Mark Cheng: Rob the Forefoot Hip Hinge Drill

Having trouble getting that hip hinge right for lifts and swings? Mark Cheng learned to take away the option of shifting forward. Rob the forefoot and sit back.

Dr. Weingroff talked about people trying to hinge, and pitching forward rather than sitting back. One of the easiest ways to facilitate sitting back is to rob the front of the foot of contact.

When I first started learning the kettlebell swing with Pavel, he said:

“Oh, Doc. You look very, eh . . . cute.”

He said that with a little disgust in his voice, because as I was swinging the bell, I was pitching forward a little. My heels were coming up to try and get the bell to go up further.

Pavel said, “We will cure that.”

He took me to a curb and had me stand so the balls of my feet were off the curb. There were cars coming by.

He said, “Swing the bell. Just try to stay out of traffic.”

Now, if you don’t have the option of shifting forward, you very quickly learn how to shift back, and to sit back and translate those hips back.

For argument’s sake, let’s do this. I’m going to have you put just the balls of your feet off the edge of the platform here, so you can feel where the turf is, but I’d like you to keep your toes up off the turf. Put your butt backwards and you’ll notice you load your hips and your hamstrings in a whole new way. Give that a try.

Have your partner observe you hinge one time, feet flat on the mat, and then do the same thing with the balls of your feet just forward of the edge, not letting your toes really grip the ground. Toes are up. You really have to just kind of hinge back again. Try this, and see how your body responds.

Let the knees be soft. Let them unlock.

How many of you noticed your partners shifting back or sitting back further with the hips, hinging back further with the hips, after they got a chance to be on the edge? Robbing the forefoot of the option to translate the weight forward, you got a sense of how much you can sit back with the hips. That’s great.

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