The hinge movement pattern is about bending at the waist while using very little knee bend. The hinge pattern is about sitting back, (pushing our hips backward), maintaining a neutral spine, and then strongly contracting the glute muscles to return to the starting position. In sports, the hip hinge allows athletes to transfer force and power from the lower body to the upper body. Exercises that use the hip hinge are deadlifts, kettlebell swings, hip thrusts and RDL’s, (Romanian deadlifts).
The hip hinge pattern is different than the squat pattern. In the squat pattern, your body bends at both the hips and the knees in almost equal proportions. In the hip hinge, there is little movement in the knees.
In other words:
Hip Hinge = maximal hip bend, minimal knee bend.
Squat = maximal hip bend, maximal knee bend.
The hip hinge is important when we need to pick up heavy loads safely. The hip hinge is important in the development of our glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles. Many training programs neglect the posterior chain or the back of the body. The hip hinge works the posterior chain which helps keep our body in balance, reducing the chance of injury and helps overcome some of the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
The hip hinge is one of the basic movement patterns that should be incorporated into every fitness program. Mastering the hip hinge will improve your ability to perform daily activities that require lifting as well as improve athletic performance.