In today's installment of the supplemental and accessory exercise series, I discuss the hinge pattern and my favorite exercise to use early on as a regression to teach the hinge, in addition to my two favorite exercises used to build the barbell deadlift.
Using The Kettle Bell Swing To Teach Proper Hinging
Teaching a proper hinging of the hips while keeping the spine neutral can be very easy, but often times it is made to be much harder than it actually has to be. Once a proper hinge progression is taught (I may discuss this in a future article), the kettle bell swing is one of my favorite exercises to use in order to help rehearse the pattern, as it is very repeatable and simplified. In addition, using the kettle bell swing can ensure that you are not placing tremendous amounts of stress on your spine if your form is not fully cleaned up and mastered. Basically, the downward momentum of the kettle bell during the eccentric portion of the range of motion forces the hips to hinge into proper position. I also like the kettle bell swing because in order to achieve a full lockout with your arms and drive the kettle bell to the top you will need to finish your hinge (think a driving forward of the hips and a tensing of the glutes as you get to the top and lock your knees). When using a heavier kettle bell your arms may not be enough to drive it up alone, and this can really require you to make sure that you are properly finishing off your hinge. For beginners and lifters or athletes who are trying to build strength with this range of motion I would recommend using repetition ranges in the 8-12 range. This will help pack on added muscle mass in the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings and hips), which will allow strength potential to be much higher when moving on to a traditional deadlift.
Two Best Exercises To Build The Hinge and Deadlift (Romanian Deadlift and Rack Pulls)
As I said early on in this blog series, our goal with supplemental exercises is to build muscle and strength with exercises that involve the same muscle groups utilized with primary movements, but is also performed in the same movement pattern. Thus, supplemental exercises to build the deadlift should incorporate a hinge and only a slight alteration from a tradition full range deadlift. For example, the two exercises I am about to discuss differ from the deadlift in a few minor areas, which I will explain.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.