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Fats | 3 Point Training
Fats | 3 Point Training
Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention. We know that

Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention.

We know that “calories in V calories out” is nutrition at its MOST BASIC but in reality there is so much more that makes a well-balanced nutrition plan. There are a magnitude of factors that come to the forefront that need to addressed to achieve this desired energy balance, it’s not as simple as just telling someone to eat less. For example; ones perception and how they view food (food relationship), culture, food quality/ quantity and the ability to restrain are just some of the many factors that must be addressed to effectively execute ‘calories in VS calories out’

When looking at nutrition you need to carefully consider what will work for you and then be prepared to be flexible as you learn more about yourself. The reason being that you can reach your goals a number of different ways, however certain methods are more effective than others. You may start with one method and quickly find out that it’s not for you. The real skill is having enough self-awareness to take that feedback and adjust. Take tracking your calories for example, a highly effective way to reach a goal, but if you decide that measuring food isn’t something you like then tracking isn’t going to work. Find the approach that works for you and make sure you can adhere to it.

In the rest of this article we are going to go over some key terms you should be aware of with your nutrition and then we are going to look at setting up some calorie and macronutrient targets based on your goals. Calorie and macro tracking is arguably the most common nutrition approach used but remember, it’s not the only one.

What Are Calories And What Are Macronutrients?

Key terms

Maintenance calorie level – Refers to the amount of calories your body needs day to day to see no change in weight.

Calorie deficit – Refers to a negative energy balance. You are taking in less calories than you use day to day.

Calorie surplus – Refers to a positive energy balance. You are taking in more calories than you use day to day.

Calorie – A calorie to put it simply is energy. Food contains calories, so food is energy we give our bodies to thrive off. We can think of food as numbers going into the body. Say we eat 100g of chicken breast, that is roughly 165 calories going into the body. At the end of the day what matters for fat loss or muscle gain is a calorie deficit and calorie surplus respectively.

Calorie And Macronutrient Numbers
Protein – One of the three macronutrients protein contains 4 calories per gram of protein. Protein is a highly satiating macronutrient, meaning it will satisfy you for longer. It is also vital for muscle growth and repair. One added bonus to eating protein is it has a high TEF, (Thermic Effect of Feeding). This means your body will use calories while it digests the protein.
simplest form carbohydrate
Carbohydrates – Carbs also contains 4 calories per gram. Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate, which is our bodies preferred fuel source. Carbohydrates also come in more complex forms. These forms of carbohydrates form our whole grain food sources and fruit and vegetables. Their structure makes them harder is break down which is a favourable characteristic when trying to control Food intake
Fats are highly dense
Fats – Fats are a highly dense macronutrient. They provide 9 calories per gram of fat. Fats can also be used as a fuel source when carbohydrates are limited or during a state of rest. Fats play important roles in hormones, cell structure and transport in the body.
Dite Plane - Point Traning
How To Set Up Targets For Tracking

Step 1

First you need to determine your maintenance calorie intake using the appropriate calculation below. Be aware that this is only an estimation. Another way is to track food intake for a week and also monitor weight. If your weight remains the same over that week then take the average calories intake for that week and that’s maintenance.

Calorie Calculator For Males

Step 2

Now that we have our maintenance calories sorted we now need to determine if we want to gain weight or drop fat. This can be done by on a percentage based system. To drop fat then lower your calorie intake by 5-10% and vice versa to increase weight.

e.g. You have maintenance intake of 2000 calories and want to drop fat

2000 calories x 0.05 = 100 calories

2000 calories – 100 calories = 1900 calories

This rate of change may look small and it may take results longer to occur but it will take a lot less will power to uphold. You can drop calories more drastically and the fat/ weight loss will be more rapid but remember that there will be other things that have to give.

This needs to be taken into consideration as you will need to set yourself a realistic calorie deficit that you can adhere to. No adherence, no results. It is also important to stick to the numbers for a few weeks to allow for change, if nothing is happening then you simply adjust.

Likewise, the higher you raise your calorie intake the more extreme the weight gain will be. Notice I didn’t say extreme muscle gain, it is quite hard to build lots of muscle at a quick rate even with a proper training program and eating properly.

If your surplus is too great, you risk putting on a lot of ‘useless weight’. You will increase in fat but you don’t want to get fat. Having a controlled surplus and monitoring your weight gain closely will allow for you to gain muscle and weight at an acceptable rate without the risk of ‘blowing out’.

The best way to attack either is to make the least amount of change that yields maximum results. Why drop out 600 calories to lose weight when you could do it with 200?

Now onto the all-important macronutrient breakdown

Protein

Acceptable range = 1.6-2.5g per kg of bodyweight

For example, an 80kg male may be in the range of 144-200grams of protein per day. Why is protein key? It’s main role in the body is muscle growth and repair which is obviously important on both fat loss and muscle gain. When in a fat loss phase it is more important to keep protein intake higher, around the 2g per kg of bodyweight. During a weight gain phase we can get away with potentially as low as 1.6g per kg of bodyweight.

Fats

Acceptable range = 0.8-1.2g per kg of bodyweight

For example, an 80kg male may have a range of 64-96grams of fat per day.

Having higher amounts of fats than this guide will make no difference to your overall goal as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check. If you prefer higher amounts of fats then by all means have a high fat diet. Fats are extremely important in many roles in the body including cell health and hormones so dropping them extremely low is not a great idea. Vice versa goes for keeping them high. Due to them being extremely calorie dense, the volume of food you can eat on a high fat diet greatly reduces and therefore you risk being hungry

Carbs

Acceptable range = What’s left

If you were to work out your protein and fat consumption based on the above, then you simply find your carbs from the calories left over.

For example, if the 80kg male was set 2500 calories per day. They have decided to have 200g of protein and 70g of fat.

200 x 4 = 800 calories from protein

70 x 9 = 630 calories from fats

So…

2500 – (800 + 630) = 1070

1070/4 = 267.5grams of carbs

200g protein

267g carbs

70g fats

However, having higher amounts of carbs will make no difference to your overall goal as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check. It comes down to your preference, if you like more carbs than fats then have more carbs and less fats.

What you should be wary of is dropping carbs too low or completely out. Carbs are our bodies preferred energy source. They also play a role in building and retaining muscle whereas fat does not.

In summary, as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check then it comes down to your preference whether you have more carbs or fats as this will make zero difference to your end result BUT I’d avoid going to either extreme.

The Breakdown

Weight loss/fat loss?

Deficit of 5-10% of maintenance calories

  • Calories and protein priority, carbs and fats based on preference

  • 3-6 x P/W weight sessions plus cardio as needed

  • ADHERANCE & ENJOYMENT

Weight gain/Muscle gain?

Surplus of 200-500 calories

  • Calories and protein priority, carbs and fats based on preference

  • 3-6 x P/W weight sessions

  • ADHERANCE & ENJOYMENT

 

| 12 minutes
Fats | 3 Point Training
Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention. We know that
| 12 minutes
The Holiday ‘Trade Off’ Guide
The Holiday ‘Trade Off’ Guide
Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention. We know that

Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention.

We know that “calories in V calories out” is nutrition at its MOST BASIC but in reality there is so much more that makes a well-balanced nutrition plan. There are a magnitude of factors that come to the forefront that need to addressed to achieve this desired energy balance, it’s not as simple as just telling someone to eat less. For example; ones perception and how they view food (food relationship), culture, food quality/ quantity and the ability to restrain are just some of the many factors that must be addressed to effectively execute ‘calories in VS calories out’

When looking at nutrition you need to carefully consider what will work for you and then be prepared to be flexible as you learn more about yourself. The reason being that you can reach your goals a number of different ways, however certain methods are more effective than others. You may start with one method and quickly find out that it’s not for you. The real skill is having enough self-awareness to take that feedback and adjust. Take tracking your calories for example, a highly effective way to reach a goal, but if you decide that measuring food isn’t something you like then tracking isn’t going to work. Find the approach that works for you and make sure you can adhere to it.

In the rest of this article we are going to go over some key terms you should be aware of with your nutrition and then we are going to look at setting up some calorie and macronutrient targets based on your goals. Calorie and macro tracking is arguably the most common nutrition approach used but remember, it’s not the only one.

What Are Calories And What Are Macronutrients?

Key terms

Maintenance calorie level – Refers to the amount of calories your body needs day to day to see no change in weight.

Calorie deficit – Refers to a negative energy balance. You are taking in less calories than you use day to day.

Calorie surplus – Refers to a positive energy balance. You are taking in more calories than you use day to day.

Calorie – A calorie to put it simply is energy. Food contains calories, so food is energy we give our bodies to thrive off. We can think of food as numbers going into the body. Say we eat 100g of chicken breast, that is roughly 165 calories going into the body. At the end of the day what matters for fat loss or muscle gain is a calorie deficit and calorie surplus respectively.

Protein – One of the three macronutrients protein contains 4 calories per gram of protein. Protein is a highly satiating macronutrient, meaning it will satisfy you for longer. It is also vital for muscle growth and repair. One added bonus to eating protein is it has a high TEF, (Thermic Effect of Feeding). This means your body will use calories while it digests the protein.

Carbohydrates – Carbs also contains 4 calories per gram. Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate, which is our bodies preferred fuel source. Carbohydrates also come in more complex forms. These forms of carbohydrates form our whole grain food sources and fruit and vegetables. Their structure makes them harder is break down which is a favourable characteristic when trying to control Food intake

Fats – Fats are a highly dense macronutrient. They provide 9 calories per gram of fat. Fats can also be used as a fuel source when carbohydrates are limited or during a state of rest. Fats play important roles in hormones, cell structure and transport in the body.

How To Set Up Targets For Tracking

Step 1

First you need to determine your maintenance calorie intake using the appropriate calculation below. Be aware that this is only an estimation. Another way is to track food intake for a week and also monitor weight. If your weight remains the same over that week then take the average calories intake for that week and that’s maintenance.

Step 2

Now that we have our maintenance calories sorted we now need to determine if we want to gain weight or drop fat. This can be done by on a percentage based system. To drop fat then lower your calorie intake by 5-10% and vice versa to increase weight.

e.g. You have maintenance intake of 2000 calories and want to drop fat

2000 calories x 0.05 = 100 calories

2000 calories – 100 calories = 1900 calories

This rate of change may look small and it may take results longer to occur but it will take a lot less will power to uphold. You can drop calories more drastically and the fat/ weight loss will be more rapid but remember that there will be other things that have to give.

This needs to be taken into consideration as you will need to set yourself a realistic calorie deficit that you can adhere to. No adherence, no results. It is also important to stick to the numbers for a few weeks to allow for change, if nothing is happening then you simply adjust.

Likewise, the higher you raise your calorie intake the more extreme the weight gain will be. Notice I didn’t say extreme muscle gain, it is quite hard to build lots of muscle at a quick rate even with a proper training program and eating properly.

If your surplus is too great, you risk putting on a lot of ‘useless weight’. You will increase in fat but you don’t want to get fat. Having a controlled surplus and monitoring your weight gain closely will allow for you to gain muscle and weight at an acceptable rate without the risk of ‘blowing out’.

The best way to attack either is to make the least amount of change that yields maximum results. Why drop out 600 calories to lose weight when you could do it with 200?

Now onto the all-important macronutrient breakdown

Protein

Acceptable range = 1.6-2.5g per kg of bodyweight

For example, an 80kg male may be in the range of 144-200grams of protein per day. Why is protein key? It’s main role in the body is muscle growth and repair which is obviously important on both fat loss and muscle gain. When in a fat loss phase it is more important to keep protein intake higher, around the 2g per kg of bodyweight. During a weight gain phase we can get away with potentially as low as 1.6g per kg of bodyweight.

Fats

Acceptable range = 0.8-1.2g per kg of bodyweight

For example, an 80kg male may have a range of 64-96grams of fat per day.

Having higher amounts of fats than this guide will make no difference to your overall goal as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check. If you prefer higher amounts of fats then by all means have a high fat diet. Fats are extremely important in many roles in the body including cell health and hormones so dropping them extremely low is not a great idea. Vice versa goes for keeping them high. Due to them being extremely calorie dense, the volume of food you can eat on a high fat diet greatly reduces and therefore you risk being hungry

Carbs

Acceptable range = What’s left

If you were to work out your protein and fat consumption based on the above, then you simply find your carbs from the calories left over.

For example, if the 80kg male was set 2500 calories per day. They have decided to have 200g of protein and 70g of fat.

200 x 4 = 800 calories from protein

70 x 9 = 630 calories from fats

So…

2500 – (800 + 630) = 1070

1070/4 = 267.5grams of carbs

200g protein

267g carbs

70g fats

However, having higher amounts of carbs will make no difference to your overall goal as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check. It comes down to your preference, if you like more carbs than fats then have more carbs and less fats.

What you should be wary of is dropping carbs too low or completely out. Carbs are our bodies preferred energy source. They also play a role in building and retaining muscle whereas fat does not.

In summary, as long as calories (number 1 priority) and protein (number 2 priority) are in check then it comes down to your preference whether you have more carbs or fats as this will make zero difference to your end result BUT I’d avoid going to either extreme.

The Breakdown

Weight loss/fat loss?

  • Deficit of 5-10% of maintenance calories

  • Calories and protein priority, carbs and fats based on preference

  • 3-6 x P/W weight sessions plus cardio as needed

  • ADHERANCE & ENJOYMENT

Weight gain/Muscle gain?

  • Surplus of 200-500 calories

  • Calories and protein priority, carbs and fats based on preference

  • 3-6 x P/W weight sessions

  • ADHERANCE & ENJOYMENT

 

| 12 minutes
The Holiday ‘Trade Off’ Guide
Nutrition has the potential to be contentious and often over complicated topic in health and fitness. This is a product of the ever present, new information and findings (good and bad) but also the misguided practices or some of our so called industry leaders (this is a topic for another day). What this leads to is mass confusion amongst the general population in regards to how they approach a nutrition intervention. We know that
| 12 minutes
Core – More Than Just Crunches
Core – More Than Just Crunches
There are not many people that could tell me they have never dreamed about having washboard abs and the thin waist they see spread all over magazines and social media. Well I’m here to say it is possible but they do need to be worked for and there are a few keys points we will talk about in this article that will have you well on your way! Anatomy To train your abdominals you

There are not many people that could tell me they have never dreamed about having washboard abs and the thin waist they see spread all over magazines and social media. Well I’m here to say it is possible but they do need to be worked for and there are a few keys points we will talk about in this article that will have you well on your way!

Anatomy

To train your abdominals you should actually understand what your core consists of. Our abdominals are made of 4 layers and we will outline each below.

Rectus Abdominals (RA): This is the 6 pack! The RA is the outer most layer of the abdominals and originates from the pelvis and inserts into the sternum and costal cartilages (part of ribs). Fibres in this muscle run straight up and down and therefore when they shorten/contract it causes flexion at the trunk.

External Oblique (EO): Next in line the EO. It originates from the lower 8 ribs and inserts into 2 points on the pelvis (iliac crest and pubic crest) and the linea alba. It’s fibres therefore run diagonally down and in (think putting hand in pockets). The movements it creates include flexing (forward and lateral) and rotating the trunk.

Internal Oblique (IO): The IO originates from the thoracolumbar fascia, pelvis and inguinal ligament and inserts into ribs 10-12, linea alba and pubic crest. Its fibres run in the opposite direction to the EO, so up and in but both work together to create trunk flexion (forward and lateral) and trunk rotation.

Transverse Abdominals (TA): Lastly in line is the TA which is the inner most layer. It originates from the ribs 7-12, thoracolumbar fascia, iliac crest of the pelvis and inguinal ligament. The insertion points include linea alba, pubic crest and pectan. The fibres run horizontally and its main function is to provide stability to the spine and pelvis. Think of it as your own weight belt.

Training

So what was with all that nonsense above about origins, insertions where the muscles fibres run blah blah blah that you have no interest in and probably skimmed over. You are here for wash board abs not a anatomy lesson right? Now ask yourself how those 100 sit ups a day are working for you? To train our core effectively we need to use a variety of movements. Why, because each layer has differences in structure which means you’ll need a variety of exercise to cover all of them. Look at it like this, when you train arms you don’t just do bicep curls and hope your triceps grow, you need to use a different set if exercises to train a different part of your arm. Let’s go through each layer below.

RA: As discussed the main action is trunk flexion so therefore exercises that require bending forward at the torso (loaded or body weight/gravity) will train this.Yes yes crunches are a way to train your RA but make sure that when you crunch you actually flex at the trunk not the hips! If your torso remains straight while you do a crunch then you are training your hip flexors and no one has ever said “Wow your hip flexors look great”. Our hip flexors are also generally tight as is so we definitely need to avoid doing crunches like this. Instead think about curving up by peeling your spine segment by segment form the ground. We can also flex the trunk by moving the hips up and keeping our upper body still. Leg raises do this but again don’t just lift your legs, curl your hips from the surface up and contract your abdominals.

Best exercises: cable crunch, handing leg raises, fit ball crunch, decline crunch

EO and IO: These two we will talk about together as they tend to work with each other to provide movement at the trunk. So in trunk rotation the direction of the fibres in each dictates which side of the muscle contributes to the movement. In an example, if we rotate the trunk to the left then the muscles working are the right EO and the left IO. If you go back to the insertion points and the direction of muscles fibres you’ll see how this makes sense. Pure lateral flexion uses the EO and IO on the same side of the body. So bending to your left uses the left EO and left IO. If all contract simultaneously then they are contributing to pure trunk flexion. It’s good to attack both these muscles from different angles as they are so diverse in the movements they create.

Best exercise: Kneeling woodchops, kneeling cable twist (low to high), Cable oblique crunch*, russian twist

*side note – Oblique crunches are great but please only load one side of your body. Holding weights in both hands and crunching side to side does nothing!!! They counter balance each other so you may as well just stand still.

TA: The TA is the silent achiever. You can’t see it, the exercises can be boring but when it’s strong, you’re strong. When is contracts it provides the spine and pelvis with stability so essentially it’s there to resist forces that are trying to move our body. In my opinion this is the most important layer for lifting and overall health. To train the TA we are looking for exercises that challenge us to hold a stable body position against load or unstable surfaces. Everyone knows the plank but not many do it correctly and basically all they will feel is a stiff back and burning shoulders. To properly plank you need a neutral pelvis (squeeze glutes) and to activate TA think ‘suck belly button into spine’. A great way to train your TA is through doing the big lifts (squats, deadlifts, presses, rows etc). Why? Because To provide a stable base and protect our spine during these movements the TA must be active. Anti rotation movements where we must again resist load are also great ways to train the TA (pallof press).

Best exercises: Compound resistance exercises, pallof press, roll outs, leg lowers, dead bug

Nutrition

Ever heard “Abs are made in the kitchen.”? Well it’s true. What you need to know is that everyone has abs, its what’s covering them that’s the biggest issue. Have you seen the dudes at the gym that post all their ab selfies on IG but would be lucky to weigh 50kg and hardly ever actually touch a dumbbell? Well it’s because they have hardly any body fat not because they have the secret formula to a ripped core. Don’t take this the wrong way and not train your abs just because I said everyone has them. Everyone has shoulders but you still train them. So how do we get those abs to pop? Drop body fat. Men will generally start to see abs at about 10-12% BF and women 15-17% BF. The good thing about these numbers is they they are sustainable. The diced athletes you see on magazines and competitions only look like that for a few days and the actual process of getting there is not only unsustainable but also not overly enjoyable and most of those athletes will attest to that. By all means go for that look if you like but take note when I say it’s only a short term thing.

To drop body fat you need to be consuming less energy than you are expending. The best way to do this is find your maintenance calorie intake by diet trackers (My Fitness Pal) or a basal metabolic rate calculator. Once you have that figure established you need to eat 200-400 calories under this figure focusing on high protein meals (1-2 servings each meal) with unrefined carbohydrates, vegetables and healthy fat sources. Start simple and once progress starts to slow then it may be time to get some help in terms of manipulating macro nutrients for further fat loss. It’s important to remember that carbs and fat don’t make you fat! Eating too much of them make you fat and for your everyday person you can absolutely lose fat by eating all the macronutrients.

Example Workout

Below is an example workout for your core. When you train your core focus on quality over quantity. Once your core fatigues it’s generally the lower back that takes the load which is absolutely counter productive to what we want. A good way to easily keep your core activated during a majority of movements is to squeeze your abs and glutes during the entire set. My recommendation is that you avoid training core at the start of any heavy resistance training days. Either do it post session, have it on a active recovery day or before training something like arms where a fatigued core may not be as detrimental to lifts. Going into deadlifts with a fatigued core is a terrible idea, trust me.

Complete 3-5 sets with 1 minute rest between rounds

Roll out – 10 reps

Bench single leg lowers – 8 reps each leg

Pallof Press – 8 each side

Cable crunch – 12 reps

Woodchops – 10 reps each side

 

| 11 minutes
Core – More Than Just Crunches
There are not many people that could tell me they have never dreamed about having washboard abs and the thin waist they see spread all over magazines and social media. Well I’m here to say it is possible but they do need to be worked for and there are a few keys points we will talk about in this article that will have you well on your way! Anatomy To train your abdominals you
| 11 minutes
Weightlifting Girl
Weightlifting Girl
The Hip Hinge Any good program for any goal will involve movements that require a hip hinge pattern. The hip hinge when performed correctly forms the basis for building a strong and stable posterior chain, something that is often neglected in your everyday gym goer. What Is It? muscles must contract and shorten. The glutes form the junction between our upper and lower body. Weaknesses in the glutes leads to a multitude of performance

The Hip Hinge

Any good program for any goal will involve movements that require a hip hinge pattern. The hip hinge when performed correctly forms the basis for building a strong and stable posterior chain, something that is often neglected in your everyday gym goer.

What Is It?

muscles must contract and shorten. The glutes form the junction between our upper and lower body. Weaknesses in the glutes leads to a multitude of performance and postural problems therefore being able to stimulate them effectively during training is vital. When we say hip hinge we are talking about the ability to maintain a stable spinal and pelvic position whilst moving our hips into flexion and then taking them back to neutral through hip extension. The prime movers of this movement are the glutes and hamstrings. The glutes have attachments at the pelvis and femur whilst the hamstrings attach from the pelvis, cross the back of the knee joint and attach again to the lower leg. What this means is that as we flex at the hips these muscles lengthen. To return to the starting position the glutes and hamstrings must contract and shorten to extend the hips.

Hip hinge movements in terms of athletic performance are great for developing overall lean muscle mass, strength and power as they are compound movements which means they require many different muscle groups to perform the action. An increase in lean muscle mass will boost your metabolism and decrease your body fat percentage so when training to improve body composition hip hinge variations are a fantastic movement. For sports that require a high amount of strength and power the glutes are vital as they are the power house of the lower body and will also generate force that can be translated through the upper body.

When talking posture, a strong posterior chain will hold you in a more favourable position (neutral pelvis, chest up, shoulders back) which prevents a host of tissue related and structural issues, a common one being a sore lower back. The everyday worker who sits behind a computer all day will more than likely have a weak posterior chain (rounded shoulders, forward head position, anterior pelvic tilt) and properly programmed training is vital for an improved quality of life.

By now you should be pretty convinced that the hip hinge movements are a must have in any training program. Well there’s more! Most of the exercises involve the ability to be able to keep the torso rigid. This requires strong isometric contractions of essentially all the musculature through the back. Think lats, rhomboids, traps, rotator cuffs all of which are being activated to allow for our shoulders and scapula to be locked in position and stabilised during the movement. This, along with the larger back extensors and abdominal muscles which help support our spine, means that these movements should be thought of as a whole body movement.

Hip Hinge Variations

There are many different movements that are based of this hinge pattern which means we

can program for the beginner all the way up to the more experienced client. These range from a basic glute bridge all the way to more advanced olympic lifts.

Arguably the most well known hip hinge movement is the deadlift which in itself has different variations such as the RDL and sumo deadlift, both of which give muscles a slightly different stimulus. The most basic form of hip hinge will be learning the actual pattern, for example getting the client to hold a stick up their back and cueing them to maintain 3 points of contact (head, upper back, hips) whilst they flex at the hips teaches how to maintain spinal position during a hinge. Another easy to master hip hinge is the basic glute bridge which requires less control through the upper body. More advanced movements like the clean and jerk or the clean and snatch are great hip hinge variations for athletes looking to develop power.

When programming for the hip hinge movements you can’t just blindly pick one and throw it in. There is no one best movement for everyone but some will be more suited to the individual than others. For example, a beginner being placed straight into a barbell RDL may struggle with the concepts of the hip hinge. Instead let’s begin with a cable RDL which helps pull the individual into hip flexion but then still allows for loading of the glutes and hamstrings through the extension phase. Another factor that may need to be considered is injuries/limitations to exercises. For example, I have coached a lot of people that come to me with impingement in the shoulder and loading them with a barbell using a pronated grip can potentially exaggerate the problem through loaded internal rotation at the joint. To work

around this a really effective piece of equipment is the trap bar which allows the client to keep the shoulders in a neutral position. We can also perform loaded hip thrusts which completely eliminates the need for holding weight with the upper body. Limitations in mobility may lead to an inability to hold a neutral spine at the bottom of some movements, most commonly a conventional deadlift. A sumo deadlift or trap bar deadlift (high handles) can help compensate for this lack of mobility if you’re set on having your client pull from the floor otherwise the RDL which requires a smaller total change in position in body should work well.

Cues for the hip hinge

  • Set feet and start with a neutral pelvis and load heels

  • Squeeze from the bottom up (contract glutes, core, lats and retract scapula)

  • Movement should begin with a hip break

  • Maintain neutral spine during movement (imagine a stick with three points of contact hips, upper back and back of head)

  • From the hip flexed position drive heels into the ground and contract hard through glutes and hamstrings

  • Finish in the exact same position as the start, squeezing again from the bottom up

Learn it then use it (lots!)

Movements arising from the hip hinge are programmed into a majority if not ALL of our clients programs . The benefits are endless and unless it is physically dangerous for an individual, the movements should be trained regularly. There are many different variations and my advice would be to pick 1 or 2 and become proficient at them over a period of time. Allow yourself to become strong at just a couple before moving on to other variations and you’ll find that improvements made in these movements will translate into increased performance in the other variations. For example, during a training block we will generally program 2 lower body sessions a week. In session 1 the client will complete a conventional deadlift for designated sets and reps. In the second lower body session in the week the client may complete an RDL. We will progressively overload these two movements for a training block and then assess and decide on what other hip hinge movements will be effective for the client for the next block. If you’re looking for one of, if not the most effective movement patterns in weight training, then learn to hinge, apply it to movements and then use it EXTENSIVELY!

 

| 9 minutes
Weightlifting Girl
The Hip Hinge Any good program for any goal will involve movements that require a hip hinge pattern. The hip hinge when performed correctly forms the basis for building a strong and stable posterior chain, something that is often neglected in your everyday gym goer. What Is It? muscles must contract and shorten. The glutes form the junction between our upper and lower body. Weaknesses in the glutes leads to a multitude of performance
| 9 minutes

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