Lower Body Exercises (Hip Dominant) - Whether the goal is performance enhancement, injury prevention, strength gains, or size gains, training the lower body is the best way to accomplish all of these. Hip dominant exercises have deep hip movements with minimal knee bend (as compared to a squat with a deep knee bend). In addition, we look at most hip dominant exercises as posterior chain dominant.

Why we like them so much: Great way to increase power and strengthen our posterior chain.

Key Points:

  • Mobility / form prerequisites must be achieved before adding a load (primarily ankle mobility, and neutral spine position)

  • Great for increasing hip strength and power (crucial to success in most sports)

  • Great for injury prevention in the low-back / hamstring

  • Body weight before loading

  • Simple before complex

Prerequisites: The Hip Hinge (From Brett Contreras)

The hip hinge is an essential component to long-term lifting success.If you can’t hip hinge, then you won’t be able to squat, deadlift,good morning, bent over row, kettlebell swing, or bent over rear delt raise properly. The hip hinge requires adequate spinal and pelvic stability and hip flexion mobility/hamstring flexibility. Grooving proper bending patterns takes some time, but perfect practice makes perfect. There are two good methods for teaching the hip hinge. The first is the wall Romanian deadlift (RDL), and the second is the dowel hip hinge.

Wall RDL - The wall RDL is performed by doing the following:

  1. The lifter positions himself or herself approximately 6 -12 inches in front of a wall with a shoulder width stance and feet straight forward.

  2. The head and neck stay in line with the body which requires the gaze of the lifter to look down as the movement descends.

  3. The lifter sits back and envisions having glue on the buttocks while trying to capture hundred dollar bills that are stuck to the wall.

  4. The knees bend but the hamstrings are stretched as the movement descends due to lengthening at the hip and a good low back arch and anterior pelvic tilt.

  5. The weight is kept on the heels.

  6. The chest stays up to prevent spinal rounding.

Dowel RDL - The dowel RDL is performed by doing the following:

1. A dowel, broomstick, or pvc pipe is held behind the back while the lifter stands upright with a shoulder width stance and feet straight forward.

  1. One arm is placed behind the low back and grasps a hold of the dowel, while the other arm is placed behind the neck and grasps a hold of the dowel. The curves in the lumbar and cervical spines create perfect grooves to allow the hands to sink into.

  2. The dowel has three points of contact; the head, the thoracic spine, and the sacrum.

  3. The lifter bends forward while sitting back and keeping the chest up. The dowel maintains

    the three points of contact throughout the duration of the movement.

  4. All good with two legs? Now try the same form with one leg while keeping the non-

    grounded leg straight and in line with the torso. You’ll have to remind yourself to “sit back”while on one leg.

Deadlift Progressions

  1. Bodyweight hip hinge

  2. Band good morning

  3. Kettlebell or dumbbell sumo deadlift

  4. Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

  5. Barbell high rack pull

  6. Barbell medium rack pull

  7. Barbell low rack pull

  8. Barbell Romanian deadlift

  9. Hex bar deadlift high handles

  10. Hex bar deadlift low handles

  11. Barbell conventional deadlift

  12. Barbell sumo deadlift

  13. Barbell good morning (Russian deadlift)

  14. Barbell snatch grip deadlift

  15. Barbell deficit deadlift

  16. Barbell plus band/chain deadlift