imagesMan this summer sure has gone by fast! I got an email yesterday from my boss at the hospital reminding me to put in my availability for August and I just can’t believe that it is already time to be thinking about my school schedule for the semester. Oh well what can we do Time marches on and we must march on with it. So far it’s been a mellow week in my world. I have begun to work on constructing a ebook that contains 50 tips for a strong, leaner, and healthier you which is something to be looking out for in the next couple weeks. But other than that it has been another normal week I am just looking forward to training my people today and finishing the week off on a strong note.

Listen to me rambling on about my happenings like you care (deal with it punk it’s my blog ; 0). Anyway let’s get to what you really are visiting for and that is this week’s “Exercise of the Week.”

On monday I shared with you this week’s list of things to read and on this list was a post by Dean Somerset talking about how to train the hip hinge which was fantastic and inspired me to share one of the hip hinge exercises I love. This exercise is a favorite of mine for not only training the hip hinge, but also teaching it

A great looking hip hinge! Except for a bit to much lumbar extension for my taste.

Now I don’t want to launch in to an epitome about the hip hinge or how to teach it because those two topics have already been covered in detail by other authors, bloggers, and scientist with way more experience and knowledge than me, but what I do want to share is why I like this particular exercise for the hinge movement.

First in my own experience working with clients I have found that most pick up the squat pattern much quicker than the hinge pattern which to me makes perfect sense as the squat pattern is much more familiar movement equated with sitting. So what I have started to do is to build upon my client’s basic understanding of the squat to transition into learning and developing the hinging pattern. And the DB Sumo Deadlift is, I believe, the perfect exercise for doing so because it sort of blurs the line between a deadlift and a squat.

It provides the opportunity to show the difference between the two movements and make them readily apparent to the client by comparing the two. My simple version for explaining this is to a client is that the deadlift requires minimal knee bend with a lot of hip flexion while the squat involves minimal hip flexion with a lot of knee flexion (of course this description does not cover all the variations of both lifts, but it helps to show the difference when trying to explain how a DB Sumo Deadlift differs from a Goblet Squat). I have had great success with this method and find it helps clients find the hinging motion faster and allows them to transition to a Romanian Deadlift (which is pure hip hinging) without much trouble.

The second reason I love the DB Sumo Deadlift is that it allows the you to still train the hinge pattern and get a training effect on the posterior chain while you work on mastering the more hip dominant deadlift versions. Which in my opinion is in valuable because although you want to learn and perform exercises correctly before loading them up with big weights you also don’t want to spend 45 minutes 3 times a week for two weeks hip hinging and not receive any appreciable aesthetic benefits.

Regardless of whether or not you understand the benefits I see in the exercise I highly recommend you give it a go. It is a great exercise to start with if you are looking to eventually master the conventional deadlift or just want to just have a great set of legs.

How To Perform The DB Sumo Deadlift

  1. Place one dumbbell straight up on the floor in front of you.
  2. Step over the dumbbell and take a wide-than-shoulder width stance with your feet pointed straight ahead. Think about spreading the floor with your feet to help increase the stability of your hip joints.
  3. Stand upright and look straight down, in this position you should not be able to see the dumbbell because it is directly underneath your hips.
  4. Pack your neck by drawing your chin back against your neck as if you were trying to create a double chin. DON’T TUCK THE CHIN.
  5. Create a neutral spine by keeping your ribcage down, your abdominal muscles engaged, and your gluteus maximus squeezed.
  6. Next bring your hands and arms in front of your body place them against your torso allowing your hands to rest at the top of your groin just inside your upper leg. Pretend you have a towel underneath each arm and you are squeezing the towel against your side. This will engage your lats and allow you to create more stability for your spine.
  7. From this position, maintaining your packed neck, neutral spine, engaged lats, and stable hips, flex your hips extending you buttocks backwards while concertedly allowing your knees to flex. Continue to flex your hips and knees reaching your hands down inside of your legs until can grab the top of the dumbbell. Having the dumbbell positioned underneath you should force you to have to hip hinge in order to grab it.
  8. Once you have grabbed the top of the dumbbell you should be in a position in which your spine creates a straight strong line from your head to your hips, your knees and hips are flexed, toes pointed straight ahead, and your hamstrings taunt.
  9. From the bottom position return to the top by driving your feet into the ground, extending your hips forward while concertedly extending the knees, and finishing the movement by squeezing your gluteus maximus.
  10. Repeat for repetitions. Tapping the dumbbell back in the same spot you picked it up from on each repetition.

Below is a video of me demonstrating the entire exercise. Note that I do not squat the dumbbell up and down, I deadlift the dumbbell which is to say that most of the motion happens by flexing by hips and reaching my butt towards the wall behind me I only flex my knees as necessary to lower myself to the weight.

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training