can imagine. It will also help you look like you’re an advanced trainee, lifter, gym rat or whatever you want to call it. Whether you’re at a gym, moving a sofa, picking up grocery bags, or playing with your child at a bouncy house, you will be a master of this movement anywhere you go if you implement what I just showed you.

P.S. If and only if this post helps you please feel free to share it with anyone you believe could benefit from it.

About Justin Rivelli

Justin Rivelli has been training clients online and in-person at his private gym in Berkshire County, Massachusetts for over 15 years. He specializes in helping 35 to 65 year old adults improve their body composition with well-rounded fitness plans that suit their needs, wants, and lifestyle. You can find out more about him at


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