I don’t ever remember calling the TRX Single Leg Hip Hinge by it’s proper name. I have always called it Drinking Bird. From the very first time I did the SL hip hinge exercise I felt like I was the drinking bird toy from the 70’s. It’s a fun exercise with so many benefits, calling it and imagining you are the Drinking Bird just adds to the experience.
There are many ways you can use this exercise. It can be used as part of a warm up, it can be used as a Hip extension strengthening exercise, and we can use it to work on balance.
Setting up the TRX for Drinking Bird
To use the TRX, for drinking bird, we need to the put the TRX between mid-length and full length. You start facing the anchor point. Place hands, palms down, in the handles. The handles should be just slightly below your waistband. Keeping the back straight ( no curving that spine, sometimes it helps to think “boobs out, butt out” ) you will lower your chest until it’s almost parallel to the floor, all while one leg lifts up behind you. You want to keep that leg straight as you work to keep your waistband as level as you can. It’s not unusual to find that your body wants to rotate. The leg that is planted is the leg that you are actually working. It is that hip that stabilizing your pelvis, it’s those glutes and hamstrings that are contracting to pull you back up to vertical.
It may not be hard to just go thru the motions of this exercise and this may provide some warm up qualities but to really feel what is happening you may want to “work the exercise”.
“Work the Exercise”
Work the exercise means that you are not just going thru motions but are really engaging in the activity. You are literally engaging the working muscles, you pay attention and feel the muscles doing their job. Just by thinking and feeling the involved muscles you improve the effectiveness of the exercise AND you are improving your own body awareness which pays off dividends in workouts and just in LIFE.
With the Drinking Bird you want to feel the hamstrings and glutes of the planted leg. If you are having trouble feeling the planted leg, be sure you have a slight bend in that knee and that you are pushing your weight thru the heal. It’s easy for your weight to pulled forward into the TRX straps, by keeping your knee bent and the weight over your heal you will keep tension on the posterior muscles.
Getting even more out of the bird.
The drinking bird exercise can also serve to warm up the lats and core. It just takes a little bit of focus and intention to bring these big power players into the equation.
From the hinged position, you focus on pushing your hands down into the handles. As you push down, feel the lats (lats are the muscles that make up the back of your arm pit, the big “wings” you see on the swimmers” ) contract. Also as you push down into the handles feel the core tighten. This little added intention and paying attention to the lats and core can serve to “wake up” the neurological system that serves these muscles. Thus adding to the benefits of this exercise.
Learning to hip hinge is so important for all of us. Well maybe learning is not the correct word. You probably already know how to do it. Whenever you pick up something off the ground you have likely hip hinged, maybe even single leg hip hinges. Golfers single leg hip hinge all the time to pick up their ball.
The movement requires mobility of the hip joint, strength of the glutes and core and balance. If you sit most of the day, have weak glutes or have had an injury to your hips or back practicing the hip hinge movement with the TRX is a great way to re learn this important movement.
How To: TRX Drinking Bird
Quick demo of Drinking Bird
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