How to get your youth athlete to Hinge properly while increasing their athletic capacity and what we do with our younger clients.
The hinge pattern is one of seven foundational movements associated with human movement and arguably the most important for athletic performance. The hinge pattern is the ability to maintain a rigid spine while hinging at the hip joint, avoiding spinal flexion and hyperextension.
Bottom line, if you want to increase speed, agility, strength and power movements like jumping and sprinting, the hinge is key.
Tip #1 - Start with Bodyweight
This should be the basis of your capacity and ability moving forward before adding weight or complex movements.
We use a seated position to help cue the athletes hips, and glutes. This gives them the mobility to maintain posture. We see a breakdown of technique when moving to the standing position due to lack of core strength.
Tip #2 - Set your Feet
As we believe everything starts from the ground up, when seated the first thing we address is foot/knee position. Oftentimes you will find the knees concave in, toes are pointed out and ankle rolls in. To avoid this, give them a wider base, allow them to set their feet inline with the knee, just outside of shoulder width, (this will change as they stand up).
"The difference between having a quick first step and getting passed by is being athletic ready. This starts with the Hinge." – James Walsh
Tip #3 - Have an Upright Posture
After setting your feet, set your posture to an upright position. This can be achieved in two ways to help cue the athlete. One is to put arms behind the back, this puts the thoracic spine (upper back) into an extension, helping maintain a rigid spine and upright chest, while the hinge at the hip, not rounding the low back. The second is to use a plate (shown in the picture above), this retracts the shoulders and again places the thoracic spine into extension.
Tip #4 - Progress when Correct
Try different variations to help the athlete find a pattern where they can begin to learn the concept and perfect the position given before moving on. The next step is to load the movement with your bodyweight and use a dowel rod.
When using a dowel rod, your feet should be placed under your hips, soften the knees slightly and maintain contact with the dowel rod in three key areas, glutes, mid-back and head. The dowel rod mimics the spine.
Tip #5 - Practice
These movements should be done daily to increase proficiency and not to mistake volume with load. We want to have a higher volume (more reps) than load (more weight) during these practice movements.
Get More Help from a Ground Force Training System
Want more information? Schedule a One Time Consultation with a Ground Force Strength and Conditioning Coach and uncover the best practice and training approach to unlock your potential. Remote consultations available.