Jan 1, 2013

Proper Spine Position for Hip Hinging

Daniel Guzman, BS, CSCS

The Deadlift is an extremely beneficial movement that when coached correctly can result in serious strength and power gains, but before you take on this powerful hip-dominant movement, you need to master the hip hinge.

It All Starts with the Spine

First, you have to teach your athletes how to correctly position and stabilize their spines before you even lift a load. I start by using a dowel (PVC, Wood), to help my athletes find three points of connection: head, Thoracic Spine, and sacrum (or top of your butt). Use a picture or video to show this. A few reasons an athlete may not be able to start here, could be horrible posture (usually in a kyphotic state), or the occasional ponytail which can offset the dowel (I'm serious).

The Magic Dowel

Once your athlete can maintain those 3 points of contact with the dowel we can coach the hip hinge. First set your feet at hip width. grip the floor with your feet and neveret them come off the ground. Now the hip hinge is the primary movement of this lift where the hips are moving from flexion to extension (or in our beginning stages extension to flexion). The key to coaching this part is to enforce maintaining the 3 points of contact throughout the entire movement. When returning to hip extension we want to reinforce squeezing the glutes to finish the movement. Make sure you look to see if your athlete is using their spine to finish the movement or their glutes!

Coaching cues to perform the movement:
  • big chest, chin tucked, shoulders back
  • squeeze the glutes at hip extension
  • brace your torso and create stiffness before starting the movement 

Spine Position will make a huge difference for you and your clients' overall physical health. When taught correctly, this movement carries over into many different lifts and will set your clients up for success.

Originally published on Daniel's blog Daniel Guzman Strength and Conditioning

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