The Difference Between Knee and Hip Dominant Exercise

When it comes to exercise selection, lower body movements can for the most part be split into two different categories: knee dominant or hip dominant. Some exercises can be a little trickier to categorize. No worries, I have an idea that might help.

Look at a lower body exercise from the side; you can see which joint is flexing the most (either the knee or hip). You would choose knee dominant if you are working on quad development. For example: squat, lunges, front squats, etc. You can also check out the angle of your torso versus the angle of your tibia (shin) to tell the difference as well. All of these knee dominant exercises will have your torso more vertical and your tibia more angled. Below are a few videos to help.

Hip dominant (glute dominant) will allow your hip to flex more in the exercise. You would choose this if you are working on glute development. For example: deadlifts, 45 degree raise, Romanian deadlifts, etc. But if you look at your torso and tibia, the torso will be angled more and the tibia will be more vertical. Check out the videos below to understand a little bit more. 

Now, could you make some knee dominant exercises more hip dominant and vice versa? You bet! Examples: lunges, step ups, hip extensions, etc. Always use your hips to angle the torso and keep an eye out on your shin to see if its vertical or not. Take a look at these videos to differentiate.

Normally a split squat is knee dominant. If you notice, Christine, is using the rings to make it more hip dominant by pushing her hips back and make her shine more vertical.

Walking lunges tend to be more knee dominant. As you can see here, angling my torso and keeping the shin more vertical can allow the movement to be more hip dominant. 

I hope this helped. If you are looking for more lower body videos, check out our youtube channel. Now, go get your lower body on! It will thank you. HAHA!