I’m not talking about swinging your hips from side-to-side in circular fashion like the old man at the YMCA with the shorty shorts who makes those awkward noises - while staring right at you. Yeah, I couldn’t forget that eye contact, either.
No. I’m talking about using hip circles or mobility bands to get loose and go deep!
Many people have recently started to use hip circles to increase mobility, warm the body up, and loosen up before a heavy leg day. By using mobility bands and hip circle exercises, the hips and glutes get activated before they have to move heavy loads. As such, athletes are able to avoid injury and increase their gains like never before.
What is a Hip Circle?
If you’re curious what a hip circle is, that’s pretty simple. A hip circle is a type of band that athletes wrap above their knees to provide resistance. The resistance is used to activate the hip flexors and glutes, which ensures an athlete is properly warmed up before moving big weight.
Generally, these products are created with a stiff, yet elastic material that allows movement with some resistance. Quality hip circles will have grip strips on the inside to ensure comfort and stay. Cheap products will move around too much and could hurt your skin during the hip circle exercises.
Why People Use Hip Circles?
We’ve discussed a few of the reasons people use hip circles. There’s a few other reasons, too. Generally, athletes and powerlifters use mobility work to:
- Get loose and warmed up.
- Avoid injuries when moving big weights during the squat or deadlift.
- Strengthen and correct muscle imbalances in the hips.
- Open up the external rotators and abductors.
- Burn out the hip flexors.
While there may be a few other reasons to do hip circle exercises, these are the most common ones.
5 Fantastic Hip Circle Exercises to Increase Mobility
If you’re ready to stay injury-free and get those healthy gains by incorporating a few hip circle exercises into your warm up, you've come to the right place. Let’s dive in:
- Walking Warm Ups
The easiest way to use a hip circle is simply walking in it. By walking with the hip circle on, you offer extra resistance to your hip flexors and abductors. This warms up the body and ensures your hips stay injury-free when you go deep later in the workout.
- To begin, throw the hip circle on around your quads.
- Begin to walk while making sure the hip circle stays above the knees.
- Walk with a slight sie, forward step to fully engage the hips.
- Go 40 yards forward, and then walk backwards to the starting point in a similar manner.
- Athletic Slides
Personally, I love warming up with some athletic slides using mobility bands. The side-stepping motion ensures the abductors are fully activated and warmed up. This is essential when working the legs with exercises like lunges and snatch.
- Start by getting into the hip circle and making sure it’s above your knees.
- Drop down into an athletic position.
- Slowly take a step to the side. Drag the back foot until the original starting point is returned.
- Make sure you’re continually in the athletic position, like a basketball player on defense.
- Continually move in this manner, gradually picking up speed.
- Go 40 yards one direction and then come back facing the same way.
- Your legs should feel a slight burn
- Slow Squat Sits
Of course, we couldn’t leave squats from our list of the best hip circle exercises to increase mobility and warmup with. Why? Because there’s no better way to prepare for some squats than with more squats. Plus, hip circles force you to use ideal bodyweight squat form and push the knees out on the way down.
- Throw the hip circle on above your knees.
- Spread the feet about shoulder width apart.
- Place your hands in front of you and slowly sit back into a low squat.
- Once you get to the bottom, stay there for one second.
- Focus on pushing your knees out and embracing the extra pressure from the mobility band.
- Slowly make your way back to the starting point by driving through the heals.
- Repeat for ten slow repetitions.
- Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are one of the best warmup exercises around, whether you have a hip circle to use or not. With mobility bands, the bridge becomes one of the best hip circle exercises for any and every athlete. You glutes and hamstrings will wake up, while your hips activate in this classic yoga pose.
- Put the hip circle on and then lay down on the floor. Your back should be on the ground, while your feet are flat and your knees in a 90 degree angle.
- Press through your heels and allow your legs and lower back to raise up off the ground.
- Slowly move to a complete bridge position where all your weight is placed on your upper back/shoulders and feet.
- Make sure your knees are pressed outward to maximize the benefits of the hip circle while bridging.
- Hold this pose for a two-count. Then slowly go back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions.
- Side Leg Lifts
More of a strengthening exercise than a warm up, you can use side leg lifts to really strengthen the hip abductors and flexors. In doing so, you’ll eliminate weak links in some of your big lifts and surely get some major gains. Personally, strengthening my hips through band work added more to my squat than the leg press ever did.
- Place the hip circle on and lay on your side.
- Support your neck before beginning the lift.
- With one leg on top of the other, slowly raise the upper leg as high as possible. You should immediately feel a significant amount of pressure on your outer hip flexor from the hip circle.
- Once you cannot raise the leg any longer, due to flexibility or the pressure of the mobility band, hold for one count at the top and then slowly make your way back down to the starting point.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions on each leg.
Hip Circle Exercises to Increase Mobility & Get Loose
Hip circle, or mobility bands, are a criminally underrated gym accessory. If heavy weight squats are a cornerstone of your workouts, then hip mobility work is absolutely essential to staying healthy over the long run.
The easiest way to strengthen the hips and avoid injury? Incorporate these hip circle exercises into a dynamic warmup before every leg day. Your squat will skyrocket, while your hips will thank you. Our triple back offers a complete solution in terms of resistance, there's a heavy band for regular exercises, then a super heavy and double super heavy version for those of you wanting a little more!