While it seems like common knowledge now, there was a time not too long ago when the words “Hip Hinge” were unknown in mountain bike training circles. Stuck in the bodybuilder inspired stuff left over from the 1990’s, most training routines for riders included a healthy dose of leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls.

In fact, it was this lack of “functional training” for mountain bikers that inspired me to create MTB Strength Training Systems in the first place.

I had been introduced to Functional Training through my time as a track athlete and I knew that it could help me improve my riding. Seeing the results I was getting from it I decided to see if anyone else was interested in it as well, which led to me putting up my first website in 2005 and finding out that there were a lot of riders interested in this stuff.

One of the biggest differences between Bodybuilding and Functional Training is how you break up the body when creating programs. While Bodybuilding trains body parts like Arms, Legs and Back, Functional Training breaks things up into movement patterns like Push, Pull, Squat and Hip Hinge.

One of my first insights into applying Functional Training to mountain biking was that the Hip Hinge was one of the most critical movement patterns for a rider to excel at. Representing your ability to bend at the hips and not the lower back, it was the cornerstone movement pattern for the Attack Position/ DH Position on the bike and for creating power from the hips for bunny hopping and jumping.

Over the years this has become a much more common insight and using now exercises like the Deadlift and KB Swing are commonly used to train the Hip Hinge for riders. You also have a lot of skills coaches who now recognize the need to own this movement pattern off the bike in order to apply it to the bike and coming up with drills and tools to help riders make this connection.

And while this has led to a lot more awareness about the Hip Hinge and its importance, there are still two common mistakes I see riders making that will hold them back on the trail.

In this video I go over some key details of the Hip Hinge, including the two common mistakes I see almost every rider making (seriously, less than 25% of rider pics I see on FB or IG aren’t making one of these two mistakes). I’ll also show you my newest go-to drill to help you immediately improve your Hip Hinge both in the gym and on the bike.

*Please note that this is an uploaded video from a FB Live I did so the video quality isn’t the best but the info more than makes up for it*

Getting your Hip Hinge dialed in is the first step towards improving your power and balance on your bike. Don’t make the mistake so many other riders do and skip over this critical movement skill in order to get to more advanced movements. Use these tips and this drill to help you dial in your Hip Hinge and I guarantee your riding will thank you for it.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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