Sometimes to get all the gains, we have to take a few steps back and really train the fundamentals. Enter: The Hip Hinge. To start things off, your hips are the strongest joints in your body. Hands down. They come in really handy whenever you have to move large loads, or lighter loads for many reps. As Crossfitters, our hips are very important to us. We use them in just about every single workout we do. So we should get really good at using them.
Step 1: Visualize horizontal distance with the hip.
First demoed in the video is 2 reps of a good hip hinge, followed by 2 reps of a poor hip hinge. I stand in front of one of the vertical posts of our rig to give a visual of a straight line down the middle of my body (its not perfect, but you get the idea). The first 2 reps show horizontal distance with my hips. My butt goes back, clearly behind the vertical line of the post. This is good because here, my hips and posterior chain (hamstrings and glutes…etc) are engaged and are the primary movers of this movement. The last 2 reps, my hips stay pretty much in line with the vertical posts of the rig. My weight shifts forward into my toes, balance is hard to maintain, and the primary mover is my back (no bueno!). The last two reps can lead to back pain due to the wrong muscles being over worked, or trying to move heavy weights in a compromised position.
Step 2: Banded Pull Through
These are great for training position, balance, and control through a hip hinge. Attach a band to the vertical post of the rig right at or slightly below hip height. Perform as shown, paying close attention to keeping the belly engaged, glutes squeezed, and driving the knees outward to keep them stationary as your hips slide backwards. (Also dig your big toe into the ground and keep it there, your toes should not lift off the ground)
Step 3: Apply to movements
Moving from the the simple hip hinge in front of a post, to banded pull throughs, it is easy to now see that a Kettlebell swing is simply a hip hinge. As are many of the other movements we do in the gym: deadlifts, any squat variation, the olympic weightlifting movements, push press & jerk, rowing, kipping… the basis and foundation is the hip hinge!
Video tape yourself trying these drills out and then compare to this video or grab a coach! Then be sure to practice these drills consistently until you have them down. I would suggest doing 20 reps of the good hip hinge, then 20 reps banded pull through 3 x per week until it is second nature!