Doing a heavy deadlift will make you feel strong and powerful. Unfortunately, it often comes at the expense of proper form. It’s easy to get deadlifting wrong; a rounded back that could snap clean in half at any minute. It hurts to watch.
So what are some of the causes of doing a deadlift incorrectly?
One of the main causes is that your hip hinge isn’t solid enough to support the weight. The hip hinge is the fundamental movement pattern for the deadlift, as well as the kettlebell swing, Romanian deadlift, good morning, and explosive barbell movements like cleans and snatches. If you’re not performing the hip hinge correctly, you’re not performing these movements correctly—and that means you may potentially be at risk of injury.
You shouldn’t do deadlifts, or cable pull-throughs, or good mornings, or even pick up heavy everyday objects, until you master the hip hinge. It’s not an easy movement to master and get right, and it’s not one that many of us have the opportunity to learn or practice outside of the gym.
A hip hinge is not a squat. Perfecting the hip hinge will help your squat, and vice versa, but the two movements are separate and very different.
So What Is a Hip Hinge?
The hip hinge is any flexion or extension originating at the hips that involves a posterior weight shift. With the hip hinge, you maintain a neutral spine and bend at the hips, not the lower back. This pattern relieves stress off of the lumbar spine and can prevent a whole host of injuries. Just watch any toddler bend down to pick up an object and you will observe a perfect hip hinge. It’s a shame we unlearn this movement pattern as we become adults.
How to practice your Hip Hinge
Find a wall and stand about three inches away from the wall, with you back facing the wall, try to tap the wall with your butt only. To do this, you have to stick your butt out and hinge at the hips. Once you’ve done this from three inches, step away from the wall another inch and repeat the same movement. Finally, step another inch forward and execute a full hip hinge. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and your knees should only have a soft bend in them.
Practice this regularly, and master it to lift heavier with your deadlifts! Our Melbourne personal trainers (and other locations) are excited to help you out!
Coach ‘It’s all in the hips’ Michelle