The Academy's Unique "Graduation" System for Hip-Hinge Progression

Last week, we discussed and gave an oversight into our Hip-Hinge Cues & Technique for how we teach the hip-hinge movement pattern here at The Academy to all of our young athletes & adolescents - you can find it HERE. In this article, we're going to take you over the progressions we utilise as part of our "Graduation System" for teaching & progression the hip-hinge movement pattern

Deadlift - The Youth Academy

"we are what we repeatedly do, and excellence therefore is not a skill, but a habit"

And this is our viewpoint when it comes to ingraining movement patterns into our young athletes & adolescents - repetition, repetition, repetition with nothing but the best of technique at heart

Why? Because the movement pattern never changes, only the implement we use does. The hip-hinge we will take you through in this article always stays the same, regardless of if we're using DB's, KB's, a barbell, bodyweight, or a trap bar

This is a vital key to comprehend

Hip Hinge Progressions

  • Bodyweight Deadlift

  • DB or KB Romanian Deadlift

  • Barbell Romanain Deadlift

  • Trap Bar Deadlift

  • Single Legged Deadlift w/ Bodyweight

  • DB or KB Single Legged Deadlift

  • Barbell Single Legged Deadlift

Deadlift - The Youth Academy

Everything here begins bodyweight, as with the hip-hinge, there is no need for a load. The most important thing we're trying to teach is the proprioception of hinging at the hips (butt back) whilst keeping the back straight as it hinges down toward being horizontal. One thing to watch for is ensuring the knees are "soft" but don't flex too much like a squat, and that from a frontal position, the knees stay out - thus ensuring the glutes & hamstrings are activated

The addition of a small load of a DB or KB is the next simplest progression, as it allows us to add load and minor complexity without loading too much. This also adds a little more complexity, as we now need to learn to keep the weight close - preferably in line with the legs/over our midfoot. And here, we begin with an RDL - where the weight won't touch the floor, it will just pass the knees. The reason for this is that we find it helps teach the essential hip-hinge pattern and allows the athlete to focus on back position and feeling the movement without having to worry about placing it down on the ground

From here we transition to our beloved trap-bar. This is our preference due to the mechanical advantages it allows the young athletes. We find that it allows for the pull to be initiated in a higher position off the floor than a normal barbell & allows for the torso to remain a little more upright - this protecting the lower back. Also, our intention is to produce a powerful & strong posterior chain & hip extension, not get a stronger barbell deadlift - we're not trying to win powerlifting comps...

Single Legged Work

We love to throw single-legged work in for unilateral strength, stability, and to assess the ROM at the ankle and hip joint. You don't need to add weight to these as they're very demanding without at the very beginning - and strengthening both the stability and limb strength here will see tremdous benefits across a variety of skills

KPI's are again used to showcase when young athletes are ready to graduate and progress to the more complex movement

Deadlift - The Youth Academy

The most important thing to note here, is THE MOVEMENT PATTERN NEVER CHANGES, only the implement being used does... it doesn't matter if we're performing a bodyweight deadlift or a trap bar deadlift, the movement pattern/setup/cues are the same

That's All Folks...

It doesn't need to be complex, although this may seem so to you - but to us, it's simple and incredibly easy to follow - plus, we find we get phenomenal results utilising this unique system we've developed

If you're looking to improve your hi-hinge movement, hip-hinge strength and lower body power, we highly recommend giving this a whirl. Check your ego at the door and learn to dominate the movement pattern and find strength in simpler versions of the movement before progressing upwards and onwards

You can build strength without the barbell... ;) 

Nick Maier