Ten Hip Hinge Progressions to Treat Low Back Pain

The Hip Hinge is the most important movement to master when treating low back pain. By keeping movement at out hips and center of gravity over our weight bearing joints we protect our low back from early wear and tear.

At our clinic we like to remind patients that the goal of the hip hinge exercise isn't simply to understand the movement (so we perform when consciously thinking about it), but to make it automatic so our body automatically defaults to the position when something unexpected happens. That only happens through repetition and progressively challenging variations. 

The following 10 hip hinge progressions will help you ingrain the hip hinge pattern and transition to more athletic movements.

1. Hero Squats

Hero Squats are a good place to start with those who are having trouble keeping movement at the hips and/or unclocking as their hips to initiate the movement. By taking the knees out of the equation patients are forced to hinge at the hips.


2. Butt Taps

Progressing to a standing position, butt taps are good for those who need work on unlocking at the hips. Having the wall as a cue and 'reaching' back with your hips is a great way to teach clients how to keep their center of gravity over their weight bearing joints.


3. Three Point Contact Hinge

Once the concept on unlocking at the hips is mastered, we need to focus on keeping a neutral spine. This is best introduced with the three point contact hip hinge. Keeping the PVC on the back of the head, thoracic spine, and pelvis is a nice cue to keep the spine neutral when going through the movement.


4. Banded Hip Hinge

Now that unlocking at the hips and neutral spine can be maintained, it's time to further engrain the pattern by adding resistance. The banded hip hinge is an easy way to add resistance to the hip hinge pattern.


5. Weighted Hip Hinge

Incorporate heavier weights and begin transition to more functional movements (lifting) with the weighted hip hinge. Also a great hamstring mobilization tool!


6. KB Lift

Now that we've learned to hinge and recognize how to build tension in the hamstrings, we can use that tension to safely lift weight up off the floor. KB Lift is a great way to train proper lifting technique


7. Hinge to Squat

The Hinge easily lends itself to other functional movements including the squat. The Hinge to squat teaches the body how to transition the hip hinge to the squat movement.


8. Banded Pull Through

With the hip hinge mastered, it's now time to learn how to use the hinge to generate power from the hips for more athletic activities. Banded Pull Throughs are a great way to safely train the hip thrust.


9. KB Swing

When done correctly, Kettlebell Swings help further engrain the hip hinge pattern while also teaching out bodies how to generate power from the hips. Lifting the weight involved shooting the hips forward (using the momentum to lift weight) while 'catching' the weight should be done in a perfect hinge position.


10. Clean

The most advanced movement and will likely take months to years to master. The clean uses the hip hinge, lift, hip thrust, and full squat to accomplish - demonstrating a clear understanding of mvoement patterns and full body mobiliy/stability. Keep in  mind that professional athletes spend years of their life mastering this movement and is very hard to perfect.


Evolve Performance Healthcare combines full body chiropractic care, manual therapy, and therapeutic fitness programs to help individuals find sustainable pain relief and improved confidence. Should you have any questions, please don't hesistate to reach out.

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