How to Do a Hip Hinge: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a hip hinge to improve hip strength and core stability, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Dec 19, 2023
Table of Contents

The hip hinge is a type of functional exercise that mimics the way your body naturally moves when doing things like lifting heavy grocery bags off the ground or cleaning up around the house. It essentially trains you for daily life. This move also promotes hip stability, as well as core and lower body strength that can translate to reduced back pain and better ease of movement. Read on for more info and a how-to.

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Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

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What Is a Hip Hinge?

A hip hinge is an exercise where you stand and lower your torso toward the floor, keeping your back and legs straight so your body forms an “L” shape. 

What Muscles Does a Hip Hinge Work? 

  • Glutes: The gluteal muscles play a significant role in extending the hip joint and maintaining stability when performing the hip hinge. Strong glutes allow you to do things like get up from a sitting position and climb stairs with more confidence and less pain.

  • Quadriceps: Located on the front of the thighs, your quads are important for knee joint stability and lessening pressure on your knees during activities like walking

  • Hamstrings: This group of muscles, located on the back of your thighs, is crucial for activities like brisk walking, running, climbing stairs, sitting down, and bending forward at the hips. Strong and flexible hamstrings make all of these movements easier. 

  • Erector spinae are muscles in your back that run along either side of your spine. They’re involved in back extension, rotation, and stabilization. Strong back muscles can reduce low-back pain.

  • Transverse abdominis. This abdominal muscle lies deep in your lower belly and acts as a stabilizer for your core and pelvis.

Benefits of a Hip Hinge

  • Increased flexibility and mobility. Research has found that the hip hinge exercise can reduce tightness in your hamstrings and improve stability and range of motion in your hips.

  • Improved posture. Although there’s no such thing as perfect posture, tight hamstrings can pull on your pelvis and cause your natural posture to shift. Keeping your hamstrings loose can help you maintain a comfortable sitting and standing position throughout your day. 

  • Better lower body strength. The hip hinge targets your posterior chain — a fancy term that refers to the muscles on the back of your body, including your butt, hamstrings, and back. 

  • Less back pain. There’s good evidence linking a strong lower body with reduced back pain. By working your core, the hip hinge exercise may also promote less strain on your spine.

Hip Hinge: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Hip Hinge

Hip Hinge

Hip Hinge

Hip Hinge

  • Start by standing with your feet about hip width apart and your hands on your hips.

  • Now, keeping your back and legs mostly straight, hinge forward at your hips and lower your chest toward the floor. Focus on keeping your back mostly straight as you hold this position.

  • Squeeze your butt muscles as you lift your chest and return to the starting position.

  • As you do each rep, you might feel your back, hips, and the back of your leg muscles working.

Your progress is unique to you so let's look at how to make hip hinge easier, or more challenging.

Hip Hinge Modifications

Hip Hinge Modifications

Hip Hinge Modifications

Hip Hinge Modifications

To make a hip hinge easier:  

  • Limit how far you lower your chest toward the floor.

To make a hip hinge harder: 

  • Hold a weight or a heavy object, like a detergent jug, near your chest as you do the exercise. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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  1. Liu, C-J., et al. (2014). Systematic Review of Functional Training on Muscle Strength, Physical Functioning, and Activities of Daily Living in Older Adults. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 95–106. doi:10.1007/s11556-014-0144-1

  2. Jung, M., et al. (2022). Immediate Effect of Hip Hinge Exercise Stretching on Flexibility of Lower Limb, Pelvic Tilting Angle, Proprioception and Dynamic Balance in Individual with Hamstring Tightness. Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 259–268. doi:10.14474/ptrs.2022.11.2.259

  3. Michaud, F., et al. (2021). Lower Back Injury Prevention and Sensitization of Hip Hinge with Neutral Spine Using Wearable Sensors during Lifting Exercises. Sensors, vol. 21, no. 16, p. 5487. doi:10.3390/s21165487