When beginning a new exercise program, it is important to set the foundation for proper movement patterns. We often spend time teaching clients how to re-train their bodies to move in proper alignment within key movement patterns before moving on to more complex exercises with load.
Key Movement Patterns
A key movement pattern is an action that our body performs routinely in our everyday life. As we get older, some movements can sometimes become more challenging or even painful. Training exercises that help us with these movements can allow us to continue performing ‘activities of daily living’ or ADLs such as showering, using the washroom, brushing teeth, brushing hair etc. Other exercises can help us keep the ability to easily perform other activities such as getting up from the floor, getting up and down stairs more easily, and getting in and out of chairs or vehicles with more ease.
What is a Hip Hinge?
The hip hinge is a motion that uses our lower and upper body. It involves bending your hips, bending your knees while keeping your spine in a neutral position. It is used in movements such as bending over and sitting to standing. Hip hinging engages all the posterior chain muscles (back, glutes, hamstrings) as well as the abdominals. Sitting all day can lead to weakness is the abdominals and tightness in the lower back. Often people will lower back pain can work on movement patterns such as the hip hinge in order to improve postural control in bending forward. The hip hinge is a primary movement that, when done regularly and correctly will improve other daily movements such as the squat.
How to Hip Hinge
The starting point of the movement is standing in a controlled upright position with shoulders depressed, head and chest upright. The end position is slight bend in the knee, hips bent and your spine neutral with your shoulder blades pulled back slightly. This movement is performed very slowly and should take anywhere from 3-5 seconds to lower and 3-5 seconds to raise back to the starting position. You will feel a pull in the back of your upper leg during this movement and that is your indication to not lower any further. Abdominal muscles are engaged throughout the whole movement to prevent any injury. Those that are more flexible will be able to lower further than those with tight hamstrings.