The Importance of Proper Hip Hinge Mechanics

The Importance of Proper Hip Hinge Mechanics

The Importance of Proper Hip Hinge Mechanics

Combating Back Pain with Strength

Upfit Training Academy

-Jacob O’Connor, Brian Santanelli-

The vast majority of us have experienced back pain at some point in our lives. The individuals who haven’t yet experienced back pain are lucky outliers among a sea of people who at some degree share this experience. There are a great deal of reasons as to why one may be experiencing back pain. For some of us we may have suffered an acute injury, others may have chronic pain caused by prolonged sitting and/or poor movement patterns. My guess is that the majority of back pain is caused by the latter. This is why it is essential for personal training and small group fitness programs to prioritize proper technique. Think about how much of each day you spend seated… Most of us are at a desk the majority of the day, at stressful jobs (especially in NYC), moving poorly if at all.

     All of this time sitting takes a toll on your hips, back, neck, and shoulders, leading to stiffness and discomfort. Back pain can be incredibly debilitating for some, bleeding into aspects of life such as sleep, recreation, and simple household tasks. Do you or someone you know commonly experience back pain? What are you doing to combat your pain? Improving the strength, stability, and mobility of your hips and back is a strategy on the forefront of treating and preventing back issues.

     The hip hinge is a fundamental movement for the vast majority of personal training and small group training programs. It is necessary to master the hip hinge in order to perform many hip/back strengthening exercises. The hinge looks simple, but it can be a deceivingly difficult movement to conquer. You can find our progressions of the hip hinge below. 

Medicine Ball Goodmorning

     A great introduction to the hip hinge, a heavy emphasis is placed on technique execution to properly develop this movement pattern. The front loaded weight gives a trainee an idea how to use the front muscles of the core. The feet will be hip width apart while engaging the core and lats. From there, drive the hips back with a slight bend in the knees. Once you’re at the bottom of a rep (you will feel a stretch in the hamstrings) bring the hips forward and shoulders upright while squeezing the glutes through the move.

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

     This is a progression from the medicine ball good morning. The set-up is very similar here, but now the weights should be held at the side of the hips. The weight placement forces the trainee to use and strengthen the lats, as well as the upper back. Movement execution will be just like the med ball good morning. 

Kettlebell Deadlift

     Now that we’re pulling from the floor, our set-up will change. Standing over the kettlebell, hip hinge backward then bend the knees more than you typically would for a good morning. Grab the kettlebell by the horns and make sure the lats are engaged with a “squeeze the armpit” cue, creating pre-tension. Then drive your feet into the ground with your hips and shoulders moving at the same speed.

Trap Bar Deadlift

     Set up with the feet hip width apart inside of the trap bar. Hinge back, bend the knees and grab the bar. Center your hands and the weight, create pre-tension by squeezing the lats like the kettlebell deadlift, and fire up the core (take the slack out of the bar). Drive the feet into the ground and stand up.

Conventional Deadlift

    Set-up with the barbell over your midfoot and feet hip width apart. Hinge back and bend the knees, grab the bar with your hands just outside your legs. Create pre-tension to take the slack out of the bar and drive feet into the ground. Make sure to stand up tall and straight, not hyperextending at the low back.

     In a world full of back pain it’s important to identify exercises to strengthen these areas. As someone who has been through a few stints of back pain myself, I have a great appreciation for practical movements that go a long way. It can’t be understated how important it is to perform these movements correctly. Poor execution will not yield the same results and can be counterproductive, causing more discomfort. We hope that this progression can be of use to you and help you continue living a healthier, happier, and more physically active lifestyle. 


Fit shaming, ever heard of it?

Fit shaming, ever heard of it?

Obesity is killing us! Stop the fat shaming!

How about Fit Shaming?

You ever heard of it?

“Jeez you’re so skinny, you have to eat more. ”

“Just have a cookie man.”

Yeah these are things that have been said to me, as I sit at a normal (albeit a lower than average body fat percentage #shredlife), a normal BMI (body mass index or height to weight ratio), and probably taking in more calories than said shamer.


Shred Life


“That girl looks so silly.”
As an overweight girl tries to figure out how to follow along with a youtube dance video.

“What the hell is that guy doin?”
As the baby boomer gentlemen who has never exercised is attempting to do kettlebell swings for the first time.

Things I’ve heard in commercial gym settings.




The biggest reason we might die as per the newest research is not that we’re fat, its that we don’t MOVE.

“Findings from a recent meta-analysis suggest that poor cardiorespiratory fitness is an independent and a better predictor of mortality than obesity, and that the risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality is higher in individuals with normal body mass index (BMI) and poor physical fitness, compared with individuals with high BMI and good physical fitness (Silverman and Duester, 2014).”

Fit shaming, ever heard of it?

– Your Fitness Liason

Paul W. Park Co-founder/Owner

UpFit Training Academy

When Exercise Is NOT Good For You

When Exercise Is NOT Good For You


The ability to bounce back.

To learn from our mistakes.

Our bodies ability to build bone density with weight lifting.

Our immune system’s natural way of vaccinating us against diseases.

It’s what makes the human being so resilient.

More specifically anti-fragile.

As Nassim Taleb explains in his book “Antifragile”, antifragility is better than resiliency, because it allows for gain from stressful events.

We have the awesome ability to get better and stronger, physically and emotionally after recovering from stressful events.

Our hardships develop our character. As does exercise for our physical bodies. As does going outside playing and rolling around in the dirt as a kid fortifying our immune systems as adults.

We have that ability, but we’re not bulletproof, there’s a Goldilocks zone. Where the soup is not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

Are we getting enough SLEEP? Are we eating nutrient dense foods? Hydrated? Are we over-stressed from our demanding bosses, bills, relationships? People forget that stress is not just a mood but a physiological response.

Stress is not a mental thing that can be wished away but a physical part of your being at any given moment.

That’s why we ask these questions to new clients during our initial UpFit Assessment. Because we might need to dial back the first week.

There’s been more times than I can count as a young ambitious coach when I put new clients through hard workouts their first day. No matter how much sleep they got, no matter their fitness level, never asking how they were feeling.

2 days later they would text me saying they’re sick, and can’t make the next workout.

80% of the time I would never see them again.

We forget exercise is inherently a stress as well. And to an unfit, over-stressed, and under-slept trainee it can put them into the too hot “goldilocks” zone where you end up burning your tongue.

Bring out those anti fragile capabilities of our body. As we become more fit, our physical anti fragile abilities will fortify. Just make sure you’re hydrating, prioritizing your sleep, and telling your boss to shove it.

-Coach Paul is a master trainer and co-owner of Upfit Academy – Small Group Fitness and Personal Training Specialists proximal to Midtown NYC.

Click on the picture for the video!

The BIGGEST problem with the fitness industry

This is the biggest problem with the fitness industry

Click on the picture for the video!

Wes and I started UpFit Training Academy with one thing in mind.

To be the most people focused fitness company in the industry.

Having spent a combined couple of decades working in fitness, we’ve seen it all. The trends, the fads, and the reasons for what most fitness companies do.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some great services out there with awesome coaches/trainers, but most of them just seem to fall short on what people like you really need to succeed.

We’re working hard to create the type of fitness community that you would be proud to be apart of. Somewhere where you can finally work towards the goals you’ve been dreaming about.

Check out the video for what we have in mind, and feel to comment below with any thoughts or suggestions on what YOU would want in a gym of yours.