Bending Over Can be a Real Pain

Back pain is a real issue with up to 80% of people in the US experiencing some back pain in their life. But only 20-30% of those are actually a structural issue. The rest is a combination of posture, movement, shoes, stress, etc… There’s no one magic cure and is more like a huge puzzle to fit together.

This technique is only one piece of that puzzle, but it’s a good one!

Whether you have pain or not, the movement technique I’m sharing today is something EVERYONE should know, understand, and use.

Ready?

Great!!

Let’s talk about hinging!

The hip hinge is an amazing movement change that you can make right here, right now.

Anthropologists have noted and studied for years the difference in how older cultures move and bend. Most especially how they hip hinge compared with the “C” curve (or rounded back) that most modern day people use in their movement. This “C” puts undue strain on the discs, ligaments, and bones in the spinal column which over time can eventually lead to back pain and distress.

I’m not an anthropologist, but I know from working with hundreds of people in fitness over the past 10 years how difficult it can be for a lot of people to hinge at the hips. It’s not that it’s hard per say, just that it takes a bit of effort to get the body and brain to work together enough to achieve it.

And for some, this seems a really hard concept to grasp. In fact, it’s become so challenging, that I’ve seen numerous studios offering both 3 and 5-hour hip hinging workshops lately.

It’s literally taking people 3-5 hours to learn to bend over correctly.

Though I don’t have it planned yet, I may offer them in the future as it is an important movement that your body should know how to do well.

Here are just a FEW examples of where you might use a hip hinge.

Brushing your teeth.
Bending over to pick something up off the ground
Putting dishes in or taking them out of the dishwasher
Doing laundry
In the garden
Deadlifting at the gym
Setting yourself down in a chair

Here are the basics to do a hip hinge:

***
thumb pad

Take the thumb pad on each hand… (see above)

And place it on the bony protrusions at the front of your hips called the ASIS; keeping your fingers together.

ASIS

Then, reach your sit bones backward as though they are reaching for the wall behind them. Keep your spine long, and make sure your rib cage is not jutting forward. If your fingers feel squished between your thighs and hips, you are doing it right. 🙂
(Once you get the hang of your pelvis being able to slide freely back and forth between your legs, you won’t need to use your hands as markers)

hingeover

Notice that in order to do this with ease and correctness, you need to release the glute and hamstring muscles to allow lengthening through the back line for the torso to hinge over.

Very tight hamstrings can create issues here, so work on lengthening and stretching them if this is a problem for you.
(A quick way to bypass the hamstring issue until you can lengthen them over time, is to bend the knees.)

To come back up from the hinge, contract and use the glute muscles to propel your body upright. Not your back– your GLUTES. This can be a challenge because I’ve found that a majority of people don’t use their glutes to the best of their ability. Weak glutes will cause your back muscles to kick-in to help out; a compensatory problem you really want to be rid of.

If someone you love is having back issues, be sure to forward this along to them.

Here’s to a healthy, strong, and pain-free spine!

3 thoughts on “Bending Over Can be a Real Pain

  1. forward bends are so much safer when you hinge from the hips! I feel like a broken record sometimes in my classes. Nice instruction Shanyn!

    1. Thanks, Jen!! Yes, I too feel like a broken record sometimes, lol. I’m sure my people get tired of hearing me yammer on about it too. What a difference it can make for them once they get into the habit, yes?! Just hard to get them into that new, better habit. 😉 But we’ll keep trying…

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