Strength Training Techniques: What is the Hip-Hinge Pattern?

Learn the different ways to incorporate this fundamental movement into your next trip to the gym.

When completing strength training exercises, your hips do a lot of work. As the name suggests, the hip-hinge pattern focuses on the lower half of your body.

A hip hinge is a key component to most athletic movements. Additionally, a hip hinge is closely related to the universal athletic position. However, performance enhancement specialist Jowan Ortega notes that the hip-hinge pattern focuses on transferring energy to the glutes.

Ortega adds that the glutes are the most powerful muscle group of the body.

“It’s the base for any athletic exercise,” she says. “It’s the beginning stages of any mobile body move and it’s generally any flexion that involves a posterior shift in weight.”

To learn more about the hip-hinge pattern and how to put it in motion, follow these Pro Tips.


Woman Doing Hip Hinge With PVC Pipe

To start, you’ll need a PVC pipe to help create your points of contact. The PVC pipe will be placed along the middle of your back, keeping it in a straight line vertically. Once you’re comfortable:

  • Keep the PVC pipe touching your three points of contact: the back of your neck, the middle of your back and the small of your back. One hand should be holding the pipe at the small of your back while the other holds it at the base of your neck.
  • Move your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your knees.
  • Drive your hips straight back, keeping the PVC pipe in a straight line. Don’t let go of the PVC pipe or move your hands from the points of contact.
  • Your feet should be flat on the ground.
  • Once you’ve held the position for about 30 seconds, return to your starting position by standing tall.

“You should feel a slight stretch in the back of your legs,” Ortega says.


Another way to learn the hip-hinge pattern is with a medicine ball. Instead of creating three points of contact, hold the medicine ball to your chest.

Once you have the ball in position:

  • Cross your arms over the medicine ball, with one arm over the other.
  • Hug the ball to your chest, but not too tight.
  • Put your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your knees.
  • Drive your hips straight back.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground.
  • Once you’ve held the pose for 30 seconds, return to your starting position.

Again, you should feel a stretch in your legs.

A solid hip hinge can be the perfect accessory to your body mechanics throughout your workouts. “Proper execution of this pattern will optimize performance and help decrease the chance of injury,” Ortega says.

Now that you understand the hip-hinge pattern, learn how important it is when doing the Romanian deadlift.