The Magic of the Hip Hinge

The Magic of the Hip Hinge 

One of the most important postures we practice is the hip hinge because it helps prevent painful low back and hip problems –  in and out of the gym.

A CBFer passed along this really good article about the hip hinge. No surprise, the article shows photos of the hip hinge exemplified by people in “primitive” countries who must perform hours of hard physical work while bent over.

In contrast, de-conditioned people in “advanced” countries who don’t know how to hip hinge and sit for hours slumped in front of computers, smart phones and TV, crowd emergency rooms and medical provider offices, complaining of low back pain.  When they had to shovel snow, pick up a sock, or even bend over the sink to brush their teeth, they “pulled something.” Then, too often, they’re prescribed an addicting narcotic or muscle relaxant.


CBFers learn to make it automatic. It’s simple. You slightly tilt your pelvis forwards, as in the picture above. This immediately allows two important things to happen:

First, the weight of the torso and everything that might be held or lifted, to be transferred from the lower back muscles (back extensors) to the powerful hip and leg muscles (hamstrings and glutes).

Second, the tilt locks the lower back (lumbar spine) to the pelvis, maintaining that slight curve in the lower back. This relieves pressure on the soft discs and nerves between the vertebrae, which can compress, pinch and damage them.

The hip hinge is especially important for un-young adults. The low back/hip area is where the body’s most powerful muscles and connective tissues converge. it is also the center of gravity in most movements. With aging, shrinking discs between, and bone spurs forming on vertebra, are more common, making sensitive nerves more vulnerable.

That’s why in any exercise at CBF that involves lifting – like kettllebell swings and deadlifts, dummy flips, dumbbells, barbarian squats – starts with a hip hinge.

If you never got anything else from your time at CBF, make sure to take the protective magic of the hip hinge with you. It can save you a lot of pain and money out there in your daily life where you really need it.

As orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas DiNubile warns in his book “Framework for the Lower Back,” if you forget good back posture: ”You can get in more trouble picking up a feather off the floor than you can trying to pick up a 100-pound barbell.”