In part 1 of this series, I began showing how I take ultra beginners through hip hinging, and deadlift patterns.
The article was very well received in the fitness community, and is successfully helping you guys/girls, whether coaches or gym goers, learn how to safely progress and master the deadlift pattern. That is the ultimate goal of this series.
I am adamant in my belief that learning the hip hinge pattern can open up a huge window to accommodate and propel any goal into overdrive “gains” mode.
World renowned strength coach, Dan John also agrees. He quoted me in his recent newsletter, and was kind enough to share and promote part one of this series.
In the videos and descriptions in this article, I will go over some intermediate progressions of the hinge, and show you how I like to train the movement prior to moving on to the barbell.
Without further ado, phase two of hinge progressions.
Very similar to the single kettlebell deadlift vs. bands, this is just a heavier version that mimics the upper body tension as well as grip that is most closely associated with the barbell. Again, to refresh your memory, we use the band to force the hip hinge back to its proper maximum hip bend. This strategy is extremely useful for people who are having a difficult time deciphering the adjustments between the squat and deadlift patterning.
I love this variation of the deadlift for two types of people. The first is the population of beginner or intermediate lifters who are a bit slow off the floor. If you don’t have an explosive drive off the floor with lightish kettle bells, it might be a good idea to add the pause at shin level on the way off the floor, and on the way down. The second type of person I enjoy using this variation with is the guy or girl who is having trouble maintaining stiffness in the lats and upper back. This exercise with the added pause requires you to fight gravity a bit more, and stay strong through the brief stop.
This is an exercise that is truly difficult to both teach, and execute without assistance. Many times I’ll see people deadlifting their bodyweight and more, but struggle mightily when it comes time to do single leg work. By simply using the opposite hand against the wall for touch, not something to pull on, it gives the brain a green light to focus on the task and exercise at hand. I would certainly suggest going super light to start, and groove the proper pattern. You should be reaching with the leg and not the arm on this one, and striving to keep the upper back locked in without rolling the low back.
I have most of my students become proficient at the kettlebell swing well before heavy barbell deadlifting. I truly believe that the art of the swing teaches powerful hip explosion that is necessary for locking out the deadlift with heavier weight. A swing is not a squat. A swing is, at it’s finest, a pure, explosive hinge that you should feel in the hamstrings, glutes, abs, lungs, and heart. Too many people use their arms and low back, when in reality neither should be working very hard at all. The top position should mimic a plank like contraction, and I don’t really suggest or teach it above the head crossfit style. When this exercise is learned with some proficiency, it is one of the greatest tools we can use for conditioning and fat loss alike.
When all systems are a go, and you are moving heavy kettlebells in both hands fast and explosively, it might be time to move onto the trap bar. I like the trap bar for several reasons, but the biggest is that the starting position is easier, and more comfortable to get into for beginners. The grip is on the side of your body instead of the front, allowing an easier, more accessible way to gain stiffness in the lats and upper back without rolling into flexion. I usually suggest elevating this one for awhile before moving to the floor to teach proper setup and execution, just to gain a comfort level and appreciation for how to perform the trap bar deadlift.
This is the second phase of teaching the hip hinge I use with my clients. As with any exercise, I never progress it until it looks clean, smooth, and efficient.
Yes, barbell work can be some of the most rewarding, bang for your buck training in the world, but the goal is to make certain you are more than ready for it before trying to be the hero. Mastering the hinge at a lower level will pay off down the road.
It will set you up for when the time comes to move significant weight off the floor, and ensure you’re using the right muscles to improve you’re entire body safely.
Stay tuned for an even more advanced progressions in part 3. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org