A hip circle, sometimes referred to as a circle band, slingshot band, or hip band, is a must-have lower body strength tool to toss in your gym bag or keep in your home gym. You can use it during your warm-up routine or as part of your lower body workout.
Read on to learn about eight of the best exercises you can do with this fun, versatile piece of equipment.
When they first purchase a hip circle or loop band, a lot of people find themselves asking questions like “how do you use hip bands?” or “what is the best hip circle exercise?”
A staple banded movement to add to your routine is the hip circle squat. Doing squats with a hip circle looped around your upper thighs helps to create extra resistance and makes it easier for you to feel your glutes working. If you feel that your glute muscles are lagging behind others when it comes to strength and overall growth, warming up with a few sets of hip circle squats is a great option.
To get the most out of this exercise, follow these cues:
- Position the band so that it sits on the thighs and above your knees
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart or slightly wider, depending on your preferred squat stance, and toes point forward or angled slightly outward
- Lower into a bodyweight squat while pressing the knees out against the band to prevent them from caving in
- Press into the floor with your feet as you rise back up to the starting position
2. Lateral Squat Walks
Lateral squat walks are another good exercise to add to your hip circle workout or warm-up. Like hip circle squats, they help to stimulate the glutes and make it easier for you to feel them working during other exercises.
Here are some steps you can take to make lateral squat walks as effective as possible:
- Position the band in the same way you did for the hip band squats, sitting on the thighs and above the knees
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, toes facing forward
- Bend your knees slightly so you’re in a shallow squat
- Place your hands on your hips (you may also want to rest them on the glutes so you can feel them working)
- Take a step out to the side with your right foot while staying in a shallow squat position
- Bring the left foot in to meet the right foot, then take a step out with your left foot and bring the right foot in to meet it, all while staying in the shallow squat position
3. Monster Walks
Monster walks are similar to lateral walks. However, you’ll be moving forward and backward instead of side to side.
These are often included on lists of staple slingshot hip circle exercises and for good reason. They get the glute muscle firing, and they’re a good warm-up exercise for all of the lower body muscles.
To get the most out of your monster walks, follow these cues:
- Step into the band and position it on the thighs and above the knees
- Stand with the feet together and toes pointing forward
- Place the hands on the hips and bend the knees as you lower into a shallow squat
- Moving at an angle, take a big step forward with the right foot, then step forward and past it with the left foot, all while staying in a shallow squat
- After taking two steps forward, stay in the shallow squat position as you take a step backward with the right foot, then step backward and past it with the left foot
4. Glute Kickbacks
When most people think of circle band exercises, glute kickbacks are one of the first exercises that come to mind.
Like the other exercises on this list, glute kickbacks are a good warm-up exercise to do before lower body workouts. You can also use them as a finishing exercise to “burn out” the glutes when you’re done with your training session.
Lots of people already include glute kickbacks in their workout routine, but they might not be getting as much out of them as they could. Here are some tips that can help you maximize this exercise:
- Stand with the hip band looped around the thighs, above the knees
- Balance on your right leg and extend your left hip to send the left leg back behind you (you can hold onto a chair or the wall for balance if needed)
- Keep your torso straight and avoid arching your lower back
- Pause when you’ve sent your leg back as far as the band will allow and squeeze your left glute
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg
5. Fire Hydrants
Fire hydrants can also be done as a warm-up or burn out exercise. Even if you don’t have a band, this exercise gets intense pretty quickly. Imagine how much glute activation and stimulation you can get when you also have a band wrapped around your legs!
Keep these tips in mind when doing fire hydrants to ensure you really feel the burn:
- Wrap the band around your thighs and above your knees
- Kneel down in a quadruped position; make sure the knees and hip are stacked on top of each other, as are the shoulders and wrists
- Engage your core and avoid letting your lower back arch
- Inhale, then exhale and press into the hands and left foot as you lift your right leg off the ground
- Keep the knee bent while lifting and try to keep your right hip flexor pointing toward the ground; this helps you to better isolate the glutes
- Hold the top position of this exercise and squeeze the glute a the top of the movement
- Slowly lower the leg back down as you inhale
6. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is an essential glute-building exercise, and there are tons of ways you can perform it to intensify your lower body workouts. Even if you don’t have weights around, you can still up the ante on this exercise by adding a hip circle.
Follow these cues when doing glute bridges with a band:
- Wrap the band around the thighs so that it sits above your knees
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet placed flat on the floor; bring the feet in close to the glutes
- Place your hands flat on the floor with the arms extended out to the side as you inhale
- Exhale and press into the floor with your feet, lift your hips off the ground, and push out with the knees against the band
- Squeeze your glutes and hold the top portion of this exercise for a couple of seconds before lowering back down as you inhale
Related post: Glute Bridge Vs Hip Thrust: The Differences Explained
7. Seated Abductions
An abduction, which involves pushing the knees and thighs outward away from the midline of the body, can help you to enjoy a more intense glute burn when finishing off your workout. Set up with the band the same way you would when doing regular hip circle squats, then follow these instructions:
- Sit up straight on the edge of a bench or chair with your legs spread, pressing against the band, and feet flat on the floor
- Inhale, then exhale and press against the band while abducting the knees even further to exaggerate the movement
- Make this a pulsing exercise by continuing to press the knees in and out as you push against the band
For those who struggle with their knees caving in during squats, as well as those who have trouble feeling their glutes working during squats or other lower body exercises, clamshells are a great option for your warm-up.
As with many other slingshot band exercises, when you’re doing clamshells, start with the band wrapped around your thighs and resting above your knees. Continue following these cues:
- Lie on your side with your knees bent (your heels should be about one foot away from the glutes)
- Prop yourself up on your elbow or lie all the way down on your side with the hands supporting your head
- Inhale, then keep your feet pressed together and exhale as you open your knees and lift your top leg
- Pause at the top of the exercise and squeeze your glute
- Inhale and lower your top leg back down to the starting position
Try These Hip Circle Exercises Today
Have you recently purchased a hip circle and aren’t sure what to do with it? As you can see, there are tons of different hip circle exercises you can incorporate into your lower body warm-ups and workouts.
Keep this list in mind, and you’ll have no trouble feeling a great lower body burn during every training session!