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  1. #1
    Benjamin100 is offline Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Contracting the abs during hip hinge movements


    A well known principle regarding hip hinge movements (such as swings and deadlifts) is to "brace" or contract the abs at the top of the movement, i.e. when standing tall. My understanding is that the primary purpose behind this is to protect the spine and prevent an excessive back lean.

    But what about at the bottom of such movements? When one has hinged at the hips and is preparing to stand up, is there any utility to contracting the abs at this point in the movement?

    I have seen some references to this in DD publications (i.e. point 12 at page 68 of Andrea Du Canes' "The Ageless Body"), but was wondering whether anyone has any comments on how important this is, particularly in the context of preventing lower back pain arising from swings.

    Thanks - B

  2. #2
    GunnyHighway is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Sugar Land, TX
    Blog Entries


    I think it helps protect the back on the downswing.

  3. #3
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010


    The way I do swings, snatches, and cleans, is using a hip snap that involves contracting the abs explosively on the upswing, producing a thrusting motion that helps propel the bell on its way up. Some people I think call it a "pelvic thrust." On the downswing I reload the abs, that is, I put them into a stretch position to prepare them for that hip snap on the next upswing. I use the back, legs and shoulders primarily to absorb the force of the bell on the downswing.

    The hip thrust mainly works the lower abs. My upper abs keep some tension to help keep stability in the erector spinae while still allowing the lower abs to stretch and reload. Its the action of the lower back muscles that stretch the lower abs, pulling them back and sort of cocking them to fire again. There might be a little tension in the lower abs in the reloading phase while being stretched, but just enough to keep the lower back from overextending. The emphasis is on stretching the lower abs.

    It is the hip snap that allows the upper portion of the "lower back" to lever safely against the lower portion because the tight abs and lower portion act to protect the spine, also allowing for the lower portion to lever safely against the hips.

    I hope I'm clear on this, as it's a fairly complex motion. The short answer is yes, there is some tension in the lower abs on the reload, but very little as it is stretching.

  4. #4
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    Definetly at the top of the swing you tense as in the HS lock. The downswing there is enough tension in the abs to protect the back but not so much so as to obstruct effeicient movement. It is relative and different for each person. The bottom of the movement no rounded lower back - we all know this..hehe!..Also on the downswing air is in the belly which along with proper spinal alignment also protects the back...Dennis

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