Why Every Mama Needs To Know How To Hip Hinge
In the training world, hip hinging is a rite of passage. You can’t lift heavy unless you can hip hinge. Properly. Period. In the mom world, most people don’t know what hip hinging is.. and yet it is so beyond crucial with babes. A few good examples of hip hinging are here.
Hip hinging is the act of breaking at the hips while maintaining good back posture.
This movement allows the muscles of your posterior chain to fire and develop thus reducing back pain and injury. Hinging is the key element in training your glutes and hamstrings (bum and legs!) and is just as crucial for mamas each and every day as it is when you’re lifting heavy weights.
Let’s take the picture up top into consideration. This is baby bear’s absolute favorite toy at the moment (yes I am aware that it is a crate and not a toy at all). She adores it. Sitting in it, being carried in it, being dragged in it and yes, being swung in it…all the time.
The issue with swinging her in this crate is that the majority of parents look like this (below) while playing with their kids- my husband included.
Note: Click here to watch a video with proper form!
As you can see, the back is extremely rounded and to a trained professional this means that instead of the posterior muscles firing and thrusting the weight forward, it is being propelled through the shoulders which is essentially allowing it to hang off of the joints throughout the swing.
As you can imagine, momentum + lack of muscular activation = injury. Fast injury.
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While you’ll probably get away with this form for a little while, continuously using poor movement mechanics will eventually catch up with you (especially as your babe grows). Naturally as we age we lose a bit of mobility, a bit of muscle mass and have a few more aches and pains. Adding weight to poor mechanics will speed up those aches to permanent problems.
Instead, your swing should look like this (below). In the bentover position the back is flat (or ever so slightly arched) the weight is sinking back into the heels and the power is initiating from the glutes and hamstrings. Believe it or not, your shoulders have very little to do with this move.
Learning to hip hinge will not only help you play with your babes properly and safely. but your hips, back and posture will thank you. By understanding how to activate your posterior muscles you’ll help take much of the weight off of your back and improve the overall way you move each day.
And while you may be thinking that you won’t have to swing your child in a crate, I promise learning the hip hinge will help with other daily tasks also (like lifting, playing etc).
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Below is a quick video demonstrating proper hip hinge form as well as what exercises you can do at home to start training your body to understand the movement.