The Almighty Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is one of the most effective movements for building real strength and size throughout the entire backside: glutes, hamstrings, and the lower, middle, and upper back. The hinge pattern is used in several exercises, but here's generally what we're talking about:

1 – Bend at the hips

Rather than bending over at the spine, bend from the hip joint by setting the hips back posteriorly as far and as naturally as possible. This, in a nutshell, is the definition of a hip hinge.

2 – Keep the hips tall throughout

Imagine two strings, one attached to the hips/butt and the other attached to the chest. One string is pulling the chest down towards the ground to create a forward torso lean (a critical component of a hip hinge), while the other string is puling the butt/hips up in the air, keeping them tall.

3 – Maintain a soft knee position

Rather than attempting to keep the legs straight or overly stiff, the knees need to have a slight bend or "soft knee" position (15-20 degrees of knee bend) while keeping the hips tall.

When the knees are overly straight (similar to the dangerous stiff-leg deadlift position), it places undue stress on the lower hamstring insertion and tendon, making the lifter vulnerable to tears and hamstring injuries as well as sciatic issues. It also places unnecessary strain on the vertebral column.


1) An ass of steal (posterior chain strength).
2) More speed and power.
3) Reduced chance of knee injury.
4.) Stronger core.

5.) Athletic Position

The hip hinge is an interchangeable term for “athletic position.”

So what does this look like?

If you envision it being as cool as your favorite athlete… than that’s it.

I’d argue he’s probably in a solid athletic position: hips back, chest out, knees softly bent, so that he’s ready to dodge left or right at any given moment. If he were stiff-legged and too tall, he’d get rocked and die.

Once the hip hinge is mastered, athletes and yourself

If our torso is too tall, we’re unable to achieve a small shin angle, which doesn’t allow us to exert maximum force into ground and utilize the quadriceps and calves to accelerate quickly and change direction at rapid speed.

Name every power exercise you know and the hip hinge is a part of the movement.

Kettlebell swings, power cleans, snatches, hang cleans, kettlebell snatches, box jumps, and medicine ball slams….. and the list goes on!


Check out our online training options where we focus on the proper development of the posterior chain.