Regressing the Hinge – Part II

In the first part of this series, I discussed the basic pattern of the hinge movement, how to teach it, and common mistakes I see when coaching it. In part 2 of this series, I am going to discuss regressions to the hinge pattern. Not everyone in the room is going to understand how to properly hinge on the first try—and that’s okay.  These regressions are designed to cue the athlete into proper positions for immediate feedback.

Depending on which phase of the hinge the athlete struggles with, appropriate regressions can be used to feed the mistake and allow for guided discovery cueing. In other words, if the athlete looks like they are moving in the correct direction, step away and allow for the process of learning to take place.

For the athlete that cannot keep their shoulders back or “break the bar”:
Band attached to PVC pipe RDL

With one end of the band attached to the rack and the other to the bar/PVC pipe, the athlete is forced to keep tension in their upper back while keeping the bar close to their body. This exercise feeds the mistake because if the athlete loses tension, the bar will pull away from their body. This exercise allows for immediate feedback because the athlete can feel if they are executing the right pattern.

For the athlete that cannot pull their hips back:
Landmine RDL

With this regression, we place the barbell into the rack and grip the end of it in our athletic position. The landmine RDL is considered a grooved regression because it naturally pushes the athletes’ hips back due to its bar path. Since the athlete is gripping the end of the bar during the movement, they are forced to keep their shoulders retracted to take stress off their lower back. If the athlete is moving well but not yet ready for the next progression, we are able to progress this pattern by adding plates onto the barbell. Remember: we should aim to slow cook the athletes.

For the athlete that rounds their back:
PVC Pipe on Spine

With this movement, we are looking for the athlete to maintain three points of contact at all times with the PVC pipe:  the head, mid back, and pelvis. The athlete is given immediate feedback on if they are performing the hinge correctly. The coach can easily determine if the athlete rounds their back at any point because the PVC pipe will clearly break away from a point of contact.

These are just a couple of basic regressions I use with athletes that help them to better feel and understand the position we want them in. The movements we teach in the weight room help athletes to be just that – athletes. The ones who have higher capacities for biomotor abilities will also have a higher ceiling for skill development.

Andrew Behnam is currently a strength and conditioning coach at TCU working with the baseball team. Before arriving at TCU, Andrew pitched in college for 4 years, and made stops at Millersville University and Villanova University where he worked as a performance coach. You can follow Andrew on social media:

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