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How the hip hinge helps fitness and everyday living

Updated: May 27

At Nathan DeMetz Personal Training, the hip hinge is one of our foundational strength movements. Paired with squatting and overhead pressing, these three movements lay a foundation for all other movements. In that statement lies our logic for listing these movements as foundational—if a person can complete these three movements, all others become easier; if a person cannot perform these moments, all others become harder.

You may not be familiar with the term "hip-hinge" but you likely perform this movement every day. Simply put, the hip-hinge is a forward bend at the waist during which the hips move forward and backward or into extension and/or flexion. The hip-hinge is not the only movement that results in hip movement—for example, the squat and other movement do as well—but exercise such as the squat make the movement more leg dominant while true hip hinge exercises such as the deadlift make the movement posterior chain dominant. The hinging of the hips is a common movement everyone will utilize throughout their life, so incorporating this into an exercise routine is ideal.

Hip-hinge movements

There are many hip-hinging exercise you can perform, including:

  • Barbell deadlift

  • Barbell good morning

  • Hyperextension

  • GHD machine

  • Barbell Romanian deadlifts

  • Straight-leg dumbbell deadlift

  • Kettlebell swing

  • Power clean

  • And more

If you're familiar with resistance training at all, you've probably heard of or performed one or more of these movements. The deadlift may be the most common hip-hinge movement in resistance training, but all these movements, and many others, offer benefits directly related to hip hinging.

What are they good for?

If you've every bent over and picked something up without squatting—which everyone has—then you engaged in a hip-hinge movement. Performing this movement allows us to pick stuff up from the ground, bend to take a closer look at something, and many other associated movements. Being able to hip-hinge requires mobility, strength, and balance. For example, if you have tight hips or a stiff lower back, bending at the waist during a hip-hinge movement may be difficult. The same is true if you have weakness in these areas. Performing relevant exercises, such as those listed above, can help.

Muscles worked

Like most movements and exercise, hip-hinging has both primary movers and stabilizers as well as other muscles involved.

Primary movers

The posterior chain (i.e. the backside of the body) is dominant during hip-hinge exercises. The glutes (i.e. your butt), hamstrings (i.e. the back of the thighs), and lower back are the main muscles involved in moving the body through range of motion during these exercises. The glutes and hamstrings are especially involved.


At the same time, tendons, ligaments, and smaller stabilizer muscles help keep you balanced and stabilized as you work through range of motion when performing a hip-hinge exercise. Without these all-important assistance tissues, the primary movers cannot perform their job.

Other muscles worked

In conjunction with the primary movers, your abdominal muscles, obliques, mid back and upper back muscles as well as your deltoids, forearm muscles, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi, among others, come into play. These muscles help stabilize the core when performing the movements and help hold weight when performing weighted versions such as the barbell deadlift.

Improving fitness and everyday living

Using hip-hinge exercise to strengthen your posterior chain and related muscles will help enable you to perform the activities of daily living and improve workout or sports performance. The posterior chain is an all-important, though often under focused, area of the body. If you're not working your posterior chain, you're selling yourself short of your best success.

A number of more detail write-ups are available across the web. If you are interested in learning more about the hip hinge and want demos as well as instructionals in both text and video form, consider visiting the following links:

If you want to learn more about our services, visit the homepage for our site here: We offer a variety of services for training and nutrition. Just visit the page, read the write-up, and visit the links to the service pages to learn more and sign-up.

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Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

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